Public speaking – Tuesday 15th Sept 

I know, I know, I didn’t post on Frdiday, that’s because I spent the day playing with Powerpoint animations. In the end very worthwhile (and boss approved) but definitely nothing to write about! 

Yesterday I was at a conference in Nottingham, I took a poster but forgot to get a picture of it to show you guys. I also got to catch up with some people, a previous student from our lab and my undergraduate personal tutor who I haven’t seen in years! It was a nightmare getting there as there was major train disruption but overall a really good day of talks. We all stayed in the evening for a “BBQ” and a wine reception before heading home on the train. 

Except I didn’t head home, instead I hopped on a train up to York. I’m skipping day 2 of the conference (and the bosses talk! Don’t worry though I know his work pretty well 😛 ) and going to my first ever event as a speaker! That’s right I arrived in York at 11pm last night as today I gave a talk to a lovely brunch of new PhD students from the Univeristy of Leeds cP3 Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT). After a slight nightmare with my hotel (they had to find me a new one as there was a problem with my room and no others available) I eventually settled down for the night at about 12:30am. 

Today I got up and had a leisurely breakfast in my new hotel. I have to say they were lovely and made a cracking pot of tea 🙂 . After breakfast I spent about an hour finishing up my slides and running through them before checking out and heading to Starbucks for a coffee, a sit down and some wifi. I ran through my slides one final time before heading off to join the cP3 students at the York Railway Museum (which is pretty impressive!) at 12pm. 

After grabbing some lunch we had a quick briefing with Jamie who was leading the event before the afternoon kicked off. I wasn’t the only speaker, there were three of us in total, and I went last. The two other speakers Sadie and Peter both did fantastic jobs and I was able to tie my talk in with theirs quite nicely. Sadie’s also worked with the Brilliant Club (so we both did a little bit of promo for them) and Peter worked in industry before his PhD which I can relate to a little. 


Image credit @cP3CDT
The presentations are going to be available on YouTube soon so I won’t spoil the surprise for you today, but I will let you know when they become available 🙂 . I’m really happy with how my talk went and if I compare it to an induction talk I gave the new intake of Leicester PhD students in October last year I’m really happy with how much I’ve improved as a speaker. Not perfect but definitely getting better 🙂 . After a quick coffee break we then had a discussion session where we (the speakers) facilitated group discussions. My topic was work/life balance and we discussed weekend working, how to know if you’re working too much/too little and also how you can be productive in the week so you don’t need to work weekends. 

After the days events there was a drinks reception where I had the chance to informally chat to some of the students, we talked about lots of different things including how to choose a supervisor. They were all really friendly, interested and seemed to have enjoyed my talk. Hopefully between myself, Sadie and Peter we’ve managed to share a few skills they find useful in their upcoming PhD programme. 

I left just after 7pm to catch my train back home but was once again caught up in some major train disruption (maybe I should give up travelling, bad luck seems to be following me!). After my train was cancelled and the next one was too delayed for me to make my connection I’ve ended up on a slightly round about trip home via Peterborough. Luckily Virgin East Coast have pulled some stellar customer service out of the bag and offered free wifi to everyone on board, so this post is brought to you by Virgin East Coast 🙂 . 

Today’s been really exiciting and different for me. I’ve learnt a lot as well as hopfully sharing some wisdom, a massive thank you goes to Sam (the organiser) for taking a chance and inviting me to speak today. 

One last thing to share – my Master’s student got his results today and he got a distinction (not that I doubted he would) so a huge congratulations goes out to him – Top work Shehzan! 

Until tomorrow everyone, thank you for reading 🙂 

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