Oral Presentation

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First thing first

Time is critical in preparing for your oral presentation, which will be no longer than 15 minutes. Rehearse your presentation before making your presentation. Keep in mind that your audience can only absorb about eight major points during a 15 minutes presentation. Your job is to select those eight points and present them clearly, forcibly, and even dramatically.

Think of those major points as being covered within six to eight slides – introduction (1 slide), methodology (1 slide), results (2 slides), implications for policy/practice (1 or 2 slides), conclusion (1 or 2 slides). Each one should include no more than six sub points. Visual aids such as slides attract and hold an audience's attention and help to reinforce what you say as well as helping you keep on track with your presentation. You need to keep these visuals - and your remarks - simple and easy to read and understand.

Now your presentation

Ensure that you are available at least 30 minutes before the session starts on the day of the conference.

You will have a 15-minute time slot for your presentation. You will not be able to extend your time if you have technical problems during your talk. A technical assistant will be on hand for equipment problems, but not for equipment operation; the computer will be operated by yourself.

All presentations must run on the Windows operating system – the equipment available will be PC and Data Projector. The recommended software to be used is PowerPoint.

Presentations MUST be submitted/ uploaded on congress computers 15 minutes in advance of your talk. Having the presentation files loaded in advance will help to ensure that the sessions run on schedule without delays.

Bring one extra-copy of your presentation to the congress on a USB media storage device. This copy is to be used as a backup by you and the session technician if needed. Make sure the USB media storage device and presentation file is properly labelled with your name, presentation day, and time.

Other general points about your presentation

Oral Communication is different from written communication: Listeners have one chance to hear your talk and can't "re-read" when they get confused. In many situations, they have or will hear several talks on the same day. Being clear is particularly important if the audience can't ask questions during the talk. There are two well-know ways to communicate your points effectively:  Keep your presentation simple and focus on getting one to three key points across.

Think about your audience: Most audiences should be addressed in layers: some are experts in your sub-area, some are experts in the general area, and others know little or nothing. Who is most important to you? Can you still leave others with something? For example, pitch the body to experts, but make the forecast and summary accessible to all.

Think about your rhetorical goals: For congress talks, leave your audience with a clear picture of the gist of your contribution, and make them want to read your paper. Your presentation should not replace your paper, but rather whet the audience appetite for it. So try to regularly refer to information in the paper that can't be covered adequately in the presentation.