How to Make the Most of Your Presentation

We often hear comments about convention sessions such as “the presenter just read his/her paper to us,” “the presenter went way over his/her allotted time,” and “there was no opportunity for audience interaction.” The tips below are simple solutions to these common pitfalls.

Prepare in advance. How many times have you suspected that a presenter wrote his/her paper or presentation on the flight to convention? You’re not fooling anyone. Audience members are there for a reason to get something out of your presentation. Please respect them and prepare.

Be yourself. Share your true personality with audience members, and they'll find you relatable.

Know your audience. Tailor your message and delivery for the group you are speaking to. For example, if you're presenting research, facts and figures, along with graphs, might be more appropriate than simply an oral presentation. Consider the different delivery methods (role-playing, interviewing, story-telling, demonstration, etc.) and which suits your content and audience best.

Give value. Base your presentation on two or three main points. Audience members will not remember every little detail. They'll be satisfied if they leave with something they can use. If you have handouts or other materials, be sure each person in your audience receives one.

Visual Aids. Decide if you will be using PowerPoint and create dynamic, concise, and clear slides. Do not simply copy your paper onto slides. Do not read the slides to the audience. PowerPoint should enhance your presentation, not take over your presentation. Here are a couple PowerPoint resources:

Keep to your allotted time. You will be surprised how quickly five minutes can pass. Respect your co-presenters and the audience and do not encroach on other speakers’ time or audience interaction time.

Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse your presentation and ask friends, colleagues, or family for feedback. Practice your presentation using PowerPoint so you are comfortable with the technology.