Presentation guide for IAIA conferences

Tips for oral presentation

  • Build a story. Presentations are boring when they present large amounts of information without any context or meaning. Instead, tell a story, with the audience as the main characters.
  • Keep it relevant. Audiences pay attention only to stories and ideas that are immediately relevant to them. Consider what decision you want them to make, then build an appropriate case.
  • Cut your introduction. The session chair will introduce you.
  • Begin with an eye-opener. Kick off your talk by revealing a shocking fact, a surprising insight, or a unique perspective that naturally leads into your message and the decision you want made.
  • Use facts, not generalities. Fuzzy concepts refl ect fuzzy thinking. Support your argument, story and message with facts that are quantifi able, verifi able, memorable and dramatic.
  • Never read from your slides. Your audience can read!
  • Practice speaking slowly and clearly, and avoid jargon. Cut business and company- or sector-specifi c jargon from your slides and your vocabulary. For much of the IAIA audience, English is a second language. If English is your primary language, consider what it is like for you to listen to a presentation in your second language and adjust your presentation style accordingly.

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Tips for slide presentations

  • Make sure each slide builds on the previous slide and that all slides have a logical progression.
  • A graph or chart to illustrate your main point can be worth a thousand words. Studies show that half of what an audience learns during a presentation is provided by the visuals.
  • But keep the slides simple. People shut off their brains when confronted with complicated drawings, tables, and distracting backgrounds. Don’t use your slides as a data repository. Have a separate handout if you want the audience to take away detailed information after your talk.
  • Use the 6-6-6 rule: (maximum 6 words per bullet, maximum 6 bullets per slide, maximum 6 text slides in a row). The fewest words and eff ective imagery will have the most powerful eff ect.
  • Use high-contrast, easy-to-read fonts that are common to most computers. Do not use ALL CAPS, italics, and other enhancements that clutter and are distracting. A good guideline is a minimum of 30-point text.
  • Don’t get too fancy. You want your audience to remember your message, not how many special eff ects and visual gimcracks you used.
  • Consider adding #iaia15 to your presentation slides to encourage your audience to share thoughts on the session, receive feedback on your presentation, and help spread the word about the good work being done at the conference.

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