Presentation Prep.

So let’s get one thing on record: Presentations TERRIFY me, but they’re something that I have to get used to handling. As a PhD student, presenting to different types of audiences is part of the package and something that can severely impact that progress of my research. So whether I enjoy them or not I have to pull up my socks and just go for it. Over the last year I have given various types of presentations in different atmospheres but there are some things that I tend to do the same in preparation for them.

Aaannndddd, here they are:

Write a script to explain your presentation

Keep ’emergency’ notes near by – hopefully you won’t need them but if you get lost in your presentation you’ll be glad you’ve got them

Stick to the same structure, that way you won’t get confused on which area you should be addressing

Keep your display simple, with a ‘clean’ appearance. It makes it easier to follow your information (and helps if you loose your way too)

Wear something you’re comfortable in, worrying about your top or doing the ‘my feet hurt’ dance is not something you want to be doing (I’ll be doing a post on conference/presentation friendly looks – so keep an eye out!)

Use diagrams or pictures to explain complicated processes or methods, it’s better than using lots of words

Keep a bottle of water handy

Practice, practice, practice – this is probably the most important of points, it takes extra time before the event but it does help (a little) with being nervous

 

Keep Reading!

H 🙂

De Montfort University – SAHRC 2016

A little post about a conference I recently attended!

The 15th June 2016 marked the day of De Montfort University’s inaugural ‘School of Allied Health Science Research Conference’ where I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to give an oral and poster presentation on some of my research.

The day consisted of:

A broad spectrum of posters outlining some of the research that is being conducted within the School (from both staff and students).

The Keynote (delivered by Professor Mark Jobling, University of Leicester) titled ‘Sex, surnames and the history of Britain’ and an overview of Research in the School of Allied Health Sciences (Dr.Pravez Haris, Head of Research for the School of Allied Health Sciences).

A range of different topics presented by Early Career Researchers in the School. Which were then followed by presentations from some of the School’s postgraduate students (including me!)

The day ended with the closing address from the Pro- VC and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, who also gave out certificates and prizes to the poster and oral presentation winners.

As a whole, the day was really enjoyable and interesting to find out about the other research going on in the school.

Even though I have attended a conference before this was my first time presenting at one and it was a totally different (some-what nerve wrecking) experience.

 

Here’s what I learnt from it all:

  • PRACTICE – Even though I practiced quite a lot (or so I thought) and knew my presentation slides well, if I could go back I’d practice more.
  • You are going to be nervous – especially if it’s your first time. But it’s okay, the audience you are presenting to understand this and most (of not all) will have been in your position at one point or another.
  • Expect questions – answering questions was one of the areas that I think I was most nervous about but one piece of advice I’d give is when practicing – do it in front of one or two people because they will most likely have questions. Oh, and if you don’t know the answer -be honest.
  • Don’t fill your slides with text – the audience will be focused on trying to read all the text instead of listening to you. So try and use images/diagrams to aid your story.
  • Make sure you stick to the time frame given e.g. if your allotted time is 15 mins including questions, try to talk for 12 minutes (10-13 slides) which allows time for questions at the end.
  • Try and enjoy it! You’ve put time and effort into preparing for this so enjoy it.

 

Attend as many of these as you can – it can be difficult to decide when and where you are going to attend a conference (time off, travel costs etc) but conferences like this one which are at your own university or in your own city are good to attend. They give you the chance to practice your presentation skills and allow you to learn about research you may not even realize is being done. You’ll meet people you may have not met before and be introduced to topics that could impact your research too.

 

Overall I had a great time and am definitely looking forward to the next one!

Keep Reading,

H 🙂

My First Conference!

Hi Everybody,

So not so long ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a local BioMed conference (the first of many – I hope!) and boy – oh – boy was was it wonderful. Well, I can say that now- at the time I was terrified ( the good sort of terrified where you just do not want to say anything silly ). It was filled with some of the most inspiring people I have met to date. I don’t just mean the work that they were doing but the people that they were. Listening to their dedication and passion for their chosen paths made me think about mine – Where did I want to be in 3 years? What do I want to do now? What is the aim of my research? Why did I choose Microbiology/Parasitology? How did I aim to achieve my goals?

Throughout the day I mix and mingled with a range of different people – Medical Doctors, Members of Government, Environmental Scientists, Investors and the list goes on. The one thing I learnt from speaking to all of them – KNOW YOURSELF. Not necessarily to justify your choices but to help them understand your work. Now, being my first conference I was very nervous when I had to talk about my work/aims (and I’m not usually a nervous person) however, as the day went on I became more confident in myself and could essentially “pitch” myself a lot better. Talking about yourself is usually pretty easy once you get going but you have to remember you aren’t JUST talking about you and your life – you are there because of your work and your work/research still needs to maintain a level of confidentiality. Thankfully, my supervisors were able to give me some pointers about what I should be speaking about.

Overall the day was great, I met a bunch of wonderful people and learnt a lot about the type of scientist I want to be and though I may not have all the answers to my questions (and theirs) I am definitely closer.

I would strongly recommend to anyone to attend conferences. They may seem daunting at the beginning but as the day goes on you’ll see the benefit through the cloud of fear.

Keep Reading,

H 🙂