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Elevator Speech: An Effective Way to Communicate Your Work

Have you heard about the concept of an “elevator speech”? It’s a brief summary of who you are, what you do, and your career or project goals—with an emphasis on brief. Imagine running into the CEO of the dream company you’d like to work for, while waiting in line for coffee or taking an elevator: you will need a well-planned “pitch” that you can deliver concisely, clearly, and with confidence. Your elevator speech is an abbreviated version of your response to the common job interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Having a well-prepared pitch to share at a moment’s notice is essential to grabbing your audience’s attention—and to leave them wanting to learn more about you. An elevator speech is also easy to tailor to different audiences, once you have your first draft done.

Basic rules to follow:

  1. Keep it short (30 seconds to 2 minutes).
  2. Capture the person’s attention early and state your goals clearly.
  3. Focus on the WHY. It conveys the big picture and the importance of your work.
  4. Consider the audience: don’t use jargon or acronyms that your listener may not understand.
  5. Tell your story with enthusiasm.
  6. Make it personal: it is about you, your work or research, your strengths.
  7. Leave some room for the imagination. People will definitely ask follow up questions, if they are interested in learning more about you.

Invited by the Office of Postdoc Affairs, Dr. Mike Matrone, Associate Director for Office of Career & Professional Development at the University of California, San Francisco led a workshop on this topic in late August 2019. To help you get started on drafting your elevator speech, below are example prompts from the workshop.

An easy way to start drafting your elevator speech:
Example 1: You’re interviewing for your dream job, and are expected to answer, “Tell me about your research”.

Background

  • I am a ______/ I study_____

Supporting Details

  • My question is…
  • My approach is…

Findings & Conclusion

  • I discovered that ___
  • This is important because ___
  • In the future___

Example 2: You’re a speaker at TEDx Seattle.

Bottom line

  • My name is ___ and I am a ____.

So what?

  • Did you know___? / Every year___
  • I found that___
  • This is significant because ___

Supporting Details

  • I did this by___
  • Nuggets of what’s next.

Last but not least, the elevator speech is not something you can make up on the spot. It’s important to think ahead, prepare a draft, and practice your delivery. Practice is always the key to success. Practice with peers or mentors, or come to our office hours for feedback. In addition to the examples above, check out the following informational resources on crafting an elevator speech.

Use an Elevator Pitch to Effectively Communicate Your Work

Have you heard an “elevator speech”? It’s a brief summary of who you are, what you do, and your career or project goals—with an emphasis on brief. Imagine running into the CEO of the dream company you’d like to work for, while waiting in line for coffee or taking an elevator: you will need a well-planned pitch that you can deliver concisely, clearly, and with confidence. Your elevator speech is an abbreviated version of your response to the common job interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Having a well-prepared pitch to share at a moment’s notice is essential to grabbing your audience’s attention—and to leave them wanting to learn more about you. An elevator speech is also easy to tailor for different audiences, once you have your first draft.

Basic guidelines

  1. Keep it short (30 seconds to 2 minutes).
  2. Capture the person’s attention early and state your goals clearly.
  3. Focus on the why. This will convey the big picture and the importance of your work.
  4. Consider the audience: don’t use jargon or acronyms that your listener may not understand.
  5. Tell your story with enthusiasm.
  6. Make it personal: it is about you, your work or research, your strengths.
  7. Leave some room for the imagination. People will definitely ask follow up questions, if they are interested in learning more about you.

Invited by the Office of Postdoc Affairs and Core Programs—Office of Graduate Student Affairs in The Graduate School, Dr. Mike Matrone, Associate Director for Office of Career & Professional Development at the University of California, San Francisco led a workshop on this topic in late August. To help you get started on drafting your elevator speech, below are example prompts from the workshop.

An easy way to start drafting your elevator speech

Example 1: You’re interviewing for your dream job, and are expected to answer, “Tell me about your research.”

Background
  • I am a ______/ I study_____
Supporting Details
  • My question is…
  • My approach is…
Findings & Conclusion
  • I discovered that _________________
  • This is important because _______________
  • In the future______________

Example 2: You’re a speaker at TEDx Seattle.

Bottom line
  • My name is _____________ and I am a ____________.
So what?
  • Did you know___? / Every year___
  • I found that___
  • This is significant because ___
Supporting details
  • I did this by___
  • Nuggets of what’s next

Last but not least, the elevator speech is not something you can make up on the spot. It’s important to think ahead, prepare a draft, and practice your delivery. Practice is always the key to success. Practice with peers or mentors. Check out the following resources below on crafting an elevator speech.

