Saturday, May 14, 2016

The art of communication

One thing that I really appreciated about the communication component of this class was that each module had different assignments and with each one, I felt as though I progressing towards better communication skills.  For module 1, there was little pressure to get the elevator pitch right on the first try since we could film ourselves as many times as we wanted.  Although it was awkward talking to my self out loud in front of my webcam in my room, I didn't feel the same nerves as I would have if I was standing in a room in front of people.  The elevator pitch taught me how to distill what I had done in lab for over a month into just a mere three minutes.  In addition, it taught me to make my research understandable to someone with a general science background.

For module 2, the stakes were higher.  I was in a small room full of people, giving a presentation about a recent research article about a NHEJ mechanism.  Unlike Mod 1, where I could start over everytime I jumbled over my words, for the Journal club presentation there was only one chance.  The most frustrating thing about practicing for the Journal club presentation was that everytime I would jumble over my words, I would want to start over to the beginning again.  The result was me practicing the beginning 5 slides over 10 times and never actually getting to the last few slides.  Also unlike the elevator pitch, for this presentation, we needed to incorporate a Powerpoint.  And the scariest difference from the Mod 1 presentation?  It was the fact that people were going to ask me questions after.  There's always a fear that I won't be able to answer a question and I will just stand in front of the room saying, "Uh......"  But the reality is is that after reading my paper, making the Powerpoint, and writing some form of a script, I knew more about the paper I read than I thought I did.  The journal club presentation went well, even with the few times I accidentally clicked the button to shut off the presentation instead of the button to go to the next slide.

For module 3, the research proposal presentation required the most work.  At this point, we were pretty well-versed in making powerpoints and giving presentations.  After a lot of research to know what kind of project was innovative and feasible, the hardest part about this presentation was figuring out what to include in our presentation and making the progression of the slides clear and logical.  To do this, the BE Communication Lab was very helpful in helping us make sure our slides were not too cluttered and sent the message that we wanted to.

After all these different forms of scientific communication, I can say that while I will still be nervous while giving a presentation, I will no longer be daunted by the idea of having to give a presentation.  After all, I am proud of the work that I have done in this class and I should be proud to tell other people about it.

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