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Good slides provide the foundation for a strong oral presentation of research. It is important to take the time to develop a set of slides that will provide the audience with an appropriate amount of information in a format that is clearly visible and understandable. Once the slides are developed on a computer, it is also critically important to project the slides to check for readability. Slides that look good on a computer display may not have sufficient color contrast or text font size to be clearly readable when projected. The following checklist identifies the "Do's and Don't's" of preparing slides for a research presentation.
Once your slides are ready, it is important to practice your presentation a number of times. More novice presenters generally benefit from more practice time. You may wish to make notes for use in practice to remind you what you wish to say about each slide. By the time you deliver the "real" presentation you should be sufficiently practiced that you do not need the notes. The following checklist provides tips for delivery of your presentation. It is a good idea to follow as many of these tips as possible when practicing.
Many of the same principles for preparing slides for an oral presentation apply equally to preparing a research poster. Since some conference attendees are likely to view your poster without taking the time to ask you for any interpretation, it is important that your poster accurately and effectively communicate the requisite information about your research study. Most posters are currently generated by computer on a single large sheet of heavy paper, which simplifies transport and hanging of the poster as compared to earlier formats. Two examples of poster presentations may be seen here, and the following checklist provides important tips for preparation of a good research presentation poster.
At most conferences your poster will be scheduled to be on display during a certain time period and you will be scheduled to be standing by your poster to respond to questions for a portion of that time period. It is important to fulfill your responsibilities for the presentation by hanging and removing your poster at the designated times and by being available to answer questions during the designated period. You should be fully prepared to answer all questions about the poster and you should respond to all questions in a professional manner.
Do not become engaged in a long conversation with a friend who stops by if there are people who appear to be interested in your poster who may have questions. Your priority is to present your poster to the conference audience.
At some conferences there are "Thematic Poster" sessions, in which an audience gathers and focuses attention on one poster at a time within the thematic grouping. In this format, the presenter is expected to make a short, 5-7 minute presentation highlighting what was done in the study followed by questions from the audience. When preparing for such a session, it is important to practice the brief presentation a number of times, following Checklist B for delivering an oral presentation. It is also important to be especially well prepared to answer questions.