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The Most Winning Quality You Already Have (and How to Use It)
Let's try a quick exercise. Think of everything you've done in your professional life for the last three years—every question you've asked, every problem you've solved, every discovery you've made, every breakthrough you've had. Now explain all of it aloud in a way that's understandable and engaging. You have three minutes, starting now. Go. What's that? You're finding this project a bit difficult? Well I said it was quick, I never said it was easy.
The 42 graduate students who participated in The University of Queensland's 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in Australia last month know just how challenging it can be. 3MT asks candidates for advanced degrees to present their thesis ideas to an audience of non-specialists in 180 seconds. The contest, says the mission statement, "is not an exercise in trivialising or 'dumbing-down' research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystalise their research discoveries."
Videos from the winning presentations are available to watch online for free, and they're inspiring—not only because they offer anyone an opportunity to educate themselves fascinating subjects in three short minutes, but also because they celebrate a grossly under appreciated skill: communicating the ideas we're most passionate about. It doesn't only apply to big presentations or speeches; whether you're in a job interview, on a date, pitching your big idea or just trying to persuade your friend that Revenge is a really good show and she should give it a chance, passion is an attractive quality. If you want a role model for using yours in your favor, just watch Matthew Thompson, a psychology student, who managed to turn "Structure and Features of Complex Visual Stimuli: Assisting Identification in Forensics" into "Suspects, Science, and CSI."
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