Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Submission Page Open for Water Science Pop Ups AGU 2016!

We hope you will consider submitting an abstract to the Water Science Pop-Ups session at AGU 2016! The deadline to submit is August 3, 2016 and submissions can be made here: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2016/students/events/pop-up-talks/

Note submission is free and open to any and all AGU members.

Check back for updates on the session as well as tips for preparing to give your talk.

We encourage you to consider submitting an abstract or spreading the word about our sister session--Social Dimensions of Geosciences (see link above for submission info). Finally, good friends of ours are convening session (EDO33) Sympathy for the Data: Novel approaches to the art of data visualization. To read more about this session visit: https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm16/preliminaryview.cgi/Session13499.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Creating a Captivating Speech IV: Practice

In previous posts we've stressed the importance of rehearsal. This process amounts to more than flipping through slides and speaking under your breath. In the words of Judith Rhodes, "Your goal is to achieve the comfortable, confident, conversational style considered good form in scientific circles without running overtime." Fluid movement through your presentation should be your end, not your presumed starting point, and it requires practice in a setting that resembles your ultimate presentation location...with an audience!.

You are not limited to scientific conferences when trying to hone your public speaking skills. Storytelling events are currently riding a wave of popularity, fueled in part by the wildly successful  story slams and podcasts curated by The Moth. Story slams and similar events are available in nearly every major city in the U.S. And if these very public events are too big of a leap, here are a few other groups and events where you can regularly practice speaking. Consider joining or one of them or initiating a meeting at your own university:

  • PechaKucha 20x20 - Twenty slides, twenty seconds per slide. Make them count.
  • Toastmasters - Toastmasters has a well-defined sequence of formats that will guide you through the process of becoming a better, more confident public speaker. Check the website to see if an organization meets near you. 
  • 3 Minute Thesis - Events have taken place on a number of different campuses around the globe. Can you deliver your Ph.D. thesis on one slide in 180 seconds?
You can read more about storytelling in some of our past posts as well (part 1 and part 2).  Also, guest blogger Janine Castro also posted this previous entry on storytelling.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Creating a Captivating Speech III: Prepare

Less than seven weeks before the Water Sciences Pop Up session on Monday, December 14!  Now that you've had a chance to learn more about the when and where of your talk, you can start preparing the details of it.

You can read a lot about preparing for your speech in this past post, but in general, this is a good time for you to think about the main points of your speech and how you will convey them.  You want to try to do this even before opening Powerpoint or some visual presentation software.  Get out a few sheets of scrap paper, find a quiet place, and start to think about:

(1) your three main points (or maybe even less if need be),
(2) your take-home message (one sentence that sums everything up you can say at the end), and
(3) what you will need to address your points (e.g. images, videos, recordings).

This article in Nature has a lot of other great tips on honing your message and being aware of jargon.  As the article says, be careful not keep your message focused.  It's easy to try to pack too much into a talk and run out of time.  For the Pop-Up talks you will only get 5 minutes so you have to make each visual count.

Once you have thought about your main points and your take-home message then you can think about how to break this down so each slide or visual plays a key role.  If you make a visual and you don't know what it's main message is and how it relates to your main points, remove it from your presentation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Water Sciences Pop Up Schedule Posted!

We are excited to announce that the official schedule for the Water Sciences Pop-Ups has been posted here!  The range of topics is exciting and we are looking forward to having time at the end for speakers to mingle with AGU attendees.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Creating a Captivating Speech II: Learn

Eleven weeks stand between today and your presentation. What better time than now to learn a little more about how to give a great speech?

We will not attempt to reformulate the tried-and-true process for crafting a speech. There are many speaking guides out there, including one from the folks at TED. As you are well aware, we're fond of the TED format. Its founders have converged on a simple model: it works! According to the foundation's website, TED talks have garnered more than one billion views. 

Instead, we're sharing some of our favorite articles deconstructing a good presentation:
  • In Does Body Language Help a TED Talk Go Viral? Alison Prato urges us to nail the opening seven seconds and cites research to back it up . A good opening gets listeners in the mindset and serves as an indirect "on ramp" for the the rest of the presentation. Click on the Science of People link in this article for more scientific references.
  • Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy also talks about how the power posing can be energizing in her TED talk.
  • Do you consider yourself an introvert or do you want to engage introverts in your speech?  Susan Cain talks about celebrating introverts in her TED talk.
  • What Makes a Speech Great?  Megan Keaney Anderson gives a reminder that "fascination cannot be faked." Our exciting claims, however, should also be supported by cold, hard, peer-reviewed facts.
  • Click here for a list of more articles and videos to help you share your exciting idea with the rest of the AGU community. Feel free to add to this list or include some more links in the comments.
Many of these great speeches (in addition to great TV dramas, movies, you name it), focus on telling a story.  Think of your speech as you telling a story about your work.  Try to work in various aspects of the dramatic arc: background info, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  You can read more about storytelling 101 on an older post of ours.  We'll talk more about designing your designing and preparing for your speech in a few weeks so stay tuned!

Missed the first part of the Creating a Captive Speech series?  Click here for our first installment.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Crafting a Captivating Speech I: Listen

New to the TED-style presentation format, or to public speaking in general? The best way to get started is to observe the masters. As you review the available links, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
  1. What drew me into the presentation?
  2. Did the speaker's technique (e.g. voice, gestures, visual aids) add to, or distract me from, the presentation topic?
  3. What were the main points discussed? How were they organized?
  4. What stuck with me after it was finished? 
Below is a list of useful media to inspire your presentation planning:
  • TED - There's no greater repository for captivating speeches. Some pertinent examples are talks by Rob Harmon, Jonathan Foley,
  • Here is a talk by Peter Gleick, who will be a panelist at this year's Student and Early Career Scientist Conference. Notice the clear organization, the commanding tone, and the strategic use of pauses in Dr. Gleick's lecture. 
  • Three-Minute Thesis - Students around the world have risen to the challenge of jamming their entire dissertations into 180 seconds. 
  • As scientists, we are held to the quality of our content, but our language is of obvious impact. Poets take this idea to the next level, often leading with sound and letting the meaning follow (see The Triggering Town, by Richard Hugo). Poems are the playgrounds of language. Go play. One recommended book for the avid earth scientist: We Mammals in Hospitable Times, by Jynne Dilling Martin.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pop-Ups and other Speaking Events at 2015 AGU Fall Meeting

The abstracts are in, and we are in for a treat in 2015! On behalf of the AGU Hydrology Section Student Subcommittee, I would like to share my excitement for this year’s upcoming Pop-Up sessions. As we draw near the December Fall Meeting, we will continue to update this blog page with helpful public speaking tips. 

Here is a list of the non-traditional speaking events at this year's fall meeting. Times and locations will be listed as they become available:
  • Pop-Up Sessions - We have expanded the Pop-Ups menu for Year Two. This year there will be three individual sessions. For more information, see the official listing on the AGU Fall Meeting website. Abstract submissions are now closed, but students are welcome to
  • Adventures in the Field (and Disasters in the Lab) - Have a story to share? This short-format session will take place at the Hydrology Student Mixer immediately following the Student and Early Career Scientist Conference (Sunday, 13 Decenber; The Thirsty Bear bar)
  • GilbertClub Pop-Ups - This 90-minutes session is a mainstay at the Perennial Gilbert Club event (Saturday, Decmber 19; Lawrence Hall of Science, UC-Berkeley)
Please add a comment if you know of any events not listed above.