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Q: How do you present 5,000+ words in 8-10 minutes?

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

A: You Don't.

When researchers present their work, they are usually given an impossible task of too much to say without being given enough time to say it. And frankly, even if you were given enough time, an audience couldn't passively process the amount of information needed to understand the depth and breadth of even a single journal article seated in a chair listening to you talk.

Luckily the answer is easy:

Change the assignment

Stop thinking about your goal as sharing your research

Start thinking about your goal as making people curious enough to learn more.

Make this switch and you'll realize you no longer need to present all of your work (or even a journal article worth of work). All you need to now present is a highlight. I encourage people think about presentations done this way as the start of a conversation. The goal is no longer to paint the entire picture, it's just to paint enough so that people can decide if they want to learn more.

Here's one way to do that.

Build from the inside out

Start with a result or discussion point that you want to share and think will be of interest for your audience. And then start building your presentation from there.

What background do they need to know for this to make sense?

What methodology will help develop trust and credibility?

What can I suggest they do from here to learn more?

Here's a form you can use to go from journal article on the left to presentation on the right.

And here's the fillable downloadable version (might as well make it easy!)

Download PDF • 100KB

The following video excerpt is from a class I teach walking researchers through this exact process. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.

From Journal Article to Presentation (9 minutes)

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