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Elements of successful presentations

What does it take to win 3MT®? 

First, understand the two official judging criteria because this is how your Mizzou 3MT® presentation will be scored by the judges.

Strategy: When you practice your presentation in front of family, friends, faculty or research colleagues, give them a copy of the judging criteria. Ask them to rate your presentation. They should be able to respond to every question with a "yes." Of utmost importance: Your ability to explain your research without technical terms and jargon. 

Second, your slide must be engaging. It should enhance, not detract, from your educational message. Images should be top quality.  

Strategy: Review this quick presentation on Effective Slide Design for composition ideas. Ask your mentor, colleagues and family to critique your slide. Do they respond favorably to the image(s)? Is any part of the slide confusing or difficult to see? Do they believe your slide enhances your public education message?

Third, in a 3MT® competition, what you say will be important, but how you deliver your message will be the key to winning.  

Strategy: Critique several research-related presentations designed for public audiences.  Identify what makes certain public speakers more effective than others, then practice those skills. As you watch and listen, ask these questions:

  • Note: At the start, what did the speaker say and do to immediately capture the audience's attention?
  • Listen: How did the speaker's tone, volume and tempo help sustain audience interest? 
  • Observe: How did the speaker use eye contact, hand gestures and/or body movement to emphasize points?
  • Evaluate: Did the presenter avoid jargon and explain technical terms?
  • Assess: How did the speaker make the research both meaningful and memorable for the audience?   

Helpful Handouts and PowerPoints on 3MT®

Simon Clews from University of Melbourne: Making the most of your three minutes.

Danielle Fisher from UCSD 10 Hints for Improving Presentations for the Three Minute Thesis Competition

Dr. Inger Mewburn from ANU: "How to win the 3 minute thesis

UQ GradSchool: 3MT Student Handbook see pp. 9 & 10 

Flinders University: Hot tips for students 

Dr. Robin G Walker from University of Missouri Effective Slide Design

Storytelling Skills:
A Path to 3MT Success!

In 2015, our First Place winner and People's Choice winner both participated in our storytelling training.

Plan to enroll in one of our storytelling sessions this year!

Taught by Dr. Milbre Burch.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

See the Mizzou 3MT® events page for practice sessions. We will provide a critique of your slide and presentation. 

Learn by Critiquing Others

Make a copy of the scoring criteria. Assess these 3MT® presentations through a judge's eyes.

  1. Nellie Linander: Visually guided obstacle avoidance in flying insects on Vimeo
  2. Sarah Marley: Say What? Coastal dolphins and noisy environments on YouTube
  3. Benjamin Dean - Building Brain Asymmetry on YouTube

TED Talks

Watch how Ted speakers engage the audience with storytelling skills: voice inflection, gestures and body language. You only need to watch their first minute of a video to see these skills in action.

Find links to Ted videos.