Three-Minute-Thesis: communicating your research to a general audience

Yesterday I presented at the La Trobe University, School of Life Sciences round of the Three-Minute-Thesis (3MT™) challenge. The aim of this national competition is to concisely and articulately present your PhD research to a general audience. You have 3 minutes and 3 minutes only to achieve this!

I found the process more like regurgitating memorised words rather than thinking properly about what you were saying (while actually doing the presentation that is). As such, somewhere in the middle of my talk I regurgitated the wrong word and my chances of winning were over. It wasn’t that big of a deal and I re-found my place and continued my talk.

Probably the most important outcome of the whole exercise was getting you to think about communicating the importance of your research to a general audience. Most of the time we are writing papers, and presenting at conferences, designed for our scientific colleagues. As a result, we can sometimes get bogged down in the jargon or the specifics and may not necessary present the ‘big picture’. The suggested questions to ask yourself when preparing your 3MT are so what? who cares? etc. In my case, why should people care about exotic snails on a remote island?

Although the specific details are interesting (to you at least), a general audience is more likely to want to know how your research is going to contribute to some greater understanding.

Check out my 3MT talk below as a separate post and the accompanying powerpoint slide.

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