For Papers/Oral Presentations before the Conference:
- Plan on speaking for 5-12 minutes. (That will allow time for questions.)
- Consider visuals: slides, pics, paper handouts, or white-board drawings. They attract audience interest (and handouts give the audience something to take home). If you use visuals, keep the words brief and simple.
- Make your notes large with plenty of spacing so you can see them easily while you present: e.g., try 14- or 16-point Ariel or Calibri font (easier to read), and try double, triple, or even quadruple spacing.
- Practice several times with or without others listening.
- Time yourself–how many minutes does it take you to read? How many minutes does it take for each major part? Change/delete as needed.
- Make notes on your presentation paper using “stage directions”: e.g., circle or underline words you want to emphasize, or write “SHOW NEXT PIC NOW.”
- Get a decent night’s sleep and have a substantial breakfast.
For Papers/Oral Presentations at the conference:
- Know at least an hour ahead of time exactly where your presentation room is.
- Review your materials an hour or two before your presentation.
- Arrive 10 minutes before your start time. Meet the other presenters and your moderator and decide which presenter will speak first, second, and third.
- If you have electronic files, we recommend bringing them on a flash drive. You will want to load them onto the computer prior to the first presenter.
For Papers/Oral Presentations during your presentation:
- As you present, watch the time and use the time limits you have set for each section. Consider having somebody indicate when you have only a couple minutes remaining.
- If you are presenting a paper, don’t simply read your paper. Present it. Be aware of your audience. Provide eye contact and speak with a natural voice at a relatively slow pace.
- Note that the best speakers start by telling people in a sentence or two what they are going to say. At the end, they provide a synthesis of their remarks, highlighting the major points.
- Use your words and/or your body language to tell people whenever you are switching to your next ssection: e.g., “Here is my first major reason,” “Here is my second…,” etc.
- When you are done, take a deep breath, take a drink of water, and ask if anyone has questions–or say that you will answer questions when every speaker has finished.
For Papers/Oral Presentations after your presentation:
- Don’t feel you should have been perfect.
- Take a deep breath and feel content for having the nerve to present.
- Add it to your résumé in some form:
“[Name of Your Presentation].” Presented April 23/24, 2014 at the Inver Hills Research Conference. Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.