Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Bérengère Digard

Bérengère was a finalist in the 2019 competition

Do you have any top tips for preparing for the competition?  

Tip 1: Focus on the bigger picture! It’s not about the analysis or the data, it’s about why this research matters, and what answering this question could mean for people.

Tip 2: Sharing is caring! You want to share this research because you care about it. If your research question comes from indignation, sadness, or curiosity and surprise, if your findings could (maybe) make the world a better place, let all of this shine through. Bring your enthusiasm to the presentation!

 

How has 3 Minute Thesis benefited you?  

During the PhD, taking part in the competition allowed me to take a step back from the day-to-day work to instead remind myself of why this research mattered, and why I was passionate about my project. It was a wonderful boost of motivation! In terms of presentation skills, I have never learned as much as when doing the 3MT! I still remind myself of the slide design and speaking advice I got during the competition training, and I also share these tips with my students.

 

What was the most challenging thing about 3MT?  

Striking the most optimal balance between “pause for drama” and “not having a single second to waste”. These 180 seconds fly by, and each of them has to be used meaningfully. Still, the pace is critical to a good delivery, and often you can convey a message more powerfully by slowing down and even pausing for a second or two. You might have a tendency to shorten your pause to avoid wasting precious time, but then it might not feel like the meaningful pause you intended! Once you figure out the correct pace, preparing the presentation is almost like learning a song.

 

How have you used the skills gained in the competition?  

As a researcher passionate about science communication and doing a lot of teaching, I use the skills I gained through the 3MT every day! When writing the talk, I learned how to distillate the information down to its essence (as appropriate for the target audience), which is something I still do for each outreach project I run. I learned how to design sleek slides and how to create emotions in the audience, which I use when teaching (it helps the students remember!)

 

Why would you recommend 3MT to other doctoral students?  

Taking part in the 3MT is still one of my favourite experiences from the PhD. It reconnected me to my research, and I learned extremely useful skills, but beyond this, I also met wonderful PhD students in my cohort. I was expecting an atmosphere of competition between us, but instead, we were all so supportive of each other!