we have a summer student seminar series, in which students who are doing summer research give 15-minute talks about their research. These are generally pretty good– our students are, by and large, very good public speakers.
One thing that I always find interesting about this is how many of the students end up sounding just like their advisors. It’s not just the content of the talks– which obviously is approved by the advisor before the talk is given– but also the style. Some students even pick up the mannerisms of their advisors– verbal tics, hand gestures, etc. You see the same thing with graduate students, as well– a lot of graduate students at meeting give talks that sound just like a talk from their boss.
There are two possible explanations for this: It could be that the feedback given during the preparation of the talk pushes the students to adopt the style preferred by their advisor. Or it might be that students and advisors with similar personal styles gravitate toward one another, so faculty tend to end up with students who start out a lot like them, and thus don’t need much pushing to give talks just like their advisor.
I can come up with plural anecdotes to support either of these models– I’ve had students who copied me very closely, and students who just would not change their style, even when it bugged me– but this seems like a reasonable topic to throw out to the audience. So, a poll:
I’ve probably left some options off, too. If your favorite choice isn’t on that list, you know where the comments are.