Many people are extremely accomplished at researching and writing academic papers. However, when it comes to presenting this research or findings to an audience, a lot of people struggle. They find the whole experience very daunting and this can have a negative impact on their confidence and ultimately on their grades. Delivering a presentation of your research findings is one of the best ways to get your message across. So what can you do to assist you to deliver a good academic presentation?
Do not assume that if the papers findings are good the presentation will automatically be good – this is not the case! Just transferring your paper to slides does not make for a good academic presentation.
There are some things that you can do to make the presentation better including;
• Dress the part
• Never start by apologising for your work – this portrays you in a bad light to the audience
• Never underestimate your audience! People who have turned up to hear your presentation do not want to be patronised and made to feel stupid
• Don’t try to cram the whole paper or thesis into one presentation. You have to assume some level of background knowledge and present points that can be delivered in a reasonable amount of time
• Stick to the time allocated! Plan your presentation to the time given to ensure that you cover all points and are not stopped just as you are about to make the most important point
• Each slide should take one to two minutes depending on your speaking style
• Remember the presentation is not about you, it is about the topic or ideas that you are presenting. These are what are under scrutiny – not you.
• Do not include the whole literature review – this can make a presentation very dull
• Do not use numerous quotes as this can bore the audience and feel like you are presenting someone else’s work
• Present the information in a visually stimulating way to convey your main points
• Use bullet points rather than paragraphs
• Speak loudly enough so that people at the back can hear
• Make eye contact with more than one person
• Do not include too many jokes
• Do not have too many slides – again this will bore the audience and opens up the potential to drown the main point – generally about fifteen slides is sufficient
• Be prepared for difficult questions – at least this shows the audience were listening!
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