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Conference Presentation Tips

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 15 minutes, but be prepared to scale your presentation down if your panel chair asks you to. It is important that everyone gets a fair share of presentation time and that we have time for a productive discussion after everyone has presented.

Be a Good Listener

Networking Event

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.


Visual Aids

In-person presenters will not have access to AV equipment. For virtual presentations, screen-sharing capabilities may not be provided. If you decide to use slideshow, be sure you present information in a clear, engaging, and concise manner rather than reading the slides to your audience. Visual aids should enhance, not overpower, your presentation. You should always be prepared to present without your visual aid in case of technology snafus. 


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 learn something from you. Preparing in advance and practicing your presentation can help you communicate the value of your research to the audience.

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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