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:-).

Armin Laschet Bewerbung 2021

Armin Laschet versus Friedrich Merz: This is where the speakers’ chaff is separated from the wheat.

Armin Laschet was elected chairman of the CDU Germany on January 16, 2021. He prevailed over his main rival Friedrich Merz. From a rhetorical point of view, I’m not surprised for a second. Why? You will find out in this article.

Armin Laschet’s speech was worlds better than that of Friedrich Merz. I suspect that Armin Laschet took a coach for this speech.

How do I compare the two speeches? I could easily list 20 points that struck me as positive in Laschet’s speech. At this point, only a few.

Armin Laschet Friedrich Merz


Really good: Armin Laschet makes a lot of eye contact with the audience behind the camera. Not ideal: Friedrich Merz often looks sideways at those present in the room instead of into the camera.
Both could speak even more freely if they had a teleprompter (or two) installed. That’s how Barak Obama has done it over and over again. Nevertheless, the point goes to Armin Laschet. Especially because he speaks the ending without reading.
He uses his father’s story in underground mining as an analogy for what really matters: Trust. Friedrich Merz needs practically no stories and no analogies. Therefore, no pictures arise in my head. But these would be important. The whole speech is too abstract, too general.
The camera settings are well chosen. In his place, I would have had a word with the picture director beforehand and certainly afterwards. The attitudes were consistently to his detriment: for example, several times we got to see bored party members or those who were doing something other than listening with interest.
Laschet cleverly put the recommendation to vote for him in the mouth of his father (14:08). Quoting Laschet, “He [der Vater] said, “Tell people they can trust you.” That goes down much better than, “Trust me.” He speaks in the “we” form, but I am not with him emotionally.
The conclusion is the highlight of the speech: Armin Laschet stands on the side of the lectern and pulls his father’s dog tag out of his pocket, creating an image for the ages. Moreover, he wonderfully closed the circle to the beginning of the speech. Friedrich Merz always shows himself more or less the same. It does not result in a special photo subject.

Conclusion: You should definitely watch Armin Lascht’s speech. And for comparison, a few minutes of that of Friedrich Merz. Finest visual material.

If you too want to give online and offline speeches that move your audience emotionally, give me a call. I will be happy to support you.

If you want more tips, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Of course, you may also share the post on social media. I would be happy.

I wish you success for your next presentation.

Thomas Skipwith