I recently competed in the 3 minute thesis (3MT) competition. Sitting down and trying to summarise 3 years of work into 3 mins is a very hard task, especially when trying to make it accessible to a general audience. It really makes you take a step back and remember what’s important about your work. Why SHOULD people care about what I do and find it interesting?
I know this has all been said before but it is so vital to be able to explain your research quickly and accessibly. I think this experience will not only help me tell my Grandma what I do, but will be a huge advantage when I want to explain my research to future collaborators or employers.
The 3MT experience was especially useful for me because I had a fair amount of media exposure a few weeks ago as a result of a paper I published. I had so many radio interviews and my first stint on live TV which was petrifying. But whenever my brain froze on a difficult (or completely normal) question, little snippets of my 3MT came back to me and mercifully gave me something intelligent to say.
I also learned that I have to stop putting my hands in my pockets when I give presentations.
So here is what I said, and why I think my research is important!
|Photo by Glenda Wardle @desert_ecology|
|Usyd 3MT finalists. Photo from The University of Sydney FB page|