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Science Conference Presenter Tips

You may have the information and the POWER but does the audience get your POINT?!
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  • Record yourself doing a presentation. Watch it and ask friends or family for an honest critique.
  • Learn what your nervous motions are so you can curb them.
  • Load your presentation and test it on the playback computer well before your presentation.
  • If you are using your own computer make sure you have enough cables and connectors to handle most AV situations!
  • Regardless of how powerful your message is, you still need to engage and entertain the audience with energy, humor, and a little theatre.
  • Share your enthusiasm for your topic with the audience.
  • Watch your audience to see if they are following, or even awake.
  • Consider that some of the audience may be students, guests, or spouses so try not to talk too far over their heads.
  • Don’t point all over the screen for no reason with a laser.
  • Don’t read every word on your slides verbatim. The audience is already doing that. Spoken words should add to what is on screen.
  • Don’t show page after page of text paragraphs, especially when the font is tiny.
  • Don’t talk to the screen. Face the audience and talk to them.
  • Don’t try to present your entire project/thesis in the short time allotted. You must only give highlights and conclusions.
  • Never point a laser at the audience.
  • Avoid being monotone.
  • Use your hands and body language.
  • Graphics should be colorful and fill the screen.
  • Backgrounds should be subtle.
  • Wear lavalier microphones about 6 inches below your chin, on your lapel or tie. Don’t let the cord dangle where you might knock it off.
  • Keeping the microphone closer to your mouth reduces feedback.
  • Don't stand right under a ceiling speaker since that often causes audio feedback.
  • Use animations, movies and video where appropriate but don't just add them because you can. Animation should highlight a point, not distract from it.
  • Make sure all of your file types are compatible with the computer that your presentation is on.
  • When having someone advance the slides for you don’t keep saying “next slide.” Simply make eye contact with the person and nod your head.
  • Turn off your ringer on electronic devices and ask the audience to do the same.
  • Ask audience simple questions to keep them engaged.
  • Leave time for questions at the end.
  • While your images may look great from two feet away on a computer screen, they lose quality for a viewer in the middle of a room. View your slides on a computer monitor from ten feet away to get a sense of what the audience will see.
  • Use bold, simple fonts with colors that set them apart from the background.
  • Graphs with multiple parameters will benefit by layering the parameters on one at a time, slide by slide.
  • Make sure graphs and charts have large, clear legends.
  • Prepare for the worst case scenario where the AV equipment fails. Have a plan "B" which is at least a hard copy of your presentation highlights.
  • Have fun, enjoy your own presentation. If you can't, the audience can't either!
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