Your Conference Persona

Now you are ready to practice your whole conference persona. One way to do this is to imagine that three walls of an empty room represent your audience and the fourth wall the screen behind you. Imagine the three walls are rows of interested scientists. Now tell them your story by explaining your slides to them. Glance only briefly at your slides on the screen behind you. Keep your body, as much as possible, turned toward the audience. Maintain eye contact with your imaginary audience, talk, move, and gesture. Invite yourself to feel comfortable as you tell your story. Last, remember to check your time. You are now forming habits for a lifetime of success as a speaker.

Practice your speech as if you are having a conversation with a friend. Use every technique you can think of to avoid a monotone or a repetitious, rocking rhythm. An audience enjoys hearing warmth in your voice. It is a sign you enjoy science. The audience wants you to like what you do; you want the audience to like what they hear: A perfect fit for success. Your secret is to be loud, clear, enthusiastic, and slow, slow . . . slow - explaining your work as carefully and with as much excitement as you would like other scientists to use when they explain their work to you.

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

- Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene iii

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