It is great to see the first posts on projects coming in – including the teething problems, how to decide on a topic (you see, that is what we do as academics, PhDs – the world is wide open). Nikos and I will be in class today to discuss projects, ideals, give support with problems.
From there it will be quick steps to:
-7mins Project Presentation
-Unconference (more information will follow shortly)
Following on from our discussion last week on what makes a strong presentation, here is what he collected. Key for all is: it has to be a fair playing field – 7mins sharp, each. No more, no less. Sticking to the given format is simply a matter of respect (all too often ignored at conferences, workshops, or even job interviews).
Take this as free practice time. The short presentation is not assessed. That does not mean you should not practice. Quite the contrary: it needs practice beforehand. Practice what you can get in, and what NOT! You do not need to squeeze everything into 7mins. Focus on the essentials. Short is good: it helps you to focus on essentials, not on details. They can come later in your project.
And: try something new. This is deliberately not assessed. Of course we want and you want great presentations on promising projects, but do not play it safe-safe. Try something. Speak without notes for the first time ever. Make contact with your audience. Get inspiration from TEDx talks how the pros (and some not-pros) speak to an audience. Speaking of which – the audience.
We often mistake that WE (the presenter) are the main act, the centre of attention. No, we are not. The audience is the STAR. That is what “giving a paper” in the best possible way should mean. YOU give something to your audience – in return for the time given to you by the audience. Make yourself and your topic accessible. Do not bulldoze over your audience in overly detailed, jargonist prose.
Summing up: 7mins is short. Short does not mean easy. Think hard what to focus and what to leave out (for now). Make your topic accessible, relevant, enjoyable – and just enjoy, do not aim for perfection.