Communication

Storytelling for Engineers

Storytelling for Engineers

This week, several of my lab mates are off to a large conference. In my field, conferences almost universally entail a talk of some sort, usually 10 or 15 minutes with Powerpoint slides. For most young presenters, this time limit is a huge challenge, because they are fixated on showing all of the details to validate their results. Their slides are busy, without too much information for anyone to parse in the 60 seconds they have that slide up. Consequently, they rush through a lot of material, leaving their audience unsure of what they just heard. The advice I was given by my first research advisor was to tell a story, focus on what the moral of the story is, and only give the details needed to lead the audience where you want them to go. Some of the best presentations I’ve seen have slides with a single well-designed graph. […]

Weekend Journal — Recovery

I’m on the tail end of a 10 day vacation, the longest I’ve ever taken. If you read my column from last week, you’ll know that it was my delayed honeymoon. I had a blast! I highly recommend Hawaii and as soon as I finish paying off the debts I’ve incurred over the past week, I’m sure I’ll heartily endorse everyone else doing so as well. Anyway, debts aside, I’m interested in talking about something we all experience, whether it be a 10 day excursion on a tropical isle or a 2 day roadtrip to Wisconsin. What do you do when you need to get back to the office? How do you recover from time away from email, project schedules and keeping up with all of those critical updates about your co-workers’ children’s contra-alto clarinet lessons. Either way, how do you catch up? Clear up that inbox, soldier! I think […]