A guide to writing your staff directory presentation

Here are some suggestions to how you can write a good presentation.

Make a good first impression through your presentation

Use the presentation as a way of making a good first impression to visitors. Some of them may know who you are and what you do, but not everyone. Visitors to the personal pages are members of the general public, work at other universities, at our own university or come from other parts of the world.

Try to keep the presentation shorter than 2,500 characters including spaces

The discussion can be endless as to what is the appropriate length of a text. But there are several examples on digital media where they have analysed its visitor behaviour and concluded that 2,500 is the breaking point where many begin to lose interest. If you find that you are able to say everything of importance in 700 characters, then you should certainly do so.

Write your long presentation by using the "I" form

To give visitors a consistent experience when they go into different people's pages in the staff directory, we recommend that you write your presentation in the first person singular form, that is "I".

5 questions to guide you

See if these five questions may help you to write or edit your presentation.

Imagine that you will be interviewed and are asked the following five questions. If you do not have a teaching or research position it may be good enough to begin with question 1 and choose one or more of the other questions that you can apply to your role and your duties. Question 5 is most likely only relevant to teaching and resesarching staff.

1: Hi [your name], What do you do at Umeå University? (Max 200 characters)

Make sure to include your title, your subject area and maybe some important assignments/projects or responsibilities. But don't be long-winded. Assume that the reader has no use in knowing all the committees and working groups you are involved in. Imagine that you are introducing yourself to a new person at a conference or mingling event.

2: Briefly describe your subject area, what you are an expert on. (Max 500 characters including spaces, preferably shorter.)

Here you can write a few words about what your research is about or what makes you stand out. The challenging part is to do so in a few words and still make the topic understandable to a layperson, while at the same time also give a research colleague an idea about what specific research problems you are working on. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible. Think about what keywords would be good to include, as they can be of great help.

3: What are you working on now and for the foreseeable future? (Max 500 characters including spaces, preferably shorter.)

Here you can highlight those research projects, courses, or other things you're involved in. Do not add text unnecessarily but rather link to pages where the activity is described in detail. Instead of describing the project's co-sponsors and full project title, please tell us a few words about what your work is aimed at, what you hope to achieve.

4. Is there anything else one should know about you based on your professional role? (Max 500 characters including spaces, preferably shorter.)

Do you have a project that is close to your heart, something that feels important and enjoyable for you in your professional role? Or a prestigious assignment that you want to highlight? Things like that fit well here. One suggestion might be to look at how you answered the first three questions, think about what impression you give and how you can complement it.

5. Finally: Can you briefly describe your academic career so far? (Max 500 characters including spaces, preferably shorter.)

Here you can tell us what year you defended your doctoral thesis, previous employers, affiliations and the like.

Once you have answered the questions, within the character limit, simply insert the answers to the text field. With a little luck, you will now have a presentation that provides an easily accessible and well-rounded image of you as a member of Umeå University.

The approach with the five questions is simply a proposal on how you can prepare your own presentation text or help a colleague to edit theirs.

Ulrika Bergfors
3/26/2020