At the annual National Postdoctoral Association conference (April 15-16 online), we produced the session Training Postdocs About Chalk Talks to Improve Science Communication and Job Interviews.
Communicating your expertise clearly to a public and technical audience is a critical skill for PhD trainees to develop. Specifically for postdocs, "chalk talk" style presentations of your research accomplishments and future directions are an expectation of some faculty job interviews at research universities. Such oral presentations using only a whiteboard or paper flip chart can last from 5 minutes to an hour directed to either just the search committee or to a public seminar audience. However, there is limited training materials about this skill so attend this session to learn about the practice and to discuss developing workshops for your own institution. Mastering short pitch presentations will also serve in other situations such as networking at conferences (e.g., elevator pitches) or soliciting resources in the private sector (e.g., pitch competitions). Finally, we introduce the latest innovation in chalk talk expectations -- oral presentations about your accomplishments described in faculty job application diversity statements.
Note: slides and recap article are pending.
Resource list found below.
Stacey Glasgow, PhD
Assistant Professor; University of California, San Diego
Includes example chalk talk videos
"Good" Sample Experimental Design Chalk Talk (2017) YouTube (7 min)
Your Chalk Talk Questions Answered, NeurOnline (14 min)
Quali Chalk Talk Sessions - The Sandbox Lifecycle (2016) YouTube (5 min)
How to Give a Job Talk, and Why It’s Not the Same as a Research Talk (2014) YouTube (1 hour)
Preparing and Delivering an Effective Chalk Talk (2018) YouTube (30 min)
Gladstone Institutes: Preparing a Chalk Talk for a Faculty Position, YouTube (1.5 hours)
Demystifying the Academic Chalk Talk, NeurOnline (1 hour)
Articles & reports
Burroughs Wellcome Fund guide: Communicating Science Giving Talks
EMBL (2015) How to give a good scientific talk, YouTube
JHMI: Giving a Chalk Talk, Professional Development & Career Office
Martin KC (2017) Tips for Young Scientists on the Junior Faculty/Independent Investigator Job Search, Neuron
Muthuirulan (2016) Keep Your Audience Engaged for a Successful Scientific Talk, NIH NICHD Connection
Rowland (2016) Preparing your academic chalk talk, ASCB Careers, Emerging Voices
Strassmann JE (2016) Chalk talks: how to avoid 10 pitfalls, Sociobiology