Course for young researchers: learn how to leave an impression while presenting yourself and your story
Presenting requires empathy, knowing the essence of your story and being able to put it into words. And, of course, a healthy dose of self-awareness and self-confidence. This forms the base for the presentation-training course for young researchers organized by the Centre for Professional Learning. Jaco Trefson, PhD Student at LUMC, discusses his experiences. ‘I wanted to learn how to make sure my message is being heard by my audience.’
Jaco Trefson is in the third year of his PhD track at the LUMC. His research focusses on patient safety in the hospital’s nursing wards. As part of his research, he comes into contact with a lot of different people: patients, nurses, managers, and other scientists. Treson: ‘Where does a presentation begin and where does it end? For my PhD, I’m constantly explaining what my research topic is and why. In the completion stage of my PhD, I’ll mostly be busy writing about my research and spreading awareness. This is why I’ve chosen to follow the presentation training now. I wanted to learn how to better get my message across to my audience.’
As part of their PhD track, young researchers at Leiden University can choose from a wide variety of courses. The presentation training course is one of them.
Audience, Speaker and Key Message
The presentation training course is spread out over four afternoons. Prior to the start of the course, each participant undergoes an intake interview. During which you discuss your expectations and goals for the training. Starting point for each session are the challenges the participants come across in their daily work while presenting their research.
Trefson: ‘During the training sessions, we worked with the ASK model, that puts an emphasis on three aspects: Audience, Speaker, and Key Message. Based on these three aspects, you’re also given homework.’ Examples of topics that are addressed during the training are: Who is sitting in front of you, what are their concerns and interests and what would you like them to do? How do you remain part of your own story, what motivates you, where is your pride and knowledge? You also learn about the importance of knowing what you want to talk about and why. This way, you can leave an impression while presenting in front of a specific audience with a specific target in mind.
Learning to swim in discomfort
Telling a story from different perspectives can be difficult. Which is why the teachers of the course believe it is important to step out of your comfort zone. You will practice a lot of new behaviours and are continuously provided with feedback by reflecting on the effects of these behaviours. ‘A lot of assignments are in duos,’ says Trefson. ‘You’re presenting in front of each other. You’re really telling a story, the threshold for holding a presentation is set really low. Some people think of some kind of show, something big and scary, when they think of presenting, but you can also think of it as telling a story to someone. And whether that is one-on-one or in front of a hundred people, that doesn’t really matter. That is the main focus of the course.’
Participants learn how the tell a story in a structured way and how it feels to be in front of a group. ‘It’s a bit like learning to swim in discomfort and how experiencing that isn’t necessarily bad. Eventually, it will enable you to let go of the script while still remaining in charge of the direction your story is heading in. ‘You learn how not to focus on the things you believe aren’t going as planned or your discomfort but mainly focus on your story. I now have the sense that I have this toolbox of techniques to improve my presentations. And I’m happy to be able to take those along into the future.’
Would you like to be able to present with confidence? Make sure you are able to get your message across while at the same time maintaining an open connection with your audience? Why not enrol in one of our presentation training courses for professionals on 1 and 8 June? More information can be found on the website.