Presentation Tips

Before the Presentation

Organizing content

  • Make sure the audience walks away understanding the following:
    • The problem and why it is a problem
    • What has been done about the problem
    • What you are doing (or have done) about the problem
    • The value your approach provides
    • Next steps
  • Describe the problem clearly enough for the audience to appreciate the value of your contribution.
  • Present your contribution clearly.
  • Aim your presentation at an audience that is not familiar with your research area so you communicate the importance of your work, rather than simply laying out the results.
  • Provide references and your contact information.

Preparing effective displays

  • Keep it simple so you don't distract from your research.
  • Use at least 24-point type.
  • Do not use a photocopy of a standard printed page as a display.
  • Summarize your main points.
  • Limit your material to eight lines per slide.
  • Limit tables to four rows/columns.
  • Display large tables as graphs.
  • Avoid numerous curves on a graphical display.
  • Label graphs clearly with big, readable type.
  • Use easy-to-read fonts such as Arial.
  • Use light letters (e.g., yellow or white) on a dark background (e.g., dark blue) when displaying your material on an LCD projector.
  • Use equations sparingly and concentrate on what your results mean.
  • Keep a large margin on all sides of your slide.
  • Identify the journal when you give references.
  • Preview your presentation.

Timing your talk

  • Present one slide per minute.
  • Talk at a pace that everybody in the audience can understand.
  • Budget your time to take a minute or two less than your maximum allotment.
  • Practice your talk.

During the Presentation

  • Check to make sure the microphone works before you begin.
  • Be sure everyone in the room can see your material.
  • Don't apologize for your displays (create them properly in the first place).
  • Don't apologize for incomplete results.

After the Presentation

  • Thank the audience for its attention.
  • Gather your materials and move off quickly to allow the next presenter to prepare.
  • Stay for the entire session and, afterward, be available for people to ask you questions.

Key Dates