Speed dating for researchers

On Tuesday 19 September, 32 members of the Flinders research community took part in the first University-wide Speed Dating for Researchers event. This innovative and fun event gave researchers—at various stages in their careers and from all Colleges—an opportunity to develop and hone their research pitch. They then practiced their pitch on others and received feedback from their partners whilst meeting other researchers from across the University.

Karen Ashford presenting

Karen Ashford, Director of Media and Communications, kicked off the session with an engaging “how to pitch” workshop. She provided the room with plenty of tips to develop a clear and concise research pitch.

Eager to put their new skills into practice, the attendees began the speed-dating component of the session by rotating in pairs over multiple timed rounds. The room was abuzz with conversation, providing a welcoming environment for everyone to share openly.

Between rounds, Karen Ashford and Professor Briony Forbes, Deputy Director (Research Education and Development) from the College of Medicine and Public Health, guided the attendees through some reflections. Everyone gave and received instant feedback which helped them refine their pitch and see it evolve as they moved from pair to pair.

Some of the key insights from the attendees included:

  • The importance of sparking initial interest in your partner and keeping your audience intrigued with limited time.
  • How crucial it is to understand who your audience is and what they are interested in so that you can tailor your pitch to them.
  • Maintaining human connection and finding relatable ground to keep the interaction authentic.
  • Reading your partners’ cues to understand which parts of your pitch are the most impactful.

Despite feeling out of their comfort zone and using skills that don’t come naturally, the session was a useful tool to practice with like-minded people. More tenured researchers also felt that the session was a great refresher to refine their research pitch even at an advanced career stage.

The session closed with some time to network over morning tea where participants continued their conversations and explored potential collaborations.

If you are interested in attending our research information and training sessions, you can visit the Research iEnrol page here or email the Researcher Training, Development and Communication team at researcherpd.rds@flinders.edu.au.


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