Ultimately it is your presentation, and it should have your style!

Here are some general good practices and stylistic tips for oral presentations that might help especially new presenters. Remember that there is no one correct way of doing a great and engaging presentation. Hopefully these get you started and if these tips make any presentation better everyone wins!

    These tips are compiled by the organizing committee from years of experience in making and watching presentations, but these are just our thoughts and views on the matter. Ultimately it is your presentation, and it should have your style!

      General tips:

      • Before you start, think about what message / key point / result you want the audience to remember from your presentation and focus on that!
      • Going through one good slide takes about 2 minutes.
        • For 15 min presentation that is about 7-8 slides.
      • It is better to be a little short on time than to go over.
      • Practice your presentation beforehand out loud.
        • At home to your cat, or at the office to your co-workers. 
        • Now you know how long it takes. Adjust if necessary.
        • If you have nothing to say about a slide, it does not need to be there.
      • For short presentation “the contents”-slide is not necessary (you know, the second slide in your presentation…)
        • I vote for 7% more data instead!
      • Leave time at the end for questions.

      Content related:

      • Don’t read the slide word for word. The slides should be a visual aid for your speech.
        • Photos, graphs and data is hard to explain but easy to show.
        • If the audience is reading, they are not listening. And vice versa.
        • Trust yourself! Your English skills are definitely good enough to be understood. Majority of the participants are not native speakers.
        • If you need a helping hand during the presentation, print the text with you, don’t put it on the slide.
      • If you add text, following the 6×6 rule is helpful
        • 6 bullet points max per slide
        • 6 words max per bullet point
        • (+- a little as an error, this is a scientific conference after all)
        • Add something visual also to text slides to keep things interesting.

      Stylistic tips:

      • Too small or too big fonts should be avoided. There are people in the back row as well. 6×6 rule helps with this.
      • Text and background should have contrast.
        • Yellow text on white background is not great!
        • Can happen with text over photos and other graphics.
        • Changing the color of single letters or words can already be enough.
      • Avoid funny fonts that are hard to read (especially Windings…)
      • Revealing content with animations can be good, but
        • Too much motion is distracting
        • Going back slides is horrible, so know what is the last animation per slide by heart.
        • During questions stop the presentation and scroll to the right slide (or click left arrow about 100 times with at least 3 “Oops! There it was”s.
      • Avoid using only color for distinguishing features in your slides
        • Especially color combinations that are hard for color blind.
        • Internet has lots of guides for this if you need more information.
        • Slide colors also tend to look different on you computer vs. the venue projectors.

       File types and embedded content:

      • Here is some info on supported presentation filetypes
        • Most common might be .pptx from PowerPoint
        • Non-editable presentation files can be shared in .ppsx files
        • With open-source applications you might ancounter .ODP-files
        • Sharing and preserving slides can also be done by saving them in PDF-format
        • Whatever format you choose, be sure you know how to present with it!
      • Photos, tables and graphs typically do not pose any problems in presentations
        • Easy mistake to make here is to link the content, instead of embedding it
        • Link needs access to the content in your unkept and messy file system
        • Moving the presentation with an USB stick breaks that link
      • Videos and internet links however…
        • Everyone is surprised if they work on the first try
        • Add these if you want to live on the edge
        • Again make sure to embed them into your presentation
        • Provide them with your presentation on the USB stick (you can even save the webpage locally!)
        • Test the content before your presentation at the venue!
      EAC2024 – Tampere, Finland