Best,

Core Programs—Office of Graduate Student Affairs

The Graduate School

Use an Elevator Speech to Communicate Your Work Effectively

Have you heard of an “elevator speech”? It’s a brief summary of who you are, what you do, and your career or project goals—with an emphasis on brief. Imagine running into the CEO of the dream company you’d like to work for, while waiting in line for coffee or taking an elevator: you will need a well-planned pitch that you can deliver concisely, clearly, and with confidence. Your elevator speech is an abbreviated version of your response to the common job interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Having a well-prepared pitch to share at a moment’s notice is essential to grabbing your audience’s attention—and to leave them wanting to learn more about you. An elevator speech is also easy to tailor for different audiences, once you have your first draft.

Basic guidelines:

  1. Keep it short (30 seconds to 2 minutes).
  2. Capture the person’s attention early and state your goals clearly.
  3. Focus on the why. This will convey the big picture and the importance of your work.
  4. Consider the audience: don’t use jargon or acronyms that your listener may not understand.
  5. Tell your story with enthusiasm.
  6. Make it personal: it is about you, your work or research, your strengths.
  7. Leave some room for the imagination. People will definitely ask follow up questions, if they are interested in learning more about you.

An easy way to start drafting your elevator speech:

Example 1: You’re interviewing for your dream job and are expected to answer, “Tell me about research.”

Background

  • I am a ______ / I study ______

Supporting Details

  • My question is…
  • My approach is…

Findings & Conclusion

  • I discovered that ______
  • This is important because ______
  • In the future ______

Example 2: You’re a speaker at TEDx Seattle.

Bottom line

  • My name is ______ and I am a ______

So what?

  • Did you know ______? / Every year ______
  • I found that ______
  • This is significant because ______

Supporting details

  • I did this by ______
  • Nuggets of what’s next

Last but not least, the elevator speech is not something you can make up on the spot. It’s important to think ahead, prepare a draft, and practice your delivery. Practice is always the key to success. Practice with peers or mentors.

Best,

Core Programs—Office of Graduate Student Affairs
UW Graduate School

Professors on Pedestals – Updated

Is there a place on campus where I can learn how to address/talk to professors? I have been in the US for about six years now, but I am originally from a culture where one is supposed to show respect to people older than you. I therefore still cannot bring myself to address a professor by name (as my other fellow graduate students do), or write an email to them without putting in multiple “Thank you for your time!” and “Sorry to bother you…”.

When I read my own emails that I send out to professors, it’s cringeworthy, since I’m so deferential. It’s worse when the professors I address are just a couple of years older than me. I want to learn to get over this. My friend recently pointed out that calling someone “Prof. X”, and writing so many Thank Yous and Sorrys in email skews the power dynamic a bit too much, and that I should treat professors as colleagues if I want them to treat me as one.

How do I learn this? I hang out with a lot of American friends but somehow this is something I’m unable to learn. —Anonymous

This question was originally published in November 2016. The responses have been slightly updated for accuracy as of January 2019. 

Hi, there. In order to address your question, I reached out to several campus partners. I hope their multiple perspectives and experiences are helpful.

Ziyan Bai is a graduate student assistant with the Graduate School’s Core Programs and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs:

“For the past couple years, I have organized a workshop on “Communicating with Faculty” for international grad students. At the workshop, a panel of three faculty members and four advanced international graduate students from social science, science, engineering, and humanities shared communication tips and strategies including communicating in person or via email. We have a summary of notes from the panel.

I also get this question many times during my one-on-one mentoring with new international grad students. This is not an uncommon situation. The bottom line: find a middle ground that you find comfortable with the degree of reverence you show in the email or talking in-person. Usually international students find it uncomfortable if they try to “get rid of” their home culture in order to fit in. There is no universal standard in communication, so staying connected with home culture and being open to learn new culture at the same time is recommended.”

Note: The “Communicating with Faculty” Workshop is being offered this May. Details will be announced in the Graduate School Digest and on the Graduate School’s events calendar.

