Top tips for 3MT

We asked previous 3MT participants and judges their top tips for a winning presentation. Here's what they said.

3MT finalists, winners and judges cheering to camera, 2019.
3MT finalists, winners and judges, 2019.

Practice makes perfect

Tips from Scott Pilkington, 2018 and 2019 finalist
"Practice. Practice. Practice. Go to all of the workshops. Sometimes it pays to start with a bit. You have about 10 seconds to hook your audience. Talking about bowel-disease related incontinence? Start with an image of someone running for the toilet. Talking about macular degeneration? Start with an image of someone losing their sight. Talking about volcanic tourism? Start with an image of tourists on the lip of an active vent. Do something to grab their attention. And then practice some more."

Personality, analogy and simplicity

Tips from Georgia Watson, 2018 Masters Winner
"Bring a bit of your personality and humanity into your presentation – let the audience get to know you as a presenter. It helps them connect with you and pay attention to your research.

"Use analogies for technical aspects of your research, and try to avoid acronyms to ensure maximum clarity.

"Keep your slide simple – sometimes a single picture can be the most effective.

"Practice your timing! You get to see the clock when you are giving your presentation, so it’s a good idea to know where in your speech you should be at certain times during your three minutes (when you’re half-way through your time, what are you saying?)

"Don’t be afraid to be a bit dramatic – the Three Minute Thesis is different to presenting a lecture, and a bit of theatrics can help draw the audience into what you are saying.

"Finally, and I know it sounds cheesy, but have fun – the audience picks up on your emotions, and if you are feeling happy and relaxed, so will they."

Tell a story

Tips from Tepora Pukepuke, 2016 finalist
"Run a story line from start to finish, just a thread or a stream of ideas. People love the story, and if you forget your lines you can bounce off the plot line and keep going until you remember your lines."

Practice and passion

Tips from Miriam Siefert, 2017 Doctoral Winner and 2018 judge
"Practice, speak with passion and have fun."