What makes an exceptional public speaker? Driven by this question, BE Communication Fellow Andee Wallace led the creation of a new initiative to help BE members elevate their public speaking.
Here she explains what inspired her, and the resources the Comm Lab now offers to take your public speaking to the next level – regardless of where you’re starting from.
Why did you start this initiative?
I gave a talk last year, and afterwards I received generally positive feedback with very few concrete suggestions on ways I could improve. However, my PI pushed me to think about things I could do to turn me from a good public speaker into a great one. I began by watching videos of highly rated talks and it became obvious that there was no one trick that made someone a great speaker. Each person had their own style. Not only that, but there were so many resources already available that it was overwhelming to pinpoint what areas I wanted to improve and how to go about that. I realized that there was a need for the Comm Lab to provide easily digestible best practices and public speaking coaching support.
Why is public speaking important?
Public speaking is an integral part of scientific communication, whether you’re presenting your research in a talk, on a poster at a conference, or even just explaining your work to friends or family. Unfortunately, scientists are notorious for being poor communicators, which often originates from giving dry presentations. It’s time to change that perception because the work we’re doing is important, interesting, and deserves to be listened to!
What does the Comm Lab offer to help?
In addition to helping clients on presentation content (outlining talks, slide design, and poster design), the Comm Lab is now also providing coaching sessions to help clients improve their presentation delivery. The Comm Lab is fully equipped with a projector and video camera, and these sessions will be structured to give clients opportunities to practice their talk and implement feedback to improve their delivery. We’re excited to work with clients on BATS talks, class presentations, faculty talks, and conference presentations. Book an appointment today!
Second, check out our new CommKit section on public speaking. To make it easy to analyze and improve your public speaking skills, we’ve broken down this complex topic into…
- Verbal Communication (e.g., volume, tone, and pace)
- Nonverbal Communication (e.g., eye contact, movement, and stage presence)
- A guide to make your practice as quick and effective as possible – since we know that everyone gets busy and it’s hard to make time to practice
- A guide to doing your best on the day of your presentation