Building Fluency via 4/3/2

1. Choose one of the following to teach/present:

  • Choose a concept/problem/example in your field that you could explain to an undergrad in just a few minutes
  • Choose 2-3 slides from one of your class or conference presentations
  • Choose 2-3 slides from an interesting presentation you find on Slideshare, Slideboom, or Speaker Deck or a few frames from an interesting presentation you find at
  • Choose a brief online article discussing interesting information you might want to tell someone in the future

2. Unless you’re using existing slides or Prezi presentation frames, spend 5-15 minutes outlining the main points/important details you want to mention. (Do not write a transcript!!!)

3. Set the countdown timer below for 4 minutes and give your talk (either to a partner or to an imaginary audience. If you give your talk to an imaginary audience, don’t let yourself start over if you make a mistake! Just continue on—you can correct your mistake when you give your talk in 3 minutes.)

4. Set the timer for 3 minutes and give your talk again.

5. Set the timer for 2 minutes and give your talk again. (Can you sense that this time you were more fluent and more accurate—and you used more complex language—than when you gave your talk the first time?)

Get a Stopwatch like this or make your own! At: Online Stopwatch

(FYI: It’s great if you can do this exercise with three other people, because then you can rotate partners once you have both given a talk to and heard a talk from your current partner. Doing this exercise in a group of 4 allows all of you to give your talk to a new “real audience” every time the amount of time for your talk changes.)


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