Oral Presentation Information
An oral presentation is meant to showcase your work and tell the story. For consistency and convenience, presentation templates are available through the University Marketing team, but we also encourage you to be creative.
Consider these points as you prepare for your presentation:
Preparing Accordion Closed
Dress professionally. For the Virtual Symposium, business casual (nice slacks or a skirt, a button-down shirt or blouse) will help you look and feel professional.
Become comfortable with your topic!
Timing Accordion Closed
Find out how long your talk should be and stick to it. Practice giving the talk and make appropriate edits if you go over time. It is always fine to end a bit early – then your audience has time to ask questions. In general, plan on about 1 minute per PowerPoint slide plus time for questions.
Audience Accordion Closed
It is important to keep the audience in mind when preparing your oral presentation. Will you be speaking to a general audience or to specialists in your field? Especially when speaking to a general audience, be aware of your use of jargon and acronyms. Define specific terms as needed.
Content Accordion Closed
What are the points you want to convey? What is the main point you want audience members to remember about your talk the following day? What is significant about your project? What is most interesting or surprising?
Organization Accordion Closed
Be judicious about the amount of information you include. At the minimum, your talk should (1) introduce you; (2) present your research question and why it matters; (3) describe how you conducted your project; (4) explain what you found out and what it means; and (5) conclude with a summary of your main points and acknowledgements.
PowerPoint, graphics, or other displays Accordion Closed
These tools should emphasize important points and help your audience follow your argument. Make sure your font size and all graphical displays are large enough to be easily read from a distance. Limit the amount of text on each slide; one “rule of thumb” is no more than 6 words across and 6 lines of text.
If you’re using PowerPoint, test it using the on-site technology set-up ahead of time, if at all possible. DO be prepared to give your talk even if technology fails (so bring a printout of your slides to speak from, in case disaster strikes).
Practice Accordion Closed
Practice – practice – practice speaking slowly, clearly, and loudly enough to be heard over typical audience (e.g., coughing, shifting in chairs, turning pages in a program) and room (e.g., air conditioning, hallway talk, opening/closing doors) noises.
- Avoid reading your talk – or your PowerPoint slides
- Do look at individual audience members
- Pause when you take a breath (you’ll think better)
- Don’t agonize over mistakes or say you’re sorry
- Pause to let strong ideas sink in – your audience needs time to think about key points