Well, I’m a bit more confident about this talk now, thanks to some extremely useful feedback from two of my rather wonderful colleagues. I’m still rather inexperienced at giving talks (whether public or otherwise). It’s excellent experience though, especially at my level. Besides, communication and outreach are fun, especially in astronomical subjects!

It’s especially good getting feedback on things before I talk about them (and that goes for any talk). It’s easy to forget that something which is basic knowledge for you might not necessarily be basic knowledge for everyone else. On the other hand, it’s easy to accidentally come across as being condescending. And I’m not. I’m really not. But when it’s pointed out, I can see how certain things could be misconstrued. As with so many things in life, it’s a careful balancing act.

So, in short, the take home points for me to remember on this (and probably any other talk I ever give) are:

  • Remember to talk about contexts
  • Try and keep a good narrative running
  • Remember to be human
  • Explain things as fully as necessary
  • Don’t forget to summarise things
  • Talk about what’s going on now (as well as past and future)
  • Be incredibly careful not to patronise!

I’m confident about this now. There’s more to polish off, but I think it’s looking good. Now… Time to turn my attention back to that paper I’m in the midst of writing…

With apologies to Jorge Cham and PHD Comics

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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