Speed Talk, Poster, or Tools Presentation Guidelines

Note:  all presenters will have an opportunity to get peer feedback and prizes will be awarded in each category.

Participants are asked to share their main research interests or work as it relates to climate change and natrual and cultural resources management with the group in either a short speed talk, a poster presentation or a demonstration of a digital or technology/based tool. 

This serves two purposes:

  1. To highlight the good work you do across the CSC network and help your peers connect with you based on your background and expertise.
  2. To give you the opportunity to practice communicating to people from a variety of backgrounds and interests the importance of the work you do and/or the research you conduct by describing concisely why it's important, how you do it, and who will use it.

Targeted Audience: Imagine yourself talking to your peers who, as you know, are from a variety of interdisciplinary backgrounds and won’t need to know technical details about how you conducted your research.   These will not be the usual science conference presentations!  Not only are you presenting to a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, there will be non-scientists in the audience!  To help you “get out of the weeds” on your research, it might help to also imagine your audience also consists of:

  • A reporter who is writing about your work for a newspaper.  You want to make your research appealing to the public- why is it important and valuable to society, what are some out-of-the-box observations you’ve made, what is new/innovative about your work, etc.
  • Your local congress representative who happens to stop by the event and is interested in knowing the kind of work the Climate Science Centers do.  The representative likely does not have a science background. There’s a potential for funding more of what you do!
  • A natural resources manager whose work in planning, restoration, conservation and project management can be informed by your research.  They need to know how they can take your work and apply it.


Choice #1: Speed Talks (3 min talks)

These will be three minutes each.  You’ll have an option of using either three slides, timed to advance after one minute each, or six slides timed to advance after 30 seconds.

BONUS CHALLENGE:  use NO slides. For just three minutes, you’ll want to be very concise and slides can sometimes be a distraction.

We ask that you include:

  1. Why is what you do important and valuable to society?  What is the problem and how are you contributing?
  2. What is one method you use that you would like others to know about, and a major finding?
  3. Who will use this?  What’s next?

This does not leave a lot of time to acknowledge everyone in your lab or funders, or to show complex diagrams or plots.  Don’t fret!  This is not a typical science conference and we want you to tell your story without getting caught in the weeds.

Check out some out of the box presentations and tips for inspiration:



            Tips for the "elevator speech" http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/news/going-elevator-speech

            Shorten your title, abstract, words on a screen or poster:  https://msufoodfix.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/some-succinct-strategies/


Choice #2:  Poster Presentations (3 minutes oral explanations of poster + questions= 10 minutes)

You will have the option to either present an existing poster or a new one. However, please consider the targeted audience described above and tailor your “elevator speech” to describe your work. Content of the poster can be either basic or applied research—but judging criteria will require the three-minute oral explanation to be for a non-scientific community/audience and you must address what implications the research has or could have for the management community.

DIMENTIONS:  Recommended size 36"high x 48" wide (3' x 4') (mounting boards are 5' x4').  We'll provide push pins and/or tape.

Here is a template for posters that helps to structure content to speak across disciplines. It comes from Ben Young Landis (former communicator for USGS). https://younglandis.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/younglandis-conf-poster-layout.jpg   **Note the project snapshot-- this allows folks to take a photo of the key title/author of a poster (even QR code) to follow up after the workshop/conference.

Here's a fun and informative blog post he did on communicating beyond academia: https://younglandis.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/translating-research-beyond-academia-be-your-own-quartermaster/

Check out the Early Career Climate Forum blog, The Do's and Dont's of Making a Poster

And one of our CSC’s-produced favorites: https://csc.alaska.edu/sites/default/files/Timm.K.Glacier-System-Poster-2014.pdf

Shorten your title, abstract, words on a screen or poster:  https://msufoodfix.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/some-succinct-strategies/


Choice #3: Tool Presentation/Demonstration (3 min talks, + demonstration + questions = 10 minutes)

This will take place at the same time as the poster session on Wednesday November 2 from 5:30-6:30pm  in which presenters with a digital or technology-based tool gives a brief demonstration and share the ins and outs of what went into producing it.  We will have monitors or screens set up in a room so the presenter can give a brief overview of the tool and we'll ask presenters to answer questions such as: Was it co-produced? Did you face any unplanned challenges in its creation ? How was it presented to the end users?   Specific guidelines are:

  • You will be presenting  during the poster session, of which you will need to prepare a 3-minute discussion of the scope of your work while you demonstrate the tool and then answer questions for five minutes.
  • The brief presentation overview of your work should be presented as if you were giving a speed talk or presenting a poster to a resource manager (rather than a fellow climate scientist - see target audience description above). In your overview, you should address the why (why was it developed?), who (who is it for?), what (what does it do?), how (how was it developed?) and so what (why is this important?).
  • After your presentation, there will be a 5-minute question/answer time period in which you should be prepared to address challenges (technology, communication, funding, etc?) you encountered in the development of your work and to answer questions posed by the audience. 

Be prepared to set up your demonstration station just prior to the poster session. You should bring a laptop to attach to the provided monitor to showcase your presentation and your technology.

Your demonstration station will consist of a monitor to connect to your laptop, and an optional poster board w/ easel if you wish to create a poster (or sign) to accompany your demo.  You will also have some table space and a chair at your station. Regarding your laptop, we will provide a monitor, wi-fi connection, power source and the basic cables necessary to connect your laptop to the monitor (please bring any adaptors you may need to connect to external monitors -e.g. Thunderbolt, Mini-Display Port, etc.).  Useable space on the optional poster board is a maximum of 3” x 4”.

Possible questions following the presentations on tools:

  1. Was this a stakeholder-requested tool? If so, were they involved in the design of this product?
  2. What were the main challenges in the development of your product? technological? communication? funding?
  3. Did you do any usability testing of your tools/website/program? If so, what did you learn from these?
  4. Did you make any modifications of your site to increase basic user understanding of the climate concepts or your tool's processing methods? If so, how?
  5. How many users do you think you currently have for your site? Do you have a way to keep track of your users, feedback or errors users experience on your site? What do you do with this information?
  6.  Did your site receive any special awards or media attention? Did you learn anything from these experiences?

Shorten your title, abstract, words on a screen or poster:  https://msufoodfix.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/some-succinct-strategies/

Submit your abstract here >>