The Charlesworth Knowledge 12-step programme to enhance your public speaking and presentation skills

Don’t just roll the dice. One of the most important skills you can learn as an early-career researcher is how to give an effective research talk, lecture, or presentation in front of an audience. At some point, every academic has to learn how to do this; the earlier, the better.


Think for example about the local and international conference presentations and talks you might be asked to give at your own university within your research group or to a wider audience perhaps as part of your MSc or PhD. It’s also extremely common to be asked to give a ‘job talk’ when applying for a postdoc or academic position. Could you sell your research work and future potential to a room full of senior academics in just ten or 15 minutes? What if you are not allowed to use slides or visual aids?


Standing up in front of a room full of people is a very nerve-wracking experience; we know this well! Remember: it’s completely normal to be nervous about putting yourself and your work on show in front of others.


Preparation is key:

planning for your presentations will ensure you are able to control your nerves and do a good job. How you manage yourself during your talks also makes the difference between success and failure. People form impressions very fast and usually these stick: follow our Charlesworth Knowledge 12-step programme to ensure that you do the best job possible when presenting your work in front of an audience.


A key tip for success when giving talks is Organisation:

how to identify the key message of your presentation to ensure that your audience remembers you and walks away thinking ‘Wow! That was a really interesting talk’. What sorts of content do you need for a time-limited conference presentation? How many slides should you use for a 15-minute talk and what sorts of things need to be included? Content, presentation, and structure are some of the keys to delivering an effective talk.


Don’t fall into the ‘death by Powerpoint’ trap.

We’ve all attended talks where the slides are bad, hard to read, poorly constructed, distracting, or just plain terrible. We’ll teach you how to easily design and create effective slides that sell your message and are engaging and interesting for your audience. Why not consider infographics or a conference poster as eye-catching alternatives? Our services can help you develop, design, and produce alternatives.


Nerves are normal;

we’ll teach you some tricks to overcome stagefright so that you appear confident and self-assured in front of your audience. We’ll also show you how practicing some parts of your presentation is a must to ensure success while improvisation in other places can also be good to ensure engagement with your audience.


Learning the skills required to give effective talks and presentations is key to academic success. Most working university academics have to give student lectures on an almost daily basis. Could you do this? The key skills we teach as part of our training programmes and workshops are transferrable outside academia and will stand you in good stead whatever your future career.


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Recommended reading

The Early Career Researcher, public speaking, and making the most of scientific meetings

Developing the ‘why’ of your presentations to ensure you achieve maximum impact

Learning to give an effective research talk with Charlesworth Knowledge

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