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Developing your 3MT presentation

Developing your narrative for a short presentation

  • Translate your complex ideas into something much simpler. This is not about dumbing down, but gradually developing complex ideas to take the audience on a journey through your topic. This is a difficult but invaluable skill to master.  Consider your research heroes, when they present on their complex research it is accessible, they present and pitch to a broad audience.
  • Ensure you have timed yourself: presentations are limited to 3 minutes MAXIMUM.
  • Tell the audience what your current research is about, how you are doing it, what you have discovered, why it is an important contribution to knowledge and why the audience should care.
  • Talk about the application of your research – it helps engage the audience.
  • Answer the question, what is the most interesting thing that you have discovered?
  • Show enthusiasm and be passionate about what you do. You are the expert!!
  • Present for an intelligent lay audience who are usually pretty smart, but might not know anything about your field. 
  • Avoid the use of technical terms, jargon and specialist knowledge.
  • Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself so you know what you look like when you are delivering your message.
  • Practice in front of people to get feedback and to find out if you speed up when you are nervous.
  • Remember, presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).

Designing a slide with impact and a clear message

  • You are only allowed a single static PowerPoint SLIDE (no transitions or animations)
  • Use pictures and diagrams to make it engaging, but don’t over fill it, consider the ‘white’ space
  • Look at successful 3MT presentations on YouTube, what images evoked the most reaction from yourself - images have the power to trigger an immediate and emotional response

Oral Presentation Skills

  • Hooks - get us excited about what you are doing as quickly as possible. A hook is something that builds intrigue, suspense or raises a question in the audiences mind.
  • Body Language - think about how you are going to stand and deliver your talk. Your body language is important, don’t over gesticulate, but don’t be too stiff…practicing in front of people will help.
  • Tone of Voice - even a 3-minute presentation will seem dull if delivered in a monotone. Remember to show your enthusiasm.
  • Don't try to say too much and speak relatively slowly.
  • Use pauses to highlight important points as well as rises, falls and stresses in tone.
  • Try to communicate/focus on one core idea.
  • Include a story, metaphor or emotional element.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice - it is so important I can’t say it enough!

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