Presentation & speaking skills for scientists and researchers
Learn to present your science, results, or academic ideas clearly, confidently, and authentically, and engage your audience from start to finish.
Presenting your research is an essential part of your scientific or academic career. When it comes to presenting, there is a lot to think about: your goals and purpose, your audience and their needs, how to plan and structure a presentation, what content to include, how to bring that content to life with language, how to amplify your message with visual aids, and how to deliver your presentation in-person and online with impact. Phew! So where to start?
We offer tailored training programmes and workshops that focus on one particular skill area, as well as multi-day workshops that cover everything from planning to the post-delivery Q&A session. Tell us what interests you and we’d be happy to put together some ideas to meet your needs and the needs of your group.
Content and sample outline
Most of the groups we work with opt for one- to two-day workshops (split over several sessions) but we also offer longer and shorter workshops that can involve post-session assignments, live and asynchronous learning and lots of flexibility so that we can adapt to the needs of participants as we go. Here are a few examples:
- All-rounder: The Natural Presenter:
Focus – planning, structure, impactful language, delivery
- Intensive: Slide Design for Scientists:
Focus – planning, structure, slide design, making the most of PowerPoint
- Intensive: The Presentation Lab:
Focus – Presence, delivery, and dealing with questions
Our workshops are tailored to your needs and the needs of the group and can be modified to be longer, shorter, or expanded with content from our other training offerings. Below, we’ve provided some examples of what we can include in our training, depending on your time, budget and requirements.
Planning and structure:
- How communication works
- What gets in the way of communication
- How to add focus and clarity
- Understanding the audience
- Planning your key message
- How to apply a simple framework to quickly plan your message and structure your presentation, including:
- Focal point
- Different approaches (top-down, bottom-up)
- Pre-empting questions
- The one-minute practice session
Shaping your message with “power” language
- Memorable openings and “hooks”
- Anecdotes, metaphors and stories to explain and engage your audience
- The power of “plain language”
- How to use jargon, acronyms, and “technical language” – and if it’s necessary
Visual communication and slide design
- Get to know what a great slide looks like and what it achieves
- Understanding practical graphic design skills and applying them when approaching slide design
- How to sketch out ideas before you start
- Designing with purpose
- Create story-driven visual narratives
- The Picture Superiority Effect
- Graphic design best practice
- How to leverage contrast, whitespace, and hierarchy
- Transform text-heavy slides into easily-digestible visuals
- Understanding visual grammar and visual weight, and using them effectively
- How to use colour effectively (and ensure accessibility)
- How to choose and use fonts
- Choosing the right graphic formats and where to find images and icons
- Designing data slides and data visualisation approaches to amplify key information
- Use transitions and animations to enhance meaning
Delivering effectively and reducing nerves
- Planning for success
- Managing your time
- Owning the “stage”
Understanding and harnessing the power of your non-verbal communication to connect, engage, and communicate with your audience
- Enhancing voice projection, articulation, pacing, and fluency;
- How to read and respond to the audience during your presentation
- Managing nerves.
- Rocking the Q&A session
Related presentation skills that we can build into a programme:
- How to prepare an elevator pitch
- Impromptu presentations
- Short form presentation skills
Participants will leave the training with:
- The confidence to present authentically, confidently and clearly – to any audience.
- The ability to plan and design a clear, engaging scientific or research presentation.
- An understanding of the importance of planning – and how to do it!
- The ability to control nerves.
- The skills to design and present powerful slides (where applicable).
- A toolbox that they can dip into whenever they need to plan and deliver a new presentation that will connect with audiences.
We offer this training as:
- Multi-day interactive group training sessions (number of sessions dependent on the content) online via Zoom or similar platforms. Ideal for conferences and large events with poster sessions.
- Shorter formats with modified (reduced) content depending on your needs, for example, webinars, short talks, and half-day sessions.
- Part of longer science and research communication programmes for students and early career scientists.
This training is suitable for:
- Early career scientists and researchers who are just getting started with presenting
- Established scientists and researchers who want to refresh or develop their skills
- Research groups and teams who need to co-create and co-present their research
- Researchers interested in participating in science communication events like Pint of Science
- Conference and meeting organisers
Request more information
It was useful to think more strategically about elevator pitches and how I could create something generic for "everyday" use as well as something tailored for different situations like meetings. The opportunity to plan and share elevator pitches was good, as it gave me an idea of other styles and approaches. The detailed individual feedback was unexpected, but great.
This was a fascinating workshop! I learned so much about how I come across and how powerful it is to become more conscious about how I "show up", so that I can make the right impression. Loved the tips about reading other people's non-verbal cues, too. This has made me think twice about the best time to approach people with difficult subject. Thank you, Suzanne, for an inspiring morning!
This was a good refresher on best practice planning and design for posters. I particularly enjoyed the sessions on tools for choosing colour palettes, which I have since used in other communication materials, and the discussion about online and virtual conferences, which was an eye-opener for me during COVID. Thank you, Suzanne!