As you explore and develop your research, communication is a key skill to consider. Through your career, you might find situations when you will need to communicate with experts in your field—such as at conferences or networking events—or with non-experts—such as in grant applications, media interviews, search committees, or even in elevator conversations. Below are a list of tools to consider as you begin thinking about how you communicate your research to various audiences.
Want to see a good example? Check out videos of our Research Live! finalists on Media Space.
Collecting your Content
When you’re working on your research, every last detail seems important and worth sharing with others—whether they are familiar with your field or not. That’s why it’s important to practice how you talk about your research and to think about ways to get people interested and excited in what you do.
- 7 Things to do When you Have to Give a Short Speech, by Bill Murphy, Jr., Inc.
- Explaining Your Work to Friends and Family, PhD Talk
- What to Do When They Say, “Tell Us About Your Research,” by Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Do You Have Mysterious Dragons in Your Research?, by Joseph Barber, Inside Higher Ed
- How to Give More Persuasive Presentations, Nancy Durate
Images and Visuals
If your presentation includes visuals, make sure to select them carefully. You’ll want to find images or tables that are visually appealing and that emphasize key aspects of your work. Most importantly: strive for simplicity! Cluttering your slides with images and text can overwhelm your audience.
- 10 Tips on How to Make Slides That Communicate Your Idea, from Ted’s In-House Expert, TED
- Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, by Nancy Duate, ebook
- Choosing the Right Images for Your PowerPoint Presentations, by Tom Howell
- How to Add Powerful (and Legal) Images to Your Presentations, by David Teten
- Presentation Zen, by Gar Reynolds
- 10 Tips for Designing Presentations That Don’t Suck, by Joshua Johnson
Giving a speech can be a nerve-racking experience, but it is important to practice this skill in order to become more confident and comfortable in front of others.
- Tips and Techniques for More Confident and Compelling Presentations, by Matt Abrahams
- Conquering Stage Fright, by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- 9 Speaking Tips for Non-Native Speakers, by Ryan Avery
- Four Ways to Make Your Research Presentation Stand Out, GradLife blog
There are a number of discipline-specific resources that may help you as you prepare to communicate both inside and outside of your discipline.
- TED Talks You Should Be Watching, from the American Historical Association
- Public Humanities Resource Library, from the National Endowment for the Humanities
- Object Lessons, from The Atlantic and the National Endowment for the Humanities
- LSE Impact Blog, from the London School of Economics and Political Science
- SciComm Blog, from PLOS (science, technology, and medicine)
- Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
- "Talk nerdy to me," TED Talk with Melissa Marshall
- Communication 101: Communication Basics for Scientists and Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Workshops and Events
Acting for Academics
3:00 - 4:30 pm, Tuesday, September 18
Illini Union, Room 314A
Developing Your Presentation Visuals
3:30-5 pm, Monday, September 24
Gregory Hall, Room 223
Research presentation competition for graduate students.
Office Hours: 12:00 - 3:00 pm, Tuesday, October 9
Coble Hall 304
Preliminary Rounds: October 10 and 11
Final Round: October 23