Herausforderungen für MINT-Fachleute

What are the 5 biggest challenges for STEM professionals?

Question: What are the 5 biggest challenges for STEM professionals when presenting?*

Answer: It depends :-). It varies from person to person. But what I see over and over again in my training and coaching practice are the following challenges:

Adapt to the audience.

STEM professionals often find it difficult to present in a way that is generally understandable and tailored to the audience. Technical details often do not interest laymen. Therefore, do the grandparent test: If you give your presentation in such a way that even your grandparents understand what it’s about, you’re on the safe side.

Present in a structured way.

Those with training in one of the STEM subjects take a chronological rather than a dramaturgical approach. A clear outline with introduction, main part (body) and conclusion helps the audience to follow the presentation. This outline can also be found in movies, e.g. James Bond. The film starts with an exciting scene, increases the tension in the main part and ends with the resolution.

(In the book“To catch fish, use the right bait” you will learn how to structure a presentation using the Power Presentation Model PPM).

Use visualizations.

It is bad when you hear the sentence: “As you can see here”, but I as a listener can see little or nothing because of the large amount of numbers and/or text.

Complex relationships should be illustrated with graphics, diagrams or examples. It is easy to overwhelm the audience with text and numbers only.

Speak freely.

Many presenters with STEM backgrounds read off their slides. This is boring. Instead, you should speak freely and with eye contact to the audience. Especially online, this is not clear to many. Online, the mnemonic phrase of a colleague from the USA, Terry Brock, is: “Love your lens”.

Pay attention to body language.

An open attitude, gestures and facial expressions help to captivate the audience. Anyone who hides behind his laptop quickly loses the interest of the audience. Use the lectern exclusively as a repository for your notes. Move freely on the stage.


What are your challenges?


Here’s to attractive presentations!


Thomas Skipwith


* STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Book recommendation

Book: To catch fish, use the right baitIn the following book, you will find the tools, systems, and tips that will make you a persuasive speaker. So that you need less time for preparation, present more understandably and with more confidence.

Reto B. Rüegger, Thomas Skipwith: To catch fish, use the right bait. Scoring as a speaker with Power Presentations

If you want support for a speech or presentation, please let me know (+41 41 630 39 90).

If you would like to have tips and tricks regularly by e-mail (in German), then sign up to the Trainingletter – but it’s confidential:-).

Christian Lindner Fdp 2012

Rage speech by Christian Lindner

Christian Lindner Rage SpeechPresent convincingly and engage the audience: Not everyone can do that. Leaders, in particular, should have the communication skills to captivate audiences and, most importantly, convince them of their own words. In the following recording, the German FDP party leader Christian Lindner proves how to make use of rhetorical elements.

Visibly irritated by the interjection of a colleague from the SPD, Lindner reacts energetically. He takes up the words of the heckler again, addresses him, but also his party colleague, the prime minister, directly, repeats many statements, leaves nothing unheard, switches on pauses so that the listeners can digest what has been said. His arguments are particularly convincing when he supplements them with gestures. From minute 1:40, for example, he incessantly raises his right arm and gives the beat with his arm. A fascinating reinforcement of his point.

“There you have one.” and “I’ll tell you one more thing”: phrases he repeats three times, just to score one more point at the end. Definitely word requests to learn from.

You too can use the techniques described. Why not do it at your next presentation?

  1. Speak forcefully.
  2. Repeat sentences that threaten to be lost in the applause or noise or that are particularly important to you. This can also be a useful technique at the beginning of a presentation when some participants in the audience are still talking to each other.
  3. Refer to content that has been mentioned before.
  4. Give the beat with your arm on important statements.

Click here for the video of Christian Lindner. The video lasts only 2:45 minutes. Look at it. It’s worth it.