Public Speaking Tips for the Evolving Scientists

Posted on March 13, 2015

Faculty members of the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI, Peter DonovanLeslie Thompson, and Ping Wang recently launched the Workshop Series for the Evolving Scientist, to provide presentation and public speaking guidance and training for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty.Bri McWhorter, the facilitator of the training, has graciously provided us with her quick Public Speaking Tips by using the acronym W.A.V.E which she invented.To learn more about the training make sure to read the recent article in the Ayala Newsletter, Scientists Learn How to Activate to Captivate


1. Before you go on stage you want to Warm-up. In order to be physically present and work out your nerves, you must warm-up your body and voice. This is especially important because your body and voice are your key tools in communication.



2. Next you want to make sure your speech has Actions. What are you trying to do to the audience with this information? Are you trying to thrill them? Intrigue them? Bewilder them? People don’t like to be talked at. They like to be talked to. Give them a reason to be involved. If you are going to share exciting research, you need to present it in an exciting way. The facts alone are not enough. You have to bring the information to life.



3. Third, in order to keep your audience’s interest you must have Vocal Variety. You achieve this by pausing, altering your pitch, changing your speech pace and varying your volume. Don’t give the audience a chance to tune out.



4. Last, it is important to remember that you are trying to create an Experience for your audience. People recall images so tell your audience a story. Bring them on a journey. Have your presentation come to life. Don’t just make people sit through a boring lecture.


No matter what you do during a presentation, try to enjoy yourself. This is an experience for you as well as the audience. It is a much better use of your time if you look forward to sharing your passion for research rather than spend your energy dreading and worrying about an event. I never know exactly how my presentations are going to go. However, as long as I arrive excited to share my message and show others how much I care about communication, I know that I will leave with a sense of pride and accomplishment.