Tips for a Good Presentation
Whether you are a seasoned presenter or a nervous first-timer, the following tips are intended as a simple guide.
What to Bring
Bring your presentation on a USB drive, bring a copy on a second USB as a back-up and email the file to yourself ahead of time in case of loss or failure. In addition, you may bring along printed copies of your presentation, your full paper or other handouts, to distribute to audience members. We also recommend that you bring business cards.
- Presentation on a USB drive
- Back-up of presentation (USB and email)
- Printouts of presentation, full paper and/or relevant handouts (optional)
- Business cards
Important: Please ensure that the file name of your presentation begins with your own name, rather than naming the file “IAFOR” or “UK”. This ensures you don’t waste valuable presentation time searching for the file.
What to Wear
There is no official dress code, but delegates generally wear business casual. However, professional attire is appreciated by fellow professionals, so we suggest erring on the smart side – although a tie is not necessary!
Aim to arrive for your presentation at least a few minutes in advance. Time is of vital importance in making a presentation, so please be aware of the overall length of your presentation, as well as how the time is divided within your presentation, to ensure that you leave the appropriate amount of time for each point.
How Long Is the Ideal Presentation?
You have a 25-minute slot allocated in which to present, but your presentation itself should be no longer than 20 minutes. We would suggest aiming for around 15–18 minutes. This will allow ample time for directly engaging with the audience through discussion and questions. The session chair will hold up a yellow card 5 minutes from the end of your allotted 20 minutes, and a red card indicating that your time is up. Ideally, you should not need to be shown either of these.
Structuring Your Presentation
First, make sure you know what you want to say and the points you wish to cover, and keep your presentation clear, simple and concise. Structure it clearly and logically so that both you and your audience know where you are going. Visuals and signposts will help with this, especially if you are using PowerPoint. See below for PowerPoint tips.
PowerPoint Slide Guide
How many slides?
There is no perfect number of slides for a PowerPoint presentation, but the concept “less is more” applies here. We suggest approximately 10–15 slides for a 20-minute presentation.
Your first slide should be the title of your presentation, with your name and affiliation. Outline the structure of your presentation in the following slide, listing in order the themes or areas you will be addressing. Subsequent slides should follow this order, with a separate slide introducing each new theme or area, followed by slides containing supplementary text, images or statistics. Your final slides should contain concluding points and further research questions, and your last slide should thank the audience for their time and attention, as well as providing your contact details in case they would like to follow up later by email or social media.
Practice Makes Perfect
Long before the conference, make sure you spend ample time distilling and crafting your ideas into a well-thought-out presentation. Do NOT just read out your paper – a well-written paper does not equal an interesting and effective presentation.
Practice delivery, timing and use of visuals a long while ahead of the event with your colleagues and friends. Invite feedback and incorporate their criticisms as you polish your presentation, which should be interesting and informative, well paced and lively. Show your passion for your subject: enthusiasm is infectious!
- CHECK your facts, figures and quotes are accurate.
- CHECK your presentation for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. If English is not your first language, please consider asking a native speaker to assist with this.
- CHECK your timing, ensuring that your presentation is 20 minutes or less in length. Coming in under the 20-minute mark is better than overrunning.
- CHECK your presentation is interesting and informative, and that you are delivering it with the enthusiasm your topic deserves.
- CHECK you have printed copies of your presentation in case they are requested by audience members.
An excellent guide to presentation preparation, slide design and delivery is made available by previous IAFOR speaker and presentation guru Garr Reynolds via his website.