Shining like a star: the art of presentation

LinkedIn Slideshare: 8 Psychological Principles to Make a Memorable Presentation

It is the conference season, and I am lucky enough to get an opportunity to present my research in a national conference this month. Both excited and nervous, I know that a perfect presentation would be a great plus, but no one can be perfect. Instead, I am trying to improve myself as much as possible before the big moment. So far, I have learned a ton, and I would like to share them with you as tips.

Some tips on presentation itself:

  1. Condense your Powerpoint slides to concise graphs and schemes. Texts are necessary as legends or titles, but no one is interested in reading two paragraphs for each slide. Make them as large as possible (especially if you are going to present in an auditorium), so even the audience at the back could see the slightest details rather easily.
  2. Target your audience with proper contents, which means you have to focus on the aspects relevant to the people that would show up at your presentation, and the contents should be able to evoke their interest. A rather broad introduction should be there, but don’t waste time on explaining obvious facts if the audiences are experts in your area.
  3. Having pinpoints in the presentation is essential. If you have tons of results, organize them into groups that would emphasize the idea you want to deliver. If you have a few results, they are still the major part of your presentation, and don’t let previous examples drag you before you enter ‘results and discussion’ section.
  4. Don’t present detailed results all the time. People’s focus has a time limit, and data piling for 15 minutes would be a good dose of narcotics. Always go back to a generic slide from time to time to remind people of your presentation progress, and to pull them back from distraction.


Some tips on how you present yourself:

  1. First, practice, practice, practice. When you practice multiple times, the presentation content would become intuitive for you, and even if you are shaking during the official run, you won’t stop multiple times or mumble meaningless words due to terrible pronunciation or forgetting what’s next.
  2. Try to record yourself or do a public rehearsal. What you think you look like in public is not what you look like from other people’s perception. By recording yourself, you can correct your tones, pace of talking, and all those subtle body languages you tend to use subconsciously. Other people can give you feedbacks, and you can find problems that you usually don’t realize.
  3. Proper dressing code needs to be always obeyed. Even in a liberal world, social conventions are still rules to be followed. Sneakers, leggings, and hoodies can make you comfy, but not appropriate for a formal presentation, but prom dresses would be too much. Usually business casual is a good choice. If you are not sure what to wear, check online.
  4. Be cautious about jokes. We see those famous public speakers like former US president Obama trigger big laughs during official events like the White House correspondent dinner (Youtube it). However, a calm, logical academic presentation should be our goal. We don’t know what would be the borderline of audiences because we lack experiences and authority, so good behaviors are never wrong.


No matter what you are going to present, I wish you all the best, and hope that these tips can be helpful for you now or in the future!

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One response to “Shining like a star: the art of presentation”

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