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How Do I Talk About My Research?

“No matter how much you know, what you say is as much as the other person understands”

There are many ways to talk about your research depending on the setting, the audience and the context. Here are some common ways you can prepare for different presentations.


Oral Presentation

In an oral presentation, a researcher presents a talk about their research. The goal of an oral research presentation is to communicate the importance, findings, and analysis of the research in a clear and engaging way. Oral research presentations are often used in academic settings, but they can also be given in professional or community settings and may be supplemented with a variety of visual aids, such as slides, handouts, or demonstrations.

Poster Presentation

A poster presentation is a visual display of research findings that is typically presented at academic conferences or professional meetings. Poster presentations are a great way to share your research with a large audience and to engage in one-on-one conversations with other researchers.

Learn more about how to create a poster.

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch of your research is a brief talk (30-45 seconds) about your research.  It’s called an elevator pitch because it takes roughly the amount of time you’d spend riding an elevator with someone. An elevator pitch is useful to have when you run into a friend, a family member, faculty/staff who are not part of your research, or even a potential employer. Think about the big picture of your research, and how your research addresses it. The key to a good elevator pitch is lots of practice and avoiding acronyms and jargon. Here are some examples of elevator pitches.

  • ‘Hi, I am a soil researcher. My research helps identify sagebrush variants that are resilient to drought and can thrive in areas destroyed by fires.’
  • ‘Hi, I’m an applied linguist. In my research, I look at trauma informed approaches that teachers of English can use when teaching adults of refugee background.’

Informal Conversations (with peers, family, and friends)

Random, informal conversations might also bring up your research. Keep in mind the audience, their age and their ability to understand your research. Start with your elevator pitch, and follow up with questions:

  • Does that make sense?
  • I am happy to dig deeper. Would you like to know more?

Listen to your audience’s responses and let that be your cue.