Conference presentation checklist: download


A successful presentation will largely depend on the extent to which you prepare. This means you should do the following.

  • Understand your audience: try to gather as much information as you can about their interests, attitudes and information needs. What do they already know about your subject, and how does it relate to their daily concerns? How do you reflect their interests in your content, language and approach? For international conferences, how can you adapt your messages to non-UK contexts? What words, acronyms or figures of speech may not be clear to people who speak English as a second language?
  • Know how to engage and connect with them: talk to your audience and not at them. Demonstrate that you have thought about their interests. Use stories, questions, ‘show of hands’ exercises and examples.
  • Be clear about how your presentation fits into the programme: check who else is presenting and their likely angle on the topic. Be aware if your research is likely to overlap with some of the other work presented. If you are presenting a very different view from the rest of the speakers, you may need to identify ways to bring the audience with you.
  • Keep it simple: aim to communicate up to three core messages. Make sure at least half of your speaking time is devoted to these points. If using charts or images, they should illustrate one of your key points. Exclude any unnecessary detail that may distract from this.

Download a checklist for your presentation: do you have everything in place?

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