Take your science, subtract your bullet points and your jargon, divide by relevance, meaning share what’s relevant to the audience, and multiply it by the passion that you have for this incredible work that you’re doing, and that is going to equal incredible interactions that are full of understanding.

– Melissa Marshall

The equation above is TED Talk speaker Melissa Marshall’s method for teaching scientists how to communicate better. She offers simple communication skills that students studying engineering and science need to promote their work. Marshall’s advice works effectively for scientist and presenters alike. Scientist often deliver presentations based on their research but may not realize not everyone in their audience can follow along. Improve your communication skills by following these guidelines by Marshall.

Timely Topics

The first tip Marshall offers to scientists is to explain why your work is relevant. Many people may not understand why all those hours spent in a lab are so important. So, come out and say it. This goes for your presentation as well. Your audience should know before they attend your presentation why it’s timely and important. This begins with your presentation title. Craft a compelling title that intrigues your audience and reveals your topic. Learn how to write the best presentation title with these posts:

The 5 Elements of a Perfect Presentation Title

Types of Presentation Titles to Attract a Larger Audience

Fast Template Tips: Creating a Unique Title

Communication Skills

Simple Language

Part two of Marshall’s communication skills focuses on the language. She says to avoid using jargon and make the message easier to understand for all audiences.  “Making your ideas accessible is not the same as dumbing it down,” Marshall says, “Instead, as Einstein said, make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler. You can clearly communicate your science without compromising the ideas.” Marshall instead says forget the jargon and tell a story to create a connection with your listeners. Presenters need to include this tip in their communication skills.

Simple language will make you sound smarter. Some of the best speeches are written at a 5th grade reading level. Speakers do this to reach a wider audience. Using jargon will lose your audience’s attention and interest. To edit your presentation content with the help of these posts:

Your Presentation Should Be Simple – Not Simplistic

Simplify Your Language to Sound Smarter in Presentations. Here’s Why.

The Complete Guide to Editing Presentation Content

Communication Skills

One Main Idea

One of the most essential communication skills is sticking to one main idea. Overloading an audience with too much information leads to nowhere. Marshall expresses the same frustration we feel when it comes to bullet points. Just don’t use them in your presentation. Instead, use one main idea per slide to ensure your message comes through to your audience. Bullet points kill presentations for every speaker. Check out these better alternative in these posts:

How to Avoid Using Bullet Points

A Simple Alternative to Bullet Points

Why Bullet Points Kill Presentations

Communication Skills

A relevant topic, simple language and clear ideas are all effective elements of an impactful presentation. If you are looking for more ways to improve your communication skills, download our free ebook Signals. This ebook will give you an indepth look at understanding your audience and improving your message. Combine all these resources to become an empower presenter.


Still need more help with your presentation?

We've got the solutions. Talk to Us