Era Schrepfer is the executive director of the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS), which offers a wealth of support and programs for international students at UW:

“We hear this question pretty frequently. I usually suggest visiting the professor during office hours and being totally honest about this with them directly. Just say, ‘I’m from XXX and in my country we are taught from an early age to treat teachers much more formally, so the culture in the classroom here is hard for me to get used to. I want to be successful in your class and for you to feel comfortable. What do you suggest to help me with this?’ Usually, they really don’t mind being treated more formally by international students, but it helps to start off the quarter with a conversation.

Sometimes, it’s easier to feel comfortable with a professor when you know them a little bit on a personal level, and it’s meaningful to the professor as well. So ask them questions about themselves. Have they ever been to your country? How long have they been teaching? Where did they go to school? It’s helpful to find some common ground with them and see them as people just like you. Power distance is one of the most challenging cultural elements! I know a lot of alumni who still struggle with it many years after coming to the US!”

Elloise Kim is the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and an international student herself:

“As someone who is from a similar culture, I totally understand why you are hesitant to freely communicate with people like faculty members. In my home culture, a respectful manner for people who are older or hold a higher position is obligatory. Yet, if people here can interpret your attitude not necessarily as carefulness but as cultural clumsiness, you may want to question for whom you insist to keep such manners.

I’d like to suggest to learn American cultural manners in the way you have learned English. In other words, think of it as a foreign language. Its syntax and phonetics would be very different from those of your original language. But, you have to learn and practice it in the way the language is spoken by native speakers. You do not become a totally different person while speaking English – rather, you are speaking another language still being yourself. Likewise, ways of communication need to be learned and adjusted. You can be very polite in a different way!”

Katie Malcolm is an instructional consultant for the Center for Teaching and Learning and specializes in working with international, multilingual and first-generation college teachers and students:

“This is a great question, and one that many grad students have. The resource ‘Communication Strategies for International Graduate Students’ has some specific strategies for students about communicating with advisors.”

Ask the Grad School Guide is an advice column for all y’all graduate and professional students. Real questions from real students, answered by real people. If the Guide doesn’t know the answer, the Guide will seek out experts all across campus to address the issue. (Please note: The Guide is not a medical doctor, therapist, lawyer or academic advisor, and all advice offered here is for informational purposes only.) Submit a question for the column →

Communicating Your Work to a Wide Audience

There are many transferable skills you can develop in graduate school that will prepare you for many types of careers. These may include the ability to synthesize complex information (studying, reading, and engaging in class discussions), manage a large project (a capstone, thesis, or dissertation), prioritize tasks (balancing your studies, work, and personal life), meet multiple deadlines, and work independently or in collaborative settings.

One transferable skill you may consider developing during your time at UW is presenting your research to an audience made up individuals who are not necessarily experts in your research specialization or field of study. Below are tips for preparing and presenting your work for a broader audience.

Communicate your research to a wide audience. Maybe you’re developing a three-minute networking pitch or preparing for a non-academic job talk. Maybe you’re finally ready to discuss your research project or capstone with family, friends, or community groups. Interested in sharing the significance of your project with policy makers? No matter the setting, presenting your research in an accessible manner for different audiences can help you and your work have a broader impact.

Know your audience. As mentioned above, you may be speaking to a potential employer or a local community group. Do your research ahead of time to know what might resonate with your audience and understand why they might be invested in your work. And no matter the audience, it’s important to be mindful that you are not “talking down” to individuals you are presenting to. You are framing your work in terms, stories or contexts they care about.

Prepare content. Utilize a guide for preparing effective slides or visuals or get advice and support from the UW Research Commons Design Help Desk. Regardless of your chosen visual format, identify a powerful anecdote, a quotation, or a question that can capture your audience’s attention and is connected to the main point of your presentation. Less is more — so include two or three sub-points that connect to your research question or finding. Avoid including a lot of technical or academic jargon, as this may unintentionally lead to audience disengagement. Finally, consider closing with a question, anecdote or visual that ties everything together captures the audience’s attention.

Practice your talk. Schedule times to practice in front of peers outside of your department, loved ones, or even co-workers before your actual talk. Ask for feedback to learn if your audience can follow your story, if they feel engaged, and if they have a clear take home message from your presentation.

Want to see 10 UW graduate students from across disciplines each present their work in three minutes, while competing for cash prizes?! Next Thursday, attend the second annual UW Three Minute Thesis Competition to see them do just that in front of esteemed judges and a live audience. Plus, the audience votes on a presenter to receive the People’s Choice Award! Following the presentations is a reception with light food and refreshments. This event is free!

