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    Scott Herke said:

    I would argue that these 3-min presentation contests are not really about science at all. It is impossible to convey any actual scientific research of substantial scope in 3 minutes with 1 slide… especially in the context of a lay audience. Instead, they are about theatre… with the sole goal of interesting an audience in a line of scientific research through what amounts to an extended ‘sound-bite’. As so ably shown by the post’s author, this goal becomes something attainable… albeit still very challenging. More importantly, watching the video of his presentation clarified for me something about scientific seminars. I’ve given my own and attended many others, with quality ranging from abysmal to excellent; however, I’ve heard few that were truly attention-grabbing. Until now, I couldn’t quite figure out why those few worked so well. I recognized that they managed to convey serious science in a simplified manner and avoided getting into the nitty-gritty details… sticking with the broader picture. However, now I realize that the best presenters also spent the first few minutes of their seminar essentially doing one of these ’3-min sound bites’. By then, they had everyone’s attention and could move on to presenting actual methods, data and conclusions. I don’t expect to ever be on stage giving one of these 3-min presentations… but, this particular point is worth remembering.