How to Prepare for a Platform Presentation
Congratulations on all of your efforts that have brought you to this time and place! Your research experience is an important part of your development as a professional in your field. Research is defined as, “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”. Whether your topic is in science, music, art, language, or any other area, the analytical thinking and processing of new data is recognized as one of the best ways to engage in learning. The communication of your research requires the ability to prepare a clear and coherent message that can be delivered in about 12 minutes. Talk to you mentor and investigate best practices for giving presentations. Here are a few tips specific for URSA Scholars Week.
- Your audience will include of students and faculty outside of your discipline. Take time to introduce your topic and give a background that the audience will appreciate, such as definitions of terms or acronyms. Make sure each part of the background is essential for understanding the project. Simplify and use your time wisely.
- You will have about 10-12 minutes for giving the presentation and 3-5 minutes for questions. Be clear and concise and include some information that may stimulate questions. This will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your depth of understanding. Remember- you probably know more about your work than anyone in the room! Speak with confidence and enthusiasm for the topic.
- Know exactly how you will begin and end your presentation. Have a strong beginning and an ending that provides your audience a “take-home” message. Emphasize the main points of your research. Don’t go off on tangents. For a 10 minute presentation, you will probably need to report on no more than 3 findings.
- Use a logical and standard organization. For a scientific presentation use Introduction/Background, Question/Hypothesis, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. For other disciplines there should be a beginning that sets the stage, a middle that tells the story, and big finish with a clear take home message.
- Practice and Time Your Presentation. Make sure you can present your slides without reading them. You should not need notecards, but if you choose to use them, make sure they only have bullet points that will keep you on track. Make them large enough to read easily and only glance at them occasionally. If you are reading a paper or report, practice the pace and your inflections. Use eye contact and plan out when you are going to look up or pause for emphasis. Stick to your script.
- Make sure your slides are not too text heavy or contain too many figures. Take time to explain graphs and figures or equations that are relevant to your results. Research “best practices for making PowerPoint Presentations”. You have tools that can be used to capture your presentation. Sometimes watching your own presentation is the best way to see what needs to be improved.
- Make sure you do not present the work of others as your own. Provide appropriate acknowledgments.
- Remember everyone in the audience is there to support you and learn from you. This is a time for celebration, so relax and enjoy! Give yourself some positive self-talk. Visualize a positive and rewarding outcome.