Graduate school provides many opportunities to hone your presentation skills: some classes require you to present your research or a topic, you may be teaching, and you might go to a conference or two and do a poster presentation (you can check out our blog on that here). For many people, the thought of doing a presentation is scary or nerve-wracking – and that’s normal. Public speaking is a fear for many people, especially when it’s your peers in the audience. As the saying goes, though, practice makes perfect and skilled, effective presenters are made, not born.

Knowing some tricks of the trade can help you create an interesting, effective presentation, as well as hone your presentation style. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Prior to starting, identify your main point and make sure you state it fairly early in your presentation. Especially if you’re doing a poster presentation, you want to get to the point. People won’t be reading your entire paper, but they need to know the most salient points.
  2. Open strong. Think about why they should listen to you. Grab their attention.
  3. If you’re using jargon they might not understand, define the main terminology you’re using before jumping into more complicated topics.
  4. Speak slowly, clearly, and loudly. We tend to unknowingly rush when we’re nervous. If you need a microphone, don’t be shy about asking for one.
  5. Know your audience. Your presentation will be different if you’re speaking to experts in your field than if you’re doing a lecture for students who are just learning about it.
  6. Think about whether you need PowerPoint (if you’re doing a lecture) and only create slides that are necessary to get main points across.
  7. Always face forward, if possible. Don’t turn your back to the audience.
  8. Don’t read from your notes. Just jot down the most important points – make sure it’s clear and easy to read – and know the material you’re going to discuss. It’s important to be comfortable and knowledgeable enough so that you’re not reading everything and can actually simply discuss the material and create a dialogue.
  9. Know your time limit, and don’t go over. There’s nothing worse than a speaker who goes overtime.
  10. Practice, practice, practice! Did you know Dissertation Editor can help with that?

Here at Dissertation Editor, we’ve done our share of presentations – in the classroom, at conferences, and in the workplace. We know that each kind of presentation is different, in both the material and the actual presentation. Not only can we help you create an organized, effective presentation from your materials, but we can help create PowerPoints and visual materials, as well as provide consultations via Skype to help you practice your presentation skills. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your next presentation!