by Rachael Kroot
Published April 25, 2013
Last post I mentioned presenting our group research at MSU’s Severe Storm Symposium. I presented to the conference with one of my group members, Isaac… and I am happy to say that we nailed it!
What made our presentation so successful?
First of all, our topic applied to almost everybody in the room. A lot of speakers were there to discuss very specific research questions on very specific topics. While cutting edge research is always an important part of a conference, our presentation (on color usage in weather maps) applied to a larger audience. Almost all meteorologists use/make weather maps… so the broadcasters and the operational meteorologists all tuned in.
Second of all, we made our presentation interesting and visually appealing. Our topic may have been what drew the viewers’ attention, but it was our delivery that kept it. Isaac and I both threw in a light hearted joke or two (related to the information, of course). If you find something funny in your research, it is okay to mention it when you have a captive audience!
As for the power point itself, we had very little words on each slide. It was almost all images. When there are fewer words on the screen, people have to listen to you in order to get the information. Besides, a screen full of words can look overwhelming and boring. A slide full of colorful maps, on the other hand, is much more attractive and demonstrative! This does require a bit more mental preparation on your part (because you can’t read the slides), but trust me, it makes a huge difference.
After the presentation, Isaac and I got quite a few compliments. One professor said he thought it was the top presentation of the entire conference. A few contacts asked if we could email the information to them. And an employee at the National Weather Service even asked us if we would be interested in additional research.
In the end, it was even more of a success than either of us could have hoped for. This is what being a graduate student is all about!
Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently attending graduate school for broadcast meteorology.