ASSIST Workshop on Communication

On November 8, 2019, a team of University Communication experts, Mick Kulikowski and D’Lyn Ford, facilitated a workshop for ASSIST students and faculty on “how to communicate your workshop to a non-technical audience.”

This workshop is part of the ASSIST TESP program. TESP is a series of workshops to better prepare our students for the workforce. We thrive to give our students the necessary tools for their future careers. Consequently, good public speaking skills are essential to help translate complicated research to a non-science audience. This workshop was especially important considering the upcoming Year 8 Industry Meeting. During the poster presentation students will mingle with business professionals.

“Flipping the Paper”

Mick and D’Lyn suggest starting reporting on the results first. They refer to this as “flipping the paper” forces you to meet people at their level of understanding and give them context as to why your findings are significant.

Most importantly they challenged the audience to think about what they want to happen as the result of one’s presentation. “What do you want the audience to do with your knowledge? Maybe you are looking for someone to invest in your company, or simply get approached by someone to get involved in your research,” said Mick. They advise beginning with the end result in mind to demonstrate future applications of your research and get people to support your ideas.

Think of the audience and what you want to happen after the presentation.


Final Takeaways

Finally, Mick and D’Lyn stressed one basic rule: Make sure that you have a couple of basic things (no more than one to two) that you want the audience to take away. Emphasize these things at the beginning and the end of your presentation/talk. Thinking of the phrase “If you heard nothing else today, here are the X things I want you to understand,” can help you draft your talking points.

A recording of the workshop can be found on the student and faculty intranet.