Yesterday was my first full-on presentation as a PhD student. It was a 20/20 presentation*, meaning I had to present 20 slides for 20 seconds each and was given to the Faculty of Engineering, Computing, and Creative Industries (FECCI).
If you know me, you know I’m not actually good at “keeping it short”—especially when it’s a topic I’m excited about. So the idea of a 20/20 presentation freaked me out! Twenty slides, with only 20 seconds of chatting each? Impossible!
Six minutes and 40 seconds of chatting using as many (or as few) slides as I needed to convey my message would have been so much better, and wouldn’t have left me feeling rushed.
Still, the rule was 20/20, so that’s what I did.
The takeaways were worth it though. Here’s what they were:
- Presenting my research in this manner did wonders for my confidence (after the freaking out before and during, of course). It also forced me to think more concisely about my message when explaining my research to others—especially those who are not social media researchers.
- I learned some great lessons for my next presentation. I learned that it would be best to prepare a 6-minute 40-second talk and then create the slides to fit in every 20 seconds. That way, it’s a cohesive talk rather than 20 short bursts of information.
- The next time I have a presentation of any length (and slide limit), I have a bank of slides ready to plug in when and where they’re needed.
Here’s a copy of my presentation if you want to see what my slides looked like. I know it doesn’t let you know what I said, but you can always get in touch if you want to know more about the presentation—or my research!
* This style is sometimes called PechaKucha, but as it’s a trademarked programme, 20/20 is the oft-used generic term.
[Photo credits: Copyright Hazel Hall 2014; used with permission]