Public speaking for researchers


Communication skills

Target group

PhD researchers of UGent Doctoral Schools

Maximum 15 participants


Hans Van de Water: public speaking mentor, founder of The Floor is Yours and organizer of ‘de Wetenschapsbattle’, a yearly competition where scientists present their research at a primary school and the children vote for the best presentation.


Can you make a broad audience enthusiastic about your research? ‘That will never work, my research is just too complex.’ Researchers often feel that they are simply buried too deep in their research domain to still understandably present it to their audience.

But Einstein once said: ‘If you cannot explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.’ Public speaking will not only help yourself to understand your own research better, it will enable you to get in touch with people outside your field of expertise, get new insights and more support for your research. And above all: it’s fun!

The aim of the course is to learn to present your research in a clear and convincing way to a non-expert audience, and get more impact with your presentation. A non-expert audience can be a group of researchers from other disciplines, possible end users of your research, children, neighbours, family members… 

Learning objectives

* Understand the importance of non-expert communication
* Understand that we need a mind shift on the way we present our research
* Be able to turn a complex research topic into a clear and engaging, well-structured story
* Be able to adjust your presentation to a specific non-expert audience
* Be able to create slides to support and clarify your message
* Be able to use your body and voice effectively to get your message through to the audience
* Be able to involve your audience and interact with them

Time and Venue

No courses planned


  • 1st day: One-day workshop (9:30 – 16:30)

At the start of the workshop, you will present your research to the other participants in exactly one minute, without slides. At the end, you will do it again and get feedback on your performance. You will be amazed to see the difference.
•    Structure: how to structure my presentation?
•    Attention: how to make my presentation appealing to a broad audience?
•    Clear: how to simplify a complex story so that my audience will understand me?
•    Impact: how to reach the desired result with my presentation?
•    Stress: how to deal with it?
•    Interaction: how to involve my audience?
•    Body language and voice: how to use them best to get my message through?
•    Text: how to create clear and attractive slides?
•    Pictures and visuals: where to find them and how to use them?

  • 2nd day: Half-day feedback session

In a small group, you will give a short presentation about your research topic, with slides, putting into practice the tips and tricks from the workshop. We will give feedback to each other and discuss how we can improve our story, slides and performance. 

Teaching methods & material

Interactive workshop, with many group exercises and concrete examples. You will receive the book ‘The flour is yours: learn to present from brainstorm to applause’, written by Hans Van de Water and Toon Verlinden, where you can find useful insights and tips on how to improve your presentations.

Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the Doctoral Schools

Registration procedure




Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

Presence and active participation