15 tips for giving a good scientific talk

Are you giving a presentation at an upcoming conference, but not sure where to begin? Read on to learn our top 15 tips to help get you on your way, and ensure your next scientific talk is smooth, interesting and a huge success!

Preparing your talk

  1. You are the expert

Remember that you know way more about your subject than anyone else. Be confident!

  1. Never assume knowledge of the audience

Always pitch your talk at a level where you are sure that everyone will understand, whether they’re an expert or not.

  1. Practice!

Prepare your talk well in advance, run through it multiple times and if possible present it to people who know nothing at all about what you work on because they’re the audience you’re trying to capture.

  1. Design is everything

Keep your slides as simple and as clean as possible. Only use animations if they are really needed to accentuate the point that you’re making.

  1. Stick to the allotted time

Generally calculate 1 minute per slide. If you’re giving a 10 minute talk, more than 10 slides is almost certainly too long.

  1. Minimise stress before you give your talk

Get your slides to the AV technicians well in advance of your session, make sure that they are projecting.

  1. Familiarise yourself with the equipment beforehand

Take time to go to the podium, check what button you need to press to change the slides, and what you need to do to use the laser pointer.

During your talk

  1. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact!

No one wants to look at the back of your head or watch you reading the slide.

  1. Use your laser pointer sparingly

Just point out critical pieces of data to illustrate the point that you’re making.

  1. Stay calm

If something’s not working, first just try to calmly do it again and then if you need help, subtly indicate this to the AV technicians.

  1. Be aware of your audience

Look around during your talk, and you’ll be able to tell whether people are with you or not. Don’t be afraid to adapt!

  1. Project excitement!

Don’t be afraid to get wound up in the data. The more passion and the more information that you give, the more likely people are to remember your talk at the end of the day.

  1. Be memorable

Don’t worry if people remember you as the crazy person who waved their arms around! That’s fine as long as you’re communicating your science in a way that everyone can understand put every bit of passion and interest in it that you can.

  1. Take your time to answer questions

When answering questions after your talk, make sure you let the questioner finish their question before you answer. Think about what question they’re actually asking, and answer the question directly.

  1. Be aware of timing

When the sign comes that you need to start wrapping up, don’t go through all of the remaining slides at breakneck speed, but start wrapping up before you’re forced off the stage. Be prepared to skip a few slides to get to the end.

Original video with Julian Rayner from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK, in collaboration with EMBL.

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Excitement! Our annual Facebook advent competition is coming up!

Over the past few years we have been putting a smile on your face and a strain on your brain with our event riddles to set the mood for the upcoming holidays. Now we are ready to roll again so head to our Facebook page and stay tuned for your chance to win one of 5 free registrations* for one of our 2019 conferences.

How it works:

  • Beginning 1 Dec, we post an image/picture/game each day on the EMBLEvents Facebook page
  • You guess which of our 2019 courses or conferences is depicted. For a complete list of events, visit embl.de/events
  • Send your answer to eventadvent@embl.de by midday (CET) the following day, include the solution in the subject line
  • Only one entry per person per day is allowed
  • Winners will be selected from the correct entries randomly in January 2019

And to give you an idea of what you can expect, here are some examples from past competitions for you to practice:

EMBO | EMBL Symposium: New Approaches and Concepts in Microbiology (2015)
EMBO | EMBL Symposium: The Mobile Genome: Genetic and Physiological Impacts of Transposable Elements (2015)
EMBL Conference: Microfluidics 2016
EMBO Practical Course: Humanized Mice in Biomedical Research (2017)
EMBL Course: Shift Your DNA and RNA Sequencing Library Preparation into Hyper-Drive (2018)

Meet the Team – The EMBL Event Survival Kit

The external training programme runs close to 30 conferences and over 60 courses per year, as well as running the EMBL visitor programme. Serving so many scientists mean there are a few things we need to help get us through the year!

