Lightning Talk tips from GYA members

What to do

Preparing your talk

  • Shorter talks need more time to prepare, because it is hard to summarize while maintaining clarity. Start preparing now
  • Start with one idea
  • Know the beginning and the ending
  • Use examples to explain things
  • Use visuals to enhance your story
  • Keep your audience in mind: what do they know? What needs explaining?
  • Tell a story. Try to have a narrative arch in your presentation
  • Consider – what is the one main point you want to make? Try to imagine what would be an intriguing element of your research to outsiders from your field, and tell that story
  • Seed an idea that leads to a conversation
  • Catch the audience’s attention at the beginning of the presentation, with a story, anecdote or a question that incites curiosity or engagement (e.g. “How many of you would like to travel to space?”)
  • Highlight the stakes: Why the audience should care?
  • Possible, probable, preferable futures: Describe them and how science can lead to the preferable one

Presenting your talk

  • Practice, practice, practice – it is much harder to tell a shorter story than a longer one
  • Use emotions, your body, and your own flair when giving the presentation
  • Don’t hold back, be expressive!

What not to do

  • Your time is limited: avoid using jargon or terminology that is not understood by non-experts;
  • Don’t cram slides with too much information – then people try to read and listen at the same time, which is hard
  • Don’t tell the whole story, tell the specific problem (climate change vs. 1.5-2 °C) and let audience ask more