Five tips for making a conference presentation

Gepubliceerd op 20 oktober 2023 om 12:00

After all your hard work your research project is finally finished. Now you can finally spread the knowledge you have obtained! A wonderful reward for your hard work is of course to be able to present your results at a conference. But how do you make sure to present your results properly? We give you a few tips to get you started!

TIP 1: Limit the number of slides

A rule of thumb is that your presentation cannot have more slides than the number of minutes that you are allowed to present. So if you have a presentation of ten minutes, your presentation has a maximum of ten slides. On average you are talking approximately one minute per slide. If you spend (much) less time on a slide, then ask yourself whether this slide is truly necessary. If it is only on the screen for fifteen seconds, the people in the audience do not have sufficient time to read what is on it ànd hear what you have to say about it. Sometimes you have to include a slide with your interests/sponsorship at the beginning of your presentation, to indicate whether or not there is a 'conflict of interest'. The organization will inform you of this through their website, or by e-mailing you.

TIP 2: Make it readable and attractive

Slides that are visually attractive may help to capture the attention of your audience. However, make sure that the text on your slide remains readable. It is also advisable to limit the amount of text on your slides. Otherwise you risk people reading the slides instead of listening to your story. So preferably do not put full sentences on your slides, but use a short telegram style.

TIP 3: Choose your message carefully

Congress visitors often hear many presentations. It is not realistic to expect that they remember everything from each lecture. So think hard about what you want a visitor to remember from your presentation, and stick to one or at most two concrete messages. Make sure that these stand out clearly, preferably by repeating these messages twice or more. For specific details you can refer to your article, or visitors can ask you about it during the discussion. Therefore, we recommend to put your contact information on the first/final slide, preferably your e-mail address, on the last slide, so that interested visitors can contact you later.


TIP 4: Time your presentation well

You will generally be assigned to a session with other presenters, where everyone will have an equal amount of time for his/her presentation. It is therefore important to pay attention to your timing, so that everyone has the opportunity to properly present. Some time will inevitably be lost during the start of the session and between presentations, so it is wise to make your presentation a bit shorter. If you get ten minutes to present, make sure your presentation lasts at most eight minutes. This way, if the session gets behind schedule, at least you will be sure to have enough time to give your full presentation, the way you have prepared it. It prevents you from having to skip over parts because you are running out of time, which messes with the build-up of your presentation and results in your message getting lost.

TIP 5: Practice before you present

It can be a bit scary to present your research (for the first time), especially when you have to present it in something that is not your native language, so it is wise to practice it a couple of times beforehand. The most fun is to do this with your colleagues, so you can give each other some tips. Some healthy excitement is not bad at all, but also try to have a little bit of fun. Remember that nobody knows as much about your research as you. Besides: you have worked so hard on your research, it is about time that people hear what you have to tell them about it! 

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