Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger
Do you find yourself attending academic lectures on topics in which you are extremely interested, only to leave feeling confused, angry at your time wasted, and wondering how such a gripping topic was presented so poorly? Why are some academic presentations so long, difficult to follow, and simply boring? The truth is, researching and presenting require two completely different skill sets. Collecting, analyzing and synthesizing scholarly research are skills that do not automatically translate into the ability to effectively and accessibly deliver findings in the form of a presentation.
Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions was at Congress 2016 this week to deliver a Career Corner workshop entitled Ideas matter: Telling your research story, providing specific strategies and concrete tools to help individuals more effectively tell their research stories to engage a broad public audience. Key takeaways that Graydon shared with attendees included the importance of:
- using clear and concrete language—avoiding the fancy, academic jargon that no one outside of your field understands;
- maintaining a sharp focus—being aware of your goal, and making sure the presentation achieves this; and
- telling a powerful story to make your audience remember something in particular—remembering that stories are much easier to remember than data and facts.
The most efffectve presentations engage an audience and make them care about what you are sharing. It is extremely important to remember this and present in such a way that piques interest and curiosity right from the outset, and maintains this level of engagement throughout.