I am building up a 45min interview talk from my 12min conference talk that I gave several months ago. That 12min talk was exceedingly difficult to produce (how the fuck do you compress 4 years of work into 12min!?!?!), but I managed to pull it off and as you may recall, that talk went really friggin' well.
How did I do it? As simply as possible: I laid out the brief intro which centered around the question I was asking and why it was important, along with the hypothesis of course. Then I laid out the data in a logical order that allowed my audience to proceed from Point A (observation that led to the hypothesis) to Point B (conclusion) in as few steps as possible, making no logical leaps, with just enough extra to clarify a few points that required it.
I got a lot of compliments on this talk, including "your work is very elegant." I love elegant. I did not previously aspire to elegance - I thought it was perhaps too lofty a goal for a bumbling grad student. However, I am just delighted to know that some people think I have achieved it.
Now, in expanding this talk to 45min, I am faced with a dilemma regarding the elegance of my conference talk: how do I expand this talk and still retain it's elegance?
In some ways this is easy. The lab I am interviewing at works in a very different system from my own, so there is a LOT of extra introduction that I've put in so that everyone has enough information to understand the logical points of experimentation to follow. I've otherwise maintained the general format: Point A to Point B in as few simple steps as possible.
One suggestion I received after giving a practice talk was to include more data - the idea being that the potential post-doc PI will be impressed with how much stuff I can do/have done. I have more data (to be sure!), but I am not sure that throwing more data into the talk for the sake of impressing them with quantity is the best course of action. I feel like it will throw elegance out the window. I would rather impress with quality. I'm thinking that I'll include some more of my own data as illustrations/proofs of principle in order to flesh out my explanations of experimental procedures, rather than try to go off on too many tangents about "hey look what else I can do!" I don't want people to miss the point.
On the other hand, I do have some very flashy looking data that might fit into the second part of my talk which doesn't yet have elegant conclusions, but focuses on on-going work. While these data do not help the audience arrive at my conclusions elegantly, they do demonstrate that some of the technology I'm developing in my system is applicable to this lab's system. The technology in their system is not really new (it's use there prompted adaptation to my system), but not a lot of people are using it. I'm pretty sure that this lab doesn't currently use it - they haven't published any papers with it yet. However, it's a skill that I have in hand which has already been shown to be effective in their system. Do I show these data as a digression from my own system in my talk? Even though it doesn't add to my own conclusions? It's feels a little like showing off (ugh), but then that's a good thing in an interview right?