How to Make Good Presentations

author: David Jones, B.C. Lower Mainland (Vancouver) Centre, 2005


1. Oral Presentation Guidelines Published at the Vancouver Congress, 2005

  • Slides should be well-designed (i.e. made specifically for presentation purposes) and should remain on display for a significant length of time while you explain them.
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  • "Flashing" slides is bad style. In general 10 slides (including the title/intro and conclusions) is plenty for a 12-minute talk.
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  • Leave graphical figures up for a long time while you talk, textual material up for a short time only.  Keep text to a minimum - use abbreviations, acronnyms, etc.
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  • To check legibility view computer slides on your monitor from 10 feet away.  Graph axis labels should be legible!
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  • Use Sans-serif fonts, emphasizing with bold-face or different colours.  Light fonts on dark backgrounds are good for textual material, but scientific graphs often work better on a light background.
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  • Avoid the use of tables, and do not add grid lines to graphs as they clutter the image.
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  • Keep the backgrounds simple - one colour or a gradual fade.
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  • Avoid light colours like yellow as these sometimes do not appear in the conference room lighting conditions.
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  • Avoid presentation animations (e.g. text sliding onto page), although animations of content (movies) can be very effective.
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  • Organize your presentation to present a story logically.  Emphasize key points.
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  • Take the time to rehearse your presentation.  If it is too long, eliminate material.


2. View Slide Show Illustrating the Oral Presentation Guidelines

See David's slide show on how to prepare an effective PowerPoint presentation (useful for Centre meetings and Congress papers). 

This slide show has been converted to pdf and contains the same animations as the original Powerpoint show. 

If anyone wishes a copy of David's ppt file please contact the webmaster.


3. Guidelines for Poster Preparation & Presentation

  • The presentation should cover the same material as in the submitted abstract.
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  • Indicate the abstract title, authors, and ID# at the top of the board to help interested viewers to find it. This is especially important if you are a student and are interested in the student poster prize! Adding email information is helpful in case people want to contact you later.
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  • Prepare text and figures so they are legible from a distance of 2 meters away.
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  • A good poster tells a story that can be easily followed with the figures. Do not use too much text. Feel free to add arrows, lines, circles to highlight important features.
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  • The judging criteria (see below) for the student poster award may help you in making a good poster (even if you aren't a student).
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  • You may wish to include a photo of yourself so that interested people can find you later in the conference.

4. Judging Criteria for Student Posters (used at Vancouver Congress 2005)

Judging criteria will include:

Individual Component

  • Does the title accurately describe the subject?

  • Does the abstract concisely state the objectives, describe the methods, summarize the results, state the conclusion, and motivate interest?

  • Does the introduction provide adequate background, context, and justification?

  • Are methods clearly described with appropriate detail?

Content
  • Structure and organization: Is there a logical development from the purpose through the methods, analysis, and conclusions? Is this comprehensible to an observer not engaged in this work?

  • Originality: Unique or innovative methods, concepts, interpretations?

  • Technical Merit: Do the results agree with the interpretation?

  • Analytical Merit: Are the study design and analysis methods appropriate?

Presentation
  • Visually easy to see and understand?

  • Are questions answered directly, honestly, appropriately?

Other considerations
  • unique or attractive features not addressed above?
     
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