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Technical Presentation Tips
The acceptance of your paper for presentation marks it as a paper of high quality. Uphold its standard of excellence by preparing an interesting and informative presentation. You, the author, control the reaction of your audience. Keep their reaction favorable by following the suggestions outlined below.
Here are some pointers to help you prepare a concise and interesting presentation:
Do NOT Read Your Paper!
The written word is for the eye, not the ear. Your audience wants to hear you talk, not listen to you read.
Use index cards. Use one card for each item. When you have followed the advice given below, organize your cards and number them clearly according to the order in which you will use them.
Secure the Attention of Your Audience
- Make a statement of the purpose of your presentation. Confine it to one simple, declarative sentence.
Example: "I want to tell you about a new design for valve seals which has resulted in considerable improvement in sealing."
- State a compelling thing about your subject. Make it sharp and short. Use a question if possible.
Example: "Can high pressure steam safety valves ever be sealed satisfactory?"
This will be your opening sentence. Join it to your statement of purpose with a connecting sentence or phrase.
Example: "We have made an investigation and ___________."
Divide Your Paper into Main Ideas
- State each one in a short sentence on its own index card.
- Arrange them in the most logical order for your listeners to grasp.
- Add to each a series of key words or phrases to remind you of what you need to tell your audience about each idea.
Use Connective Sentences and Phrases
The ear cannot check back nor jump ahead as can the eye. Therefore, you must remind your audience of what it has just heard and prepare it for what it is about to hear whenever you go from one idea to another.
Example: "Now that you have a clear idea of what causes poor sealing, it is time to look into the advantages of thin, flexible sealing surfaces."
- State your subordinate conclusions. Confine them to one sentence if possible, or to a small series of very short sentences.
Example: "I think you will agree, then, that poor sealing is a result of self-induced growth of tiny initial leaks. In addition, you will agree that high-pressure steam sealing depends upon..."
- State your main conclusion as well. Confine it to one simple sentence.
Example: "And I believe you will conclude with me, that better sealing can be obtained through the use of this new design for valve seals."
Time Your Talk
Rehearse your speech. Learn to handle your index cards naturally. If you are using slides, allow no more than one minute for any one slide. If you exceed your allotted time limit, cut down on your explanations. Continue to condense until you are within the limit. This will assure adequate time at the session for discussion.
- Talk to your audience.
- Use short, simple sentences.
- Speak clearly and with vitality.
- Speak into the microphone at all times.
- Be sure they are in the correct order.
- Go over them before the meeting.
- Never talk while you are facing the screen. Stand at an angle that will permit a glance at the screen and full attention to your audience.
- Use connecting sentences to introduce and dispose of slides.
Example: (Introducing) "Perhaps, I can make the point clearer by showing you a section view (show slide)."
Example: (Disposing) "Now that it's clear, let's move on to (next slide or new part of speech)."
- Collect your slides after the meeting.