Three Minute Thesis Competition:
Thursday, April 19, 4–5:30 p.m.
HUB 145, Seattle campus

Best,

Core Programs Team
#UWGradSuccess

Strategies for Communicating with Faculty

For the past three years, Core Programs has hosted a communication skills workshop with the goal of sharing effective strategies international graduate students can use when communicating with faculty. Below are a just a few of these communication best practices. These tips are useful not only for international graduate students but also all graduate students across the University of Washington.

Be proactive. Faculty panelists at our workshops have stated that despite their busy schedules, they truly appreciate hearing from their graduate students who need guidance or mentoring. As such, it’s important to take initiative if you need to connect with a faculty member. Whether you need feedback on a project or paper, are in the process of searching for a thesis or dissertation advisor, or are seeking letters of recommendation for an internship or job, taking steps to communicate your needs to faculty in advance are steps towards success in graduate school.

Email etiquette. Just like with every mode of communication, there are general guidelines for writing that very first (or fortieth) email to faculty. Some of these tips may seem like common sense to some, but it’s always helpful to remember that all of us start at the beginning, no matter the task. First, have a clear subject line like “Request to Schedule Meeting to Discuss My Research Progress.” Include a professional greeting, and keep your message short and to the point. If you want to convey updates about your work, include an attachment (or ask what the faculty you are contacting prefers) rather than including long updates in the message body. Finally, include a closing statement that thanks the faculty for their time, followed by a closing phrase and your signature. Then proofread your email (with a peer or co-worker if needed) at least one time before sending.

When you are in doubt, clarify. Making a point to clarify what you are discussing in meetings with your faculty advisor is important to being successful in graduate school, whether or not you are an international graduate student. For example, you can use the repeat or rephrase strategy by saying, “I’d like to make sure that I heard you correctly…” If you’re still unclear, you could ask, “Do you mind clarifying what you mean by…?” Finally, it’s always a good idea to take meeting notes and email them to your advisor soon after the meeting, “This is what we discussed… Here is how we are moving forward…” Emailing your notes allows you and your professor to document your meetings and progress.

Letters of Recommendation. Asking for letters of recommendation from faculty can be intimidating, and it’s something that just takes practice. Whether you are seeking a letter of recommendation for an internship, job, or fellowship application, try out these tips. In the body of your email, include a very brief description of the job or fellowship you are applying for. Mention aspects of the job description or fellowship that are relevant to you. Include a bulleted list of the skills or experiences that make you a strong applicant. Make sure to include the deadline for the faculty’s letter of recommendation, the submission link or mailing address, and thank them for their time and efforts. Finally, attach the most recent, updated copy of your resume or CV, proofread your email, and send!

We hope you find these tips useful, and let us know what has worked for you!

Best Regards,

Core Programs Team
#UWGradSuccess

Many thanks to Ziyan Bai, graduate staff assistant for Core Programs and PhD Candidate in Education for doing an outstanding job of organizing these workshops. We also extend gratitude to the following faculty who have offered their time and insights as panelists and guests at these workshops over the past three years (in no particular order): Liz Sanders (Education), Sara Goering (Philosophy), Mari Ostendorf (Electrical Engineering), Wendy Thomas (Bioengineering), Xiasong Li (Chemistry), Kelly Edwards (Bioethics), Gino Aisenberg (Social Work), Gojko Lalic (Chemistry), and John Sahr (Electrical Engineering).

Control the email, don’t let it control you

I get a LOT of email (including this one, no offense), and I can’t keep up. How do I get off all of these email lists? Shouldn’t there be one place I can change my preferences? —Anonymous

This question was originally published in December 2015. The answer has been updated to reflect the University’s new email management system. 

Hi there,

I get it. We’re all swamped with emails. No offense taken.

Unfortunately, just due to the sheer size of this university and the autonomy of various units, there is no one definitive, central place to management your subscriptions. However, if you focus on a few key sources, you should be able to drastically reduce your inbox.

  1. You can manage many of your subscriptions through the Subscription Preference Center. Fill out the form with your email address, then you will receive an email with a link to your personal subscription preference center. In the subscription preference center, click on “Manage all UW Preferences” at the top of the page, then scroll through the units. Expand the options for unit-specific emails by clicking the “+” to the left of the unit name. Deselect an email to unsubscribe. This will allow you to manage communications sent through a particular software (Marketo).
  2.  Some units may use another software other than Marketo, such as MailChimp. You will have to manage subscriptions for those outlets separately. There should always be options to unsubscribe for the email at the bottom.
  3. Some emails may be coming from the Registar’s office, or Financial Aid, etc. You will not be able to get off of these lists.
  4. Some emails may be coming directly from your department or a professor. You’ll need to consult with the relevant unit.
  5. If you can’t get out at the source, take advantage of your email software: set rules and filters.

