Can you explain your project in one sentence? If not then your explanation is too long. When you have an important mission or project or goal then you want to tell as many people as possible. Everyone you meet regardless of their level of education or background should know what you do or what your project is all about.
When you are doing your PhD then you will be reading lots of papers written for scientists or experts in the field. In general, the more you learn something the harder it is to explain in a way that they will understand it or more importantly feel. You think that your project it more important to the world than it actually is and due being totally absorbed in your work you can’t explain it without going into unnecessary and pain details that they don’t actual give a damn about.
I am very interested in a technique known as chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and I become obsessed about learning as much as I could. So when someone asked me what I did, I would go into details about the technique, deposition and gas handling systems, kinetics and transport models used to explain what’s going on in reactors, laminar flows, turbulent flows, homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions, adsorption and desorption, and various measurements with XPS, Auger spectroscopy, etc. I was so excited and jazzed to be talking about CVD that I almost forgot the original question.
Meanwhile, my friend or colleagues eyes would be glazed over and rolling. I could feel that they were thinking; what the hell is this guy talking about? They were frustrated and bored listening to me talking about details that they didn’t care about for what may have seemed like hours to them.
I had years of experience and read thousands of papers and was trying to explain it in a short session of 5 minutes or less.
Then I started showing them people what CVD is by using examples:
Here is a drill which cuts 1,000 holes in a materials and if I put a thin coating of diamond on the surface with CVD it can drill 10,000 holes. It last longer and performs better. I would get them to put a drill in a CVD reactor, press a button and then remove the drill later with a coating on it.
They saw what CVD does.
They didn’t care about the details they just wanted to see the benefits.
If people ask me what I do now, I say; “At UCLAN We develop nanomaterials or nanosystems that improve people’s health and our environment.”
Even though a lot of thought goes into our projects into developing new nanomaterials and systems for asthma, cancer, solar energy etc we always start with our basic core idea.
So it’s important at the beginning that you show people the benefits of what you are doing so that they are fascinated enough to want to learn more rather than tell them everything all at once and bore them with details.
So what do you want to tell everyone? How can you do it in one simple sentence?
Write down one sentence now and tell everyone.
Can you explain your project in one sentence?