Conference Presentation Tips

If this is your first conference, here are a few tips for making this a great experience for you and your audience.

Time Yourself

Plan to speak for no more than 8-10 minutes. We need to make sure that everyone gets a fair share of presentation time and that we have time for a productive discussion after everyone has presented.

Dress to Impress

There is no expectation that you’ll be showing up in your best power suit, but you should dress to impress. Think business casual.

Sit or Stand?

Given the set up of the rooms, your audience will most likely be seated while you will be expected to stand in the front of the room when giving your presentation.

Be a Good Listener

Nobody wants to present to a distracted audience. Be the kind of audience member you’d want to have. While in the audience, please don’t use the time to review your own notes (even though you might be nervous about your own presentation). Smile, nod, be affirming.

Know Your Audience

Tailor your message and delivery for the group. Since your audience will be comprised largely of students and professors of communication studies, you can assume that they know the basics. Therefore, you don’t need to explain every single concept to them.

Provide Value

Base your presentation on 2-3 main points. Your audience will not remember every detail. Identify your “take-home” message and use your presentation to highlight it. If you have handouts, make sure that every member in your audience receives one (typically there will be around 10—30 people in the room)

Visual Aids

There is no expectation that you will use visual aids. However, if you decide to use PowerPoint or Prezi, be sure you present information in a clear, engaging, and concise manner. Do not read the slides to your audience. Visual aids should enhance, not overpower, your presentation. Please be sure to have a back-up and get presentations on a jump drive, whenever possible. The rooms will have PCs, not Macs, so make sure your presentation is PC-compatible.

Prepare in Advance

You have already written this paper and are familiar with the research and your arguments. Remember that audience members are there for a reason—to get something out of your presentation. Please respect their time and prepare. Practice your delivery.

Be yourself! Breathe! Smile! Enjoy!

Adapted from “Tips for Presentations,” Handout prepared by Department of Communication Studies, University of North Texas.

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