Head of External Scientic Training & Head of Course and Conference Office
WHISKEY – To calm the nerves

Jürgen DekaGeoffrey Barnett
Jürgen & Geoff

A blend of German intensity and British stoutness, the Head of External Scientic Training (Jürgen Deka) and the Head of the Course and Conference Office (Geoff Barnett) perfectly complement each other with their dignified and slightly nutty characteristics. With a subtle malty aroma, they are a balanced mix of dryness and spice. Best enjoyed diluted and in small doses, this smooth duo ensures that the external training team consistently performs as a top notch, blended team.

External Scientific Courses & Visitor Programme
VITAMINS – To optimise performance


Yvonne, Elisabeth & Claudia

These essential minerals are vital to keeping our external training programme running and healthy. The 100% natural, maximum-strength team work well together to produce an optimised result, with all carrying out their diverse biochemical functions. Fine to consume on a daily basis, however be sure to do so in small amounts to prevent toxic reactions. They are a convenient cure all for all training related problems, with proven premium-quality side-effects.

Courses Team
CHOCOLATE – To keep up the energy levels


Maryann, Christina & Maria

Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions, chocolate understands. It is always there when you need it. The Courses team are the quality chocolate production line when it comes to running great scientific courses. Rich and satisfying, this delightfully sweet team owes its success to the relentless and uncompromising pursuit of excellence, constantly aiming to please. Although at times bitter sweet, it is easy to become addicted to these premium beings – you are guaranteed to keep coming back for more!

Conferences Team
COFFEE – To stay awake after the conference parties


Tim, Nathalie, Lisa, Lea, Inna & George

The unmistakable aroma of this fragrant team is what makes the conference team unique. Carefully selected, they are roasted to perfection in order to keep you going from conference registration to the closing remarks. According to chemistry, coffee is a solution, and that is certainly true in the case of this earthy yet spicy group. Although there may be some fake, instant coffees out there who are intent on taking shortcuts, at EMBL we have the real thing, and guarantee that we have created the perfect brew for a successful conference.

Marketing Team
CHAMPAGNE – Because who needs an excuse to celebrate?


Julie, Nicola, Krasimira, Carolina & Assol

Focused and bold, the marketing crew make up a very strong team with a truly distinct sparkle of genuine creativity and freshness. Dazzling character that slowly develops along with the organisation of an event, embarking on the endeavours of analysing, proofing, advertising, as well as the subtle capturing of sponsors. Quite youthful, bubbling a myriad number of new and innovative ideas.

Administration
CAKE – To bring some sweetness to the team


Anna & Kathy

The perfect accompaniment to a hard day in the office. Perfect in design, bursting with a broad mix of flavours and characteristics, there is an option for everyone depending on their requirements. Often crisp on the outside but fluffy in the middle, these angelic cakes are devilishly good at what they do. Everyone has their favourite – whether zesty or wholesome, this perfectly presented, irresistible duo help everyone make it through their daily grind!

Welcome to the new EMBL Events Blog!

Why do WE – the EMBL Course and Conference Team – need to blog, you might ask? Great question!

The EMBL Events Team runs one of the most extensive and renowned training programmes for scientists in the world, with over 25 conferences and 60 courses each year, predominantly at our sites in the UK and Germany. We have been training scientists for over 40 years, and are bursting with experience and tips for scientists which we don’t want to keep to ourselves!

Over the coming months we will provide you with how-tos, tips and tricks, videos, checklists, competitions, articles, new e-learning opportunities, and sometimes just something to make you laugh. We aim to provide you with the most up-to-date info on how to best advance your scientific career and expand your knowledge.

We also appreciate and encourage guest blog posts and feedback, so feel free to contact us at marketing@embl.de!

2019 Course and Conference Programme now online!

First up, take a look at what opportunities our course and conference programme has to offer in 2019. Our poster has just been finalised, so download it or visit our website and apply for the training that best suits you!