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Tips to Giving a Conference Presentation

Congratulations, you have been selected to give a presentation at a conference! You presentation will probably not be perfect, but that does not mean we can not aim for that!  you want to stick to your roots and deliver a presentation that will stick to them.  That task can be overwhelming. we have developed some times to help you out.  


Time - Time is very important.  You get a certain amount of time and the presentation needs to be done on time! The best presenters know how much time they have to work with, tailor their presentation to fit the time and then keep an eye on the time.


Rehearse - The first time you give a talk, especially if you are using slides someone else has prepared, rehearse it. Really. Yes, I really mean it.  Rehearsing helps because you hear yourself say the words. You can hear your jokes (I think my jokes are hilarious until I say them out loud), practice stories and figure out the pace. Then when you have to perform for real, your brain doesn’t have to figure it out from scratch.


Questions - Great presenters run 10 minutes before time, ask ‘any questions’ and get a ton of hands. This, believe it or not, has nothing to do with the material. It has everything to do with feeling permitted to ask questions. If there is obviously no time for questions (especially right before lunch or coffee break), the person who asks one is holding up the room. We are polite folks and we know how to play the game, we don’t want to hold up everyone just to ask a personal question. But when there is plenty of time, we feel like we are allowed to, so we do.


Balance Text with Imagery - Don’t be terrified of text and bullet points. They are OK when:


  • the point you want to make isn’t easy to communicate visually

  • visual language is the best way to communicate the idea

  • people need to see the whole idea in order to understand it

  • you are discussing lists of steps or sequences


But if you are going to use bullet points, make them communicate your point. Don’t use them as a memory trigger for what you want to say that’s what speaker notes are for.


The most important thing though is experience, the more presentations you do, the more effective you will be as a presenter. Always be confident in what you are doing and will be great!  Good Luck and Happy Presenting


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