You should have control of how much communication you receive, of course, but I want to advise you to unsubscribe thoughtfully. There have been instances where students opted out of all emails from a unit and then were frustrated they were not getting some of the notices regarding funding opportunities, events, etc.

Ask the Grad School Guru is an advice column for all y’all graduate and professional students. Real questions from real students, answered by real people. If the guru doesn’t know the answer, the guru will seek out experts all across campus to address the issue. (Please note: The guru is not a medical doctor, therapist, lawyer or academic advisor, and all advice offered here is for informational purposes only.) Submit a question for the column →

Published November 30, 2017

Working with mentors to support your career goals!

We all have different mentors in our life. These people have our best interest in mind and are able to guide and support our professional and personal development. In your personal life, look for advisors who are compassionate, enthusiastic, generous, honest, insightful, selfless and wise. In your professional life, it is imperative to find mentors who are collaborative, intellectual, knowledgeable, accessible, and visionary. In both, it is important to have mentors who will challenge and support you in doing your best work and being your best self. For additional desirable mentor traits, see Cho et al. (2011) in which mentor nomination letters were analyzed for traits among those who supported the careers of junior faculty. And remember, look for multiple mentors — a single person cannot provide all of the support and encouragement you need! See Graduate School Mentor Memos on Building Your Mentoring Team and What a Good Mentor Does.

Once you identify your champions, build a thoughtful relationship to ensure that it is productive and continues to prioritize your long-term goals. In Mapping a Mentoring Roadmap and Developing a Supportive Network for Strategic Career Advancement, Montgomery (2017) outlines the steps necessary to support a productive mentor-mentee relationship. In addition, in Making the most of mentors: A guide for mentees, Zerzan et al. (2009) provide a very clear checklist to consider as you identify mentors and build your relationships. Briefly:

  1. Self Reflection: Before setting up a meeting with your mentor, figure out what you need in a mentor. What unique skills and experiences do they have that will benefit your career or personal goals? Do you need a team of mentors (hint: the answer is yes!)?
  2. Getting Started: Set an agenda with your interests in mind. How often should you formally meet? Be sure to set goals and follow-up with an emailed list of action items so that expectations are clear to both you an your mentor. For additional tips, see Managing Up.
  3. Maintenance: Be sure to sustain regular contact with your mentor. If you’ve agreed to future milestones, be sure to meet them or discuss more realistic goals if necessary.
  4. Moving Ahead: Your life will evolve. At some point, you will be less reliant on your current mentors and will need to identify more relevant advisors. Be open with you mentor, re-evaluate your relationship, and gracefully transition to your next phase. However, be sure to maintain a positive relationship, as your mentor already invested a great deal of effort in you. They will want to see you continue to be successful and you may find yourself relying on them in the future.

Above all else, keep all lines of communication open. You may have a great plan for your personal and professional development. However, if you and your mentor don’t communicate, then you won’t be working towards the same finish line.

 


References:

  • Cho, C. S. (2011). Defining the ideal qualities of mentorship: A qualitative analysis of the characteristics of outstanding mentors. The American Journal of Medicine, 124 (5), 453–458.
  • Montgomery, B. L. (2017). Mapping a mentoring roadmap and developing a supportive network for strategic career advancement. SAGE Open. 1–13.
  • Zerzan, J. T. (2009). Making the most of mentors: a guide for mentees. Academic Medicine, 84 (1), 140–144.

Engaging in Effective Conversations When the Stakes Are High

When you have important issues to discuss with faculty or colleagues, do you choose email? Text? Phone? Or do you schedule an in-person meeting?

It depends, right? How safe do you feel? How much detail needs to be conveyed and confirmed? Is it a small clarification or a bigger conceptual issue? Is there likely to be disagreement? As a society, we are having fewer and fewer in-person conversations and perhaps over-relying on electronics, opening ourselves up to further conflicts or misunderstandings, and perhaps missing an opportunity to practice professional dialogue.

