Engagious Podcast: Melissa Marshall, Curing the Curse of Knowledge


Engagious Podcast - Melissa Marshall

My guest on this week’s episode has taken on a monumental challenge… Teaching scientists how to effectively communicate the value and impact of their work to the rest of us. Fortunately, Melissa Marshall is uniquely qualified to tackle this challenge. She’s spent 10 years as a communications professor at Penn State University, teaching public speaking and presentation skills, as well as designing new courses for science and engineering students to help them better present their work. She’s delivered a popular  TED Global Talk on the topic, aptly titled, “Talk Nerdy to Me,” that has over two million views–case-in-point that the need for and interest in building a better skillset to engage audiences goes well beyond the community of engineering and science students. Melissa has founded her own consultancy, helping research companies more effectively present their science.

Melissa and I covered a ton of great topics in our conversation, including:

5:45  How Melissa scored one of the toughest speaking gigs in the world

12:42  Behind-the-scenes of prepping for a TED Global Talk

17:38  Irreplaceable value of practice and preparation

21:46  Adding “visual qualities” to our presentations

26:17  Using takeaway messages to re-focus your presentation

37:15  What is the “curse of knowledge” and what’s the cure?

If you liked this episode, I also recommend that you check out my conversation with speaker, author and storytelling coach Carla Johnson and her work helping organizations use storytelling to facilitate change.

If you have any comments or suggestions on who would be great for us to talk with in future episodes, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, #BeEngagious.