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Captivate your listeners

When you talk about your research with diverse audiences – such as members of the public, researchers in other fields, or conference attendees – do you observe expressive eyes, affirmative head nods and interested questions? Or is it more like glazed-over eyes, sleepy head nods, and uncomfortable silences at question time?

If your audience seems more captive than captivated when you talk about your research, then your audience is probably not seeing the value of your research, and you may be missing out on opportunities to advance in research. Learning how to become a captivating speaker could help you enhance the impact of your research (e.g., by increasing the likelihood that it will be adopted by other researchers or groups), and could also help you obtain ongoing opportunities in research (e.g., through philanthropic funding, further invitations to speak at conferences, collaborations, grants or jobs).

In this 2-hour training, Prof. Amanda Salis will show you strategies to help you become more captivating when you talk about your research. This comes from her experience of talking with diverse audiences about her research for over 30 years. This includes interviews with local, national and international TV and radio stations, live workshops and Zooms for the general public and researchers about research and research methodology, many of which were booked to capacity, over 75 oral presentations at national and international conferences, as well as helping members of her research team to prepare oral conference presentations, some of which led to best presentation awards.

Training topics

  • How to make your oral communication clear by, for example, using words and sentence structures that a wider variety of people can understand, and by saying them in a way that a wider variety of people can understand. This will prevent people from switching off simply because they can’t understand what you’re saying.
  • How to make your oral communication engaging by, for example, using examples from your own personal experiences, by talking to the audience as though you were talking to a single person only, and by using expressive (not distracting) words and body language. This includes techniques specific for oral delivery via online video platforms such as Zoom.
  • How to apply clear and engaging speech to practical outcomes:
    • An elevator pitch (this includes how to structure an elevator pitch, as well as opportunities to construct and gain feedback on your elevator pitch during the training).
    • An oral conference presentation (this includes how to structure your abstract so that it’s more likely to be selected for an oral rather than a poster presentation in the first place, and how to structure your oral conference presentation so that your listeners can clearly understand your results and how they lead to your conclusion).

Training format

Video meeting with approximately 50% of the time dedicated to interactive activities for participants, such as: drafting an elevator pitch and presenting it to the group or a sub-group of participants for feedback; giving feedback on other participants’ elevator pitch; general Q+A and discussion.

Who is this training for?

Anyone from any institution or research field who wants to observe expressive eyes, affirmative head nods and interested questions from listeners when they talk about their research with diverse audiences. 

What you need at the training

  • Access to a device that enables you to hear the training and observe the slides.
  • An ergonomic space in which to type (e.g., to draft an elevator pitch).
  • If joining the training live: a suitable space from which to participate in discussions (either by talking or by typing into the ‘chat box’ in the video meeting software, whichever you prefer).

Expected outcome

Through a series of concrete examples on how to talk about your research in a clear and engaging way, as well as opportunities to put theory into practice immediately during the training and to receive feedback, the intention is that you will leave this training with specific strategies – and slides to remind you of them – to make talking about your research more rewarding for your listeners and for yourself.