2.5.4. Making presentations

Conference presentations and seminars are excellent opportunities to get other scientists excited about your work, including seeing your work funded and published. You can maximize this opportunity by structuring your presentation and each individual slide to captivate your audience.

  • Communicate your work through as story
  • Communicate your ideas succinctly
  • Use captivating graphics and clear examples
  • Avoid domain-specific jargon Presentation structure

Effective presentations often follow the same hour-glass structure as abstracts and papers (see the Section However, there are few salient differences between presentations and papers

  • Presentations should focus on your broader body of work rather than one specific project
  • Presentations should emphasize your own contributions to the work and your own opinions
  • Presentations should provide an overview of your work and not try to present every detail
  • Presentations can provide more elaboration on your ongoing and future work
  • Presentations should be more personal than manuscripts to connect with the audience. Often, it can be effective to structure a presentation like a story that you are telling the audience. Slide design

Below are several guidelines for designing effective slides

  • Each slide should focus on 1 message
  • Use simple diagrams
  • Use high-contrast colors so your slides are viewable even with dim projectors
  • Use sufficiently large font size so that text is readable from a distance
  • Avoid large amounts of text
  • Avoid placing content at the margins in case the projector is misaligned
  • Avoid complex transitions and reveals Software tools

PowerPoint and KeyNote are two of the best software tools for designing presentations. LaTeX’s beamer package can also be used to make nice presentations, but it is hard to layout graphics nicely in LaTeX. Prezi can also make nice presentations, but they Prezi encourages extraneous, distracting transitions. Prezi is better suited to recorded video webinars.