Essential skills to present your research

BL Presentation Skills

Presenting your research can be nerve-wracking! In this post we reveal three things you need to know to excel at presenting at conferences.

Make the first 30 seconds astounding

Starting with a smooth flow which is backed with confidence and engaging enthusiasm is crucial. You need to make an impact; after all, there are multiple other speakers at the conference so how are you going to stand out?

Start with a question. This is a great way to engage the audience with you and each other.

You needn’t wait for any answer, but allow a ten-second break for murmuring or shouting out. A great question will reinforce a future point in your talk and politely bait the audience to engage ‘who here has ever…?’ or ‘what do you think is the most important issue surrounding…?’ are great starting questions.

Create spontaneity and authenticity

You will know your presentation back to front and probably be tired of seeing it. The danger with knowing your presentation so well is that you can look rehearsed and sound scripted, which in turn sounds bland. Speak with an authentic and kind tone. Great athletes train every day. But on the day of the competition they must adapt to the conditions and think on the spot; prepared yet adaptable.

To create a spontaneous and authentic tone, embrace silent pauses. Try counting to five after making a key point and then move on with ‘on that note I would like to move on to...’ Practice this out loud in the mirror.

Be 110% prepared

Have your outfit planned the night before, know where your keys are, know what you’re having for breakfast and know your route… Just simply be extremely prepared so that on the day you can glide to the venue. Turning up panting and sweating is an awful way to start.

Check out the venue the day before the event or look at it online if you can. This will allow you to determine if the space is how you had envisioned and it also creates a comforting familiarity for you on the day of the talk.

Get there early to check every slide, check the projector is working and to comfortably enjoy a coffee! Projectors are notoriously unreliable – always presume they will not be your friend on the day. This creates a great sense of calm and also allows you to smile and greet people as they arrive.

So there we have it; three tips that anyone can use to improve their presentations at conferences.

BL Presentation Skills