Author: Dr. Nafisa Jadavji
It is officially the summer, also known as academic conference season.
Over the years I have given a several poster and oral presentations. With my previous experience, I have compiled what I found works best for presenting data.
- When using power point, pick a font that is easy to read. I prefer to use Arial.
- Don’t overcrowd your slides or posters with too much text. Pictures or diagrams can be just as effective.
- If you include pictures, graphs or other figures make sure they are big enough and don’t use many.
- Again, if you do include pictures, graphs, or other figures use them during your presentation. Walk your audience through what the graph, picture, or other figure shows.
- For the oral talk, make an outline of your presentation, this can be your second slide. I find it useful for organizing my talks and I think it helps the audience.
- Don’t forget to acknowledge the people who helped you with your work and any funding you or your supervisor received for the project.
- If you have a complicated experimental design with multiple time points, and manipulations make a figure for an experimental design like a timeline. It also might be useful to list all the experimental groups you had in your study.
- Use high contrast colors for text and background. Remember some people are color blind. My default is black text on a white background with royal blue titles.
- Practice your presentation and get feedback. Microsoft power point has a great notes section for all slides, write out the points you want to cover and review them before you give your presentation. This applies to poster presentations too. I often have students write out the major points they will cover during their poster presentation. This will help you stay on topic.
- If you are presenting a poster, have a 4-5 minutes presentation of your poster planned out. Point to figures and graphs. On my posters, I like to include a summary of results section prior to the conclusion.
Presenting data can be a challenge, in terms of public speaking. I struggled with it when I started my scientific training and still do, but I have been doing it consistently 16 years. It does get easier, I still get nervous, but it is manageable.