I recently took part in my university’s postgraduate research conference and attempted to sum up my research on one page for the poster competition:
When you’re starting out in your career writing your CV involves making something out of nothing to stretch it past one side of A4. Then, as the years go by, you have the opposite, a CV the length of War and Piece jam packed full of ‘essential information’. I love the challenge of stripping things back to the real key points and using design to make a real impact. Below is a one page CV I designed for a colleague. I wanted to reflect her love of quirky but classy design.
Three minute thesis competitions are all the rage at the moment at academic conferences. Developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, they go completely against what feels natural for academics, you have to summarise a lot of information in a really short amount of time in a simple way.
I took part in one such competition at the 2013 East Midlands Universities Postgraduate Researchers Conference in September. I had done a poster submission at a conference before but never presented so I thought it would be a good challenge.
Initially I thought I would find it quite easy to condense my pilot study about student expectation and experience in higher education. I’m a professional communicator and regularly preach to colleagues about being concise with little regard for how attached they might be to their subject matter. I now realise it’s not quite as easy when it’s your own work.
All in all I spent about 26 hours to produce and practice my 3 minute presentation! The brief was you had to get across your aims, objectives, methodology, findings and significance and in no more than two static slides. As I am interested in design I wanted to produce something that was quite visually appealing so I did spend rather a long time trying to work out how to condense my two year pilot study into three minutes and make it look good. Getting my script down to 5 minutes was easy enough. Getting it down to 3 minutes was a nightmare!
So, was it worth all that time and effort? Yes and no. It’s great to have something that I can share with people to give them a flavour of what I’m researching but I probably did spend a bit too long on it. It was enjoyable producing the slides and the script but presenting at the conference itself to about two hundred people was very nerve wracking. I didn’t place in the top three (there were ten of us altogether) but I did get some nice feedback from other delegates.
If you have three minutes to spare and you want to hear my presentation over the slides you can view it here: https://vimeo.com/75720996
The two slides are below. For more information on three minute thesis competitions check out the #3MT hash tag on Twitter, or search on YouTube. You can also have a look at the #TweetmyThesis hashtag and give it a go.
Whether you are an academic or a marketer, being able to condense research or your campaign into one tweet and a three minute clip is definitely worth giving a go.
In case you’ve not heard of it already Storify (https://storify.com/) is a website where you can create your own story of an event or meeting through social media updates. Recently, following our AGM at work, I thought I would give it a go to see how user friendly/idiot proof it was to use.
It turns out it is incredibly easy to use. You can search for a twitter handle, specific hash tag or user names in applications such as Facebook and Tumblr. You then have the option of which social media posts you use and in what order. Storify uses a drag and drop system so it couldn’t be easier to tell your story. Here is my version of our AGM: http://storify.com/HRODE_SSSFT/south-staffordshire-and-shropshire-agm-2013
When we come to use it for the leadership conference in November we should have a lot more people engaging via Twitter so it will be great to not only capture the feedback from the day but get other people’s opinions on the content.
This month I was pleased to write a guest blog for the excellent @comms2point0 covering some top tips on visual communication tools: http://www.comms2point0.co.uk/comms2point0/2013/8/6/have-you-overlooked-visual-communications-tools.html