Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scientists, need to give a talk? Here's a free guide to get you started

If you're a scientist, chances are you'll give many talks--to your colleagues and even to non-technical audiences. But how well-prepared will you feel? Will you ace the opportunity, or wind up giving what one blogger recently called "the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad scientific talk?"

Chances are your comfort levels will go up once you've consulted a newly updated guide on giving science talks from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The second edition of Communicating Science: Giving Talks walks you through the planning and structuring of a presentation to handling technology and snafus with ease. The guide also features "pointers to inexpensive, approachable resources available in most communities to polish speaking skills and gain confidence."

You'll find a list of further reading on giving presentations at the link, along with the guide itself in PDF, Scribd and Issuu electronic versions--all free. For a hard copy of the booklet, or for copies in quantity, fire off an email to Russ Campbell at news[at] It's all part of the career development and lab management resources available for scientists from the Fund. Women scientists will want to check out A Place at the Bench, a special guide on women's career challenges and opportunities in biomedical science.

Still want to up your game? I've collected 13 posts from The Eloquent Woman, all relevant to scientists speaking to public audiences (and to some technical ones) in the all-in-one for eloquent scientists, loaded with resources and role models for you. These posts cover everything from speaking to audiences that mix technical and non-technical listeners, how to handle data in your presentations without overwhelming the audience, what to save for Q&A versus your presentation, and much more. Training scientists of all disciplines to give public talks is among my specialties. Please email me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz to learn more about group or individual training for scientists (or other executives).