"Over the past 15 years, I have co-written more than 200 papers... I use the same strategy (to write abstracts) every time. Remember, aim at 150-200 words (never use citations in your abstract) and describe what was done and found! Always end with a bang. What is your main contribution? How is your paper of value to peers? 1. Lay of the land (and the context of your problem): One or two sentence sthat provide an essential introduction to your subfield, understandable to a scientist in any discipline. Expand to a more detailed background if you must. 2. Problem: State your current exact research problem. What is the problem you are solving? One sentence that clearly states the main problem being addressed by this particular study/research. Why is your problem relevant and matters? In one sentence or less. 3. Solution: How are you addressing the research gap or problem? What is your proposed solution? A brief sentence or two summarizing the methods you used to solve your problem. Explain what the main results reveal compared to what was previously thought to be the case. 4. Contribution(s): How do your main results add to previous knowledge? How does your idea stand out from the most relevant related work? Why would your peers consider it a contribution? What are the broader implications of your work?" --@acagamic
"6 Useful Things Learned from speaking":
- Practice speaking in your natural voice. The moment academics step in front of an audience, they often put on a “speaker voice”. I spent 8 weeks practicing my natural voice. Pauses, rhythms, speed, emphasis, and loudness. It was fun and taught me to speak more dynamically.
- Break up your talk. Why is it that we say no to a 3-hour movie but yes to binging six 30-minute episodes? Because episodes break things up. I now think of a 60-minute talk as 4-6 episodes. Each should give people a brief break (e.g., for questions) and leave them wanting more
- Don’t cram in material. If you cram in too much, you’ll exhaust your audience. We have to remind ourselves that most people don’t care as much about the details as we do. Even if they do, hopefully they’ll just ask. Awesome! Now you have a great Q&A session.
- Research the setting. Ask what the room looks like. Visualize the room when you practice. When you show up, it will feel familiar; you’ll know how loud to talk and how to work the space. Ask about your audience too, and consider tailoring your materials to increase relevance.
- End early. People complain when talks go long—not short. If you plan to end early, you’ll be less likely to go long. Ending early also makes it feel like time flew by. It also gives more time for Q&A and discussion (which should be lively if your talk went well).
- Prepare two conclusion statements. Academic talks often end with a Q&A. But this can mean that the last thing you audience hears is a subpar question or an awkward “No more questions?” You can ensure that things end on a high note if you prep a post-Q&A conclusion.
Last modified 14 April 2023