Brian Krogh

Three Presentation Shifts You Must Make When Transitioning from Academia to Industry

If you present in industry like you're still in academia you're missing the mark.

I often ask industry professionals - "What is the most important communication shift needed to successfully transition from academia to industry?"  

These three things are mentioned most often.

1. The shift from defending to collaborating.

In academia, you present to demonstrate your individual expertise. The goal is to defend your work.

In industry, you do not present to prove how smart you are. They know you're intelligent, that's why they hired you. The goal is to work with others to solve problems for patients.

You no longer work or present alone. When presenting you need to communicate how your research helps your team and other functions solve problems and achieve a goal.

To make this shift, learn about other functions and what they need to do their job well. When you present, talk about how what you do serves the teams around you and use acronyms and language they understand.

2. The shift from satisfying your advisor to satisfying senior leadership.

Your Ph.D. advisor is primarily concerned with how your research holds up to academic scrutiny.

In industry the concerns of Senior Leaders are different.

Senior leaders ask:

- Does this help patients?

- How does this affect revenue and costs?

- What does this do to the timeline?

- Will investors fund this?

- What is the risk to the company and to patients?

These are the concerns you must address when presenting.

To make this shift ask senior leaders what is most helpful to them in a presentation and let their answers determine what content you say about your research and what you do not say.

3. The shift from providing information to advising on decisions.

When you present you often show your research and stop there. This is what you did throughout your schooling. You were graded on the value of the information you presented.

In industry, you do not present to simply give information. You present research and show how it moves projects, decisions, and the company's mission forward.

Senior leaders are busy. They do not have the headspace to take in all of your research, analyze it, and make a decision. They pay you for your analysis of research and more importantly for your perspective on how your research informs important decisions.

To make this shift, routinely provide suggested actions at the end of a talk.  Say, "From my perspective, I'm recommending this as a helpful next step forward." Leadership may not use your suggestion, but they'll be glad you came ready to move the discussion forward.

Not sure how to talk to your team about presenting your company's most important information?

I would love to meet you and provide you with some value whether or not we work together long term. Let’s put something on the calendar.