Speaking at events

If you are interested in being a presenter or a panellist at an alumni or CSIRO event please let us know and we’ll keep you in mind if opportunities arise.

If you are speaking at an event and would like to invite other alumni members to attend, we can promote the event through our community. Please let us know all the details and we can list it on our calendar.

Public speaking – getting started

Public speaking can be an important part of your professional life. Many of us feel overwhelmed at the prospect, so we’ve pulled together some resources to help you out.

Getting onto the speaking circuit can be an effective way of building your professional reputation, expanding your networks and attracting collaborators. It can also attract media opportunities down the track, where your work can enjoy an even wider public reach.

If you’re in a research or technical role, you’re probably familiar with delivering presentations at conferences to your peers. But speaking to the wider science community (such as public presentations, panel discussions or pitches) requires quite a different skill set.

Becoming an effective communicator requires knowing your audience and communicating your ideas clearly, while also side-stepping jargon and technical speak.

For example, your audience might include specialists in government and industry who have domain knowledge, but may not necessarily be your peers. Or, they might not even be familiar with your work, but (believe it or not) keen to hear all about it.

You can access a series of videos and other resources developed in conjunction with the Australian Science Media Centre, available at Science Media Savvy.

Hear what Bryan Lessard, Postdoctoral Fellow and science communicator (@BrytheFlyGuy) had to say about his experience:

Like most scientists, I regularly present my research to peers at scientific conferences. But in the last few years I’ve realised how important it is to talk about my research to a wider public audience that might not necessarily be exposed to science. By doing so we can engage the community in science, as well as hopefully inspiring the next generation of Australian scientists.

Bryan says he generally aims to speak at 2-3 public events each year when he can get away from the microscope.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. While I always chatted to friends about my research over dinner, I wasn’t born a natural science communicator. I was so nervous for my first live radio interview during my PhD, but I became more and more confident after every radio interview since.

You can start out small by joining conversations on Twitter and eventually build up to answering that curious email request for a radio interview. Most importantly, be yourself and have fun!

Put yourself out there

The best thing you can do is get out there and participate. If you feel you’re not quite ready, you can take the time to observe and then work your way up to some bigger challenges. You could:

  • start to attend more conferences and events to hear and meet inspiring speakers, like TedX or Pint of Science.
  • offer to deliver a guest lecture or a careers talk at your local university.
  • consider joining up to our STEM Professionals in Schools program to get experience speaking to students in a classroom environment.
  • tee up a talk with an Australian embassy if you are already travelling overseas for work.
  • commit to running a seminar or webinar for your colleagues.