As graduate students, you know that much of your success in your program is dependent upon the relationships that you build, and we appreciate that much can be at stake.
Generally speaking, in-person communication is key where you want to improve communication or build an ongoing relationship. Where there is a power dynamic, as there may be with your advisor, it can often feel intimidating or uncertain to engage in conversation, so we asked the UW Ombud Office for a few ideas to help get you started:

Tip 1.  Prior to the conversation, focus on your goals. Figure out what it is that you’d like to see happen. I encourage broad goals for many conversations. A goal as narrow as, “Convince my advisor to allow me to take my research in a specific direction” may not be as useful as, “Discuss a potential area of interest with my advisor, and determine opportunities for me to pursue that interest in the near term.”

Tip 2.  While in conversation, be mindful of unproductive behaviors from you or the other person. These can include passive behaviors like withdrawing from the conversation, masking your opinions or ideas, or avoiding sensitive subjects. These behaviors can also look more confrontational like controlling the conversation, labeling the other person, or verbally attacking them. If you or the other person is engaging in these behaviors, it’s time to pause and consider ways to move forward. Once you have identified the behavior, you have two basic choices: attempt to redirect the conversation in a more productive manner, or end the conversation and return to it at a future time (and see our past blogpost on preparing for conflicts).

Tip 3.  If you decide to stay in the conversation, S.A.I.L.Share that you are looking for a mutual goal, Ask them to share their goals, Invent a mutual goal, and Look for new strategies to achieve your goals. A mutual goal can also be broad, sometimes even as broad as “finish the research project”—and even that can be enough to get a conversation back on track.

Deciding to have an in-person conversation can sometimes be the hardest step, even harder than the conversation itself. The Ombud Office can be a confidential resource for making that decision, working through your preparation for a conversation, and to help you be successful in conversations to improve your relationships, communication, and long-term success – both in graduate school and beyond.

This week’s Core Programs newsletter is written in collaboration with Emma Phan, Associate Ombud for the University of Washington. Emma handles both graduate student and postdoc concerns at a tri-campus level, and enjoys collaborating with students to help them raise concerns and work through academic or professional challenges. Whenever she gets the chance, rain or shine, Emma heads to the beach to surf.

Presenting Your Work To a Broad Audience

There are many transferable skills you can develop in graduate school that will prepare you for many types of careers. These may include the ability to synthesize complex information (studying, reading, and engaging in class discussions), manage a large project (a capstone, thesis, or dissertation), prioritize tasks (balancing your studies, work, and personal life), meet multiple deadlines, and work independently or in collaborative settings.

One transferable skill you may consider developing during your time at UW is presenting your research to an audience made up of individuals who are not necessarily experts in your research specialization or field of study. Below are tips for preparing and presenting your work for a broader audience.

Communicate your research to a broad audience. Maybe you’re developing a three-minute networking pitch or preparing for a non-academic job talk. Maybe you’re finally ready to discuss your research project or capstone with family, friends, or community groups. Interested in sharing the significance of your project with policy makers? No matter the setting, presenting your research in an accessible manner for different audiences can help you and your work have a broader impact.

Know your audience. As mentioned above, you may be speaking to a potential employer or a local community group. Do your research ahead of time to know what might resonate with your audience and understand why they might be invested in your work. And no matter the audience, it’s important to be mindful that you are not “talking down” to individuals you are presenting to. You are framing your work in terms — and perhaps stories or contexts — they care about.

Prepare content. Utilize a guide for preparing effective slides or visuals or get advice and support from the UW Research Commons Design Help Desk. Regardless of your chosen visual format, identify a powerful anecdote, a quotation, or a question that can capture your audience’s attention and is connected to the main point of your presentation. Less is more, so include two or three sub-points that connect to your research question or finding. Avoid including a lot of technical or academic jargon, as this may unintentionally lead to audience disengagement. Finally, consider closing with a question, anecdote or visual that ties everything together — and that again— will capture the audience’s attention.

Practice your talk. Schedule times to practice in front of peers outside of your department, loved ones, or even co-workers before your actual talk. Ask for feedback to learn if your audience can follow your story, if they feel engaged, and if they have a clear take-home message from your presentation.

Want practice in a low stakes, fun, and guided way? Submit a proposal Scholars’ Studio! Or, be an audience member at a Scholars’ Studio event this quarter or in winter and learn from your grad student peers!

Best,

Core Programs Team
#UWGradSuccess

Additional Resources