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How To Talk Nerdy: Presentation Tips for Scientists with Melissa Marshall

My guest on this week’s episode has taken on a monumental challenge… Teaching scientists how to effectively communicate the value and impact of their work to the rest of us. Fortunately, Melissa Marshall is uniquely qualified to tackle this challenge. She’s spent 10 years as a communications professor at Penn State University, teaching public speaking and presentation skills, as well as designing new courses for science and engineering students to help them better present their work. She’s delivered a popular  TED Global Talk on the topic, aptly titled, “Talk Nerdy to Me,” that has over two million views–case-in-point that the need for and interest in building a better skillset to engage audiences goes well beyond the community of engineering and science students. Melissa has founded her own consultancy, helping research companies more effectively present their science.

Melissa and I covered a ton of great topics in our conversation, including:

5:45  How Melissa scored one of the toughest speaking gigs in the world

12:42  Behind-the-scenes of prepping for a TED Global Talk

17:38  Irreplaceable value of practice and preparation

21:46  Adding “visual qualities” to our presentations

26:17  Using takeaway messages to re-focus your presentation

37:15  What is the “curse of knowledge” and what’s the cure?

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