Attending Conferences are a great way of advancing your career, networking with fellow researchers, and learning more about current discovery in your field. While these are very necessary, do you know another more important thing than just attending a conference? Conference presentation.
Presenting at a conference does not only give you a platform to communicate your recent research findings with your fellow researchers, but it also has a higher chance of giving you visibility and consequently helps in building your career.
If you have not presented at a conference before, you are in good hands because I am about to give you valuable tips that will help you have a successful conference presentation before you get on that stage.
Let's dive in!
Helpful Tips to Follow in Preparing a Conference Talk
Who is your Audience?
When preparing for a conference, you need to ask yourself who your audience is. This will help you tailor your message to suit the specific audience.
If the presentation is going to be attended mostly by experts in the field, you may not want to bore them with background information about the topic you are exploring.
In a situation whereby your audience is a mixture of experts in the field and people who just have an interest in the subject, what do you do at this point?
To be on the safe side, set aside 1-2 minutes to give background information about the topic, recent findings, and related literature. This will help people who are not in the field to have basic information about the subject to avoid getting lost when you delve into your research findings.
Draw up an Outline
The next thing to do is prepare for your presentation, and the first step is drawing up an outline.
During your research, you must have written down a lot of detailed information about your research and findings.
However, during a presentation, bear in mind that you would be given a few minutes to talk about your research; thus, you need to make your presentation fit into those minutes, which is why you need an outline.
Your presentation outline should have essential points about your research that the audience needs to know about—just bullet points about your research findings and result.
Prepare Your Conference Slides
Now that you have your outline, it is time to develop your slides. Bear in mind that you should not overload your slides. One slide should talk about a single point or idea in your research. Do not explicate your points on the slide for your audience to read. Instead, focus on your main ideas, then elaborate more on them as you speak to your audience.
Make the font size large and readable for the audience. Use visuals like images, graphs, and diagrams to demonstrate the idea better but use them sparingly.
Practice Your Presentation
Appropriate preparation is an antidote against stage fright. Even the best speakers experience stage fright once they are about to speak to a not-so-familiar audience. But if you are well prepared and have rehearsed your presentation, it will only take a few minutes to pass. To overcome stage fright, you need to be ready.
Conferences usually allot limited time to speakers, which is one reason you need to rehearse your presentation within the confines of the time.
Unfortunately, there is no way you will have time to talk about everything in your research. Therefore, you need to focus on essential items that will motivate people to look forward to your paper's publication. Talk about the statement of the problem, methodology, major results, and then findings.
When practicing your presentation, use words that will help you communicate effectively. If possible, practice before your friends and let them give you honest feedback about your delivery. Maintain good body language and posture while talking to your audience.
Do not read from your speaker notes because it will make your audience get bored and lose interest easily. If you want to connect with your audience, maintain eye contact with them and be attune with their nonverbal expressions. Speak confidently to show that you are indeed the expert in your research.
Think about what you are going to wear during the presentation. Check with the organizers if there is a dress code. If there is none, choose what will make you comfortable on stage. Something that will make you less sweaty and help you move freely.
Also, wear something modest that will not distract the audience from your presentation and instead give them a reason to be analyzing your outfit.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Sometimes your PC might pack up on that day, or something might just happen to your presentation slides. This might throw you off balance and disrupt your presentation, but you can overcome the problem by making copies of your slides.
You can transfer it to your phone or a flash drive if you are not already backing it up on the cloud.
Get Ready to Answer Questions
This stage can be challenging because you may never know in advance the kind of question the audience will ask. The person posing the question might have dabbled into your research field in the past or published a paper on it. And your research findings have challenged it, so it is important to be prepared for the hard questions that might come.
The most important thing to do is to know your research inside and out, and if there is a question you feel you do not have an answer to, you can tell the person that you will get back to them later.
Conference presentations are a great way to share your research findings with your research community. It will help advance your career in the long run. It would help if you were well prepared for this great moment because what is worth doing is worth doing well.
When you follow the above tips, it can help you present effectively.