Four Steps for Preparing Your Submission for Grad Slam by 2/17/2020 Published: January 14, 2020 By: Ashvini Malshe Win cash prizes and state-wide recognition while you take your professional development to the next level! Grad Slam is a campuswide competition where you present your original research to a large audience for the chance to win cash prizes. This year’s event takes place on April 1, and the deadline to submit your pitch is February 17, 2020 (11:59 p.m. PST). Are you wondering how to create a compelling pitch? GradPro is holding a series of workshops to help you develop and prepare your speech and your video submission. If you can’t make it to the workshops, read on for four steps you can take to develop your pitch. Step 1: Watch videos from previous years Read the Grad Slam website thoroughly to make sure you understand the rules. Then, watch previous Grad Slam videos, both from the UC Berkeley campus competition and the UC systemwide competition (from disciplines as varied as physics, philosophy, and architecture). Analyze the content and structure of several talks; choose some that are from your own discipline, and some from unrelated fields. Attend the Workshop: “Grad Slam Info Session and Brainstorming”: Wednesday, January 22, 4-5 pm, 309 Sproul Hall Step 2: Figure out what’s exciting about your research Within any research project, there are many compelling stories to tell. A successful Grad Slam talk tells a single, clear, engaging narrative from start to finish. This could mean telling the story of why your research is exciting to you or important to your field; it could mean connecting your research to ideas or experiences familiar to the general public; it could mean explaining why your research is urgent and impactful. Read the disciplinary resources at the Grad Slam website for more. Attend the Workshop: “How to Tell a Compelling Story About Your Research”: Friday, January 24, 12–1 pm, 309 Sproul Hall Step 3: Learn your talk and practice presentation skills As Joe Charbonnet, the 2018 UC Berkeley champion who also took home first place at the UC systemwide competition, put it, public speaking is “a psychomotor skill, not an innate talent.” Take some time to learn tips and techniques that can make you a better speaker. Then, practice and get lots of feedback! View the presentation resources at the Grad Slam website, attend a session of Toast of Berkeley (a Toastmasters public speaking club), or recruit a friend to be your sounding board. Get inspired and watch these talks: TED Talks: Short talks on “ideas worth spreading.” Popular playlists and talks include: “How Language Changes Over Time,” “Fascinating History,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story”; Jill Bolte Taylor, “My Stroke of Insight”; Hans Rosling, “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen.” Ph.D. Comics Two-Minute Thesis: Ph.D. Comics challenged graduate students to explain their work in two minutes – the best have been turned into videos! Three-Minute Thesis Showcase: Winning three-minute thesis presentations from around the world. Stanford University BiblioTech: Three-minute dissertation pitches by humanities graduate students. Attend the Workshop: “Grad Slam Info Session and Brainstorming”: Wednesday, January 29, 12-1 pm, 309 Sproul Hall. This workshop will be hosted by the Social Science Matrix. Please check the Grad Slam website soon for more info. Step 4: Memorize and record your talk You can film your Grad Slam video submission using a phone camera or any other setup you’d prefer. Remember to keep it under three minutes – the best way to ensure that you stay under the time limit is to memorize your talk and practice, practice, practice! See our public speaking resources at the Grad Slam website. Attend Recording and Coaching Sessions: Nervous about recording your talk? Attend a GradPro recording session and we’ll take care of the filming — you can record as many times as you want during your 30-minute session. Coaches will also be on hand to provide live feedback. Please check the Grad Slam website soon for more info about signing up for these sessions. The deadline for video submissions is February 17, 2020, 11:59 pm (PST). Ashvini Malshe is a graduate student in Journalism at UC Berkeley, and a Professional Development Liaison with the Graduate Division.