Can you explain your research in under 3 minutes without using any technical jargon? Here's your chance to try!
We want to hear how you excite non-scientists about what it is you do! How do you explain your research to a 5-year old, your grandmother, or a random stranger on the street?
Why? Because scientists are well versed in communicating the technical details of their work, but rarely do they receive formal training and feedback on the “science stories” they tell their family and friends.
During the Gong Show presenters are given 3-minutes to explain the impact and importance of their research to an audience equipped with cowbells (gongs) and on the lookout for technical jargon
If you are "gonged": Don't panic! You won't get thrown off stage, you'll just have to stop and explain more clearly.
2. Include relevant statistical facts the audience will want to tell their friends about later (but don't just shout numbers at people)
3. Share your story! What makes you passionate about this work?
4. Lead them through the process of discovery - we knew X but not Y, here's how we addressed that...
5. Don't be afraid to include an element of surprise - we set out to address Y, but were surprised to discover Z...
6. Don't get bogged down in the details - keep it broad! No one outside of your lab/field (yes, probably even other scientists) cares that you work on subunit 343 of protein XKYW
6. REMEMBER: the point of this presentation is to engage the audience - they want to ring those gongs!! Don't be afraid to include a little bit of jargon as long as its in a controlled manner, BUT be prepared to define those terms clearly once you mention them. (If nothing else, this is a good way to make sure your audience is still awake!)
7. PRACTICE! If you're someone who can get up there and wing it, power to you - rock on! But for most of us, non-technical communication is a new skill and takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what works. Share your presentation with non-scientist family and friends and listen to their feedback.
8. No slides allowed, but props are highly encouraged!
Want an example? Watch Gong Show host Frank Santoriello explain his research exploring the hangriest life forms on earth...