Monday, October 15, 2012

fresh science national final

i made it to the national finals for an australian competition called fresh science, which are taking place this week in melbourne!

the fresh science program selects one dozen early career researchers from all branches of science, gives us loads of science communication training and feedback, throws us in front audiences from students to politicians to journalists, and works with us to prepare official press releases during the finals week (look out for mine this thursday!).

some highlights from information obtained today:

newspapers make money from ads and always have.   ads they sell on websites generate a lot less money than in the printed paper, yet less papers are sold.   as a result, the online stories that get click-thrus are the ones that get promoted by producers, ie. stories with good photos and headlines.   so if you want more interesting news and less bullshit kardashian-type stories, stop clicking on the bullshit stories online (please).

regarding presentations:  

memorize opening and closing lines - they make the most impact.  actually, super-practice the intro to give yourself a confident start.

it doesnt matter the length of your presentation, the audience will only take away 3 pieces of info. so choose those wisely and focus on arguing/telling the story of those 3.

we speak at an average rate of 150-180 words per minute, but think at around 700 words/minute.

top tips for regaining audience attention, which will inevitably drift: change your focus every few minutes - vary the tone of your voice, use audience participation, pause, use the power point "B" key to provide a blank screen and bring attention back to you.

AMAZINGLY, only 12% of any audience is paying attention to you at any given moment.   20% is indulging in sexual fantasies, 20% is reminiscing, and the rest is worrying, daydreaming, thinking, etc... 

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