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How to give a great presentation

In the world of science, sharing your research findings is significant. Whether you are talking about it in person, putting up a poster, or writing it down, getting the word out is important for moving science forward and getting people talking. Sharing your research is not just about telling people what and how you did it. It is about making them care, so remember to keep it interesting and show why your work matters.

Oral presentation

One popular method for scientists to share their work is through oral presentation. Having strong public speaking skills is crucial. It’s not just about speaking; it’s about storytelling to keep your audience interested.

A helpful tip is to keep your slides straightforward – avoid packing them with too much text and opt for figures instead.

Ensure your presentation has a clear structure, with a beginning, middle, and end. Addressing important questions like why your research is important and how you conducted it is essential. You can use your diagram as a guide when putting your presentation together.



When preparing your oral presentation, it’s important to consider why you’re giving the talk and who your audience is:

  • Consider your audience’s knowledge level: This affects how much background information you’ll need to provide and whether you should use specialized terms / abbreviations / explaining acronyms. 
  • Know your audience: Are they students, teachers, or experts? This guides the level of detail and type of content you should include.
  • Consider their interests: What will grab their attention? Focus on key points and information that will engage them.

Plan your content carefully:

  • Focus on quality over quantity: It’s better to cover fewer points thoroughly than to skim over many.
  • Identify your main message or argument.
  • Outline your presentation, highlighting the most relevant points that support your message.
  • Choose supporting evidence that will help your audience understand and be convinced by your points. (visual aids like images, diagrams, or statistics)

General tips from Dr Mary O’Kane – Application Scientist at Ossila:

  • Practice giving the talk: Run through your talk at least once before hand – this will stop you feeling nervous.
  • Make sure the talk is an appropriate length: Try to cover one topic in 10-15 minutes.
  • Create secondary slides: If you’re not sure if something is too much detail, move it to secondary slides (after your acknowledgement slides). This way you have it if someone is interested/if you feel you must mention it/for questions.

Poster presentation

Another way to present your research are poster presentations. A successful poster presentation and a strong oral presentation share many similarities: understanding your audience and their needs, having clarity about your purpose, and delivering your main message with impact are essential. Poster presentations offer a unique opportunity to communicate your research in a different format compared to oral presentations or written assignments.

Key elements that contribute to an effective poster include:

  • Eye-catching visual to draw people in.
  • A captivating title that grabs the audience’s attention.
  • Effective use of images and diagrams, which can convey complex information quickly.
  • Clear organization for easy reading.
  • Encouraging audience interaction – consider promoting your audience to act or think about something after reading your poster.

Academic poster should accomplish three things:

  1. Maximize Insight: You want to maximize the amount of insight transferred to attendees in the poster session.
  2. Keep The Good Stuff: You want to leave time for having good conversations and getting deep insights.
  3. Make It Easy: You want to accomplish these goals in a way that is as simple as possible.
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