Whether you are presenting orally, visually, through a poster, a performance, or a display
keep these tips in mind:
Establish early a clear and unifying point that you want to make.
Explain the applicability of your research.
When presenting your information, be sensitive to those outside your
Make sure to include or discuss the following sections, if
applicable: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References,
Make sure that your presentation material is readable, grammatically
correct, and has been proofread thoroughly.
Always acknowledge your sponsors and mentors. Also provide credit for
text, graphs, etc.
Cite sources to support your ideas and provide credibility to your
Be proud of your work, but acknowledge errors. Explain unexpected
results and any future research that might be needed.
Present to friends and family and invite their feedback. Ask them
about what they learned to see if you were successful in getting your point across.
Anticipate possible questions and how you might respond.
Bring a pen and pad of paper for notes and to record names and
addresses of contacts.
Always be truthful in presenting your information, and respect your
In addition to the traditional oral presentations, we also encourage performing/visual
arts presentations. This includes music, dance, theater, drawing, painting, photography,
sculpture, video, etc. Performing and visual arts presenters can request a dance or drama
space, a multimedia player, and/or a piano for their presentation in the Presentation & Abstract
A faculty moderator will be keeping track of your presentation time and may also
facilitate the discussion. A student volunteer will be assigned to each room, as well, to
assist you, other presenters, and the faculty moderator.
Please assume that all equipment requested in your application will be provided, unless we
contact you to ask that you bring your presentation on a different medium.
In addition to grouping presentations by subject of research, we have also grouped them by
equipment requests. If you are doing a PowerPoint presentation, it is recommended that you
also bring transparencies of your presentation in case there is a technical problem.
Prepare your visual aids well in advance and make sure they are clear. Use visual aids
where appropriate in oral presentations because many people learn better visually,
especially if they are not familiar with the subject. Also, people remember more of what
they read than what they hear.
Keep words to a minimum on slides, transparencies and other visual aids; make sure they
are readable from the back of the room. Words should be large enough to read from several
feet away, but dont use all caps. Avoid using light colors for words, such as yellow
or orange. The size of the typeface should be at least 12 point.
Number your visual aids so you always know the order in case they get dropped or
If you are using PowerPoint, slides or transparencies in your presentation, dont
linger on one image for more than five minutes. After presenting the image, eliminate or
block the projection source so that the audience will focus back on your talk.
If you are using a 35mm slide projector for your presentation, please come to the room in
which you are to present a few minutes before the start of your session to load your
slides into the carousel.
Consider your purpose in distributing handouts because they might distract your audience.
Give handouts prior to or during your presentation only if they are necessary for clarity
during your talk. Otherwise, provide handouts at the end.
When presenting statistical data, make the significance of it clear. In presenting
equations, always define your constants and independent and dependent variables. Your
discussion should focus on the relationship between the variables.
Face the audiencedont talk to your screen or note cards. Reiterate major
points at the end to conclude.
The Art of Speaking
Make an outline of your speech to help you organize the ideas. Write
notes for your presentation as you would normally talknot too formal, but not casual
You dont have to memorize your speech; make note cards as
guides (number the cards just in case they get mixed up).
Make eye contact with your audience.
Speak slowly and project your voice.
Use the podium and pointer as needed.
Types of Visual Aids
If you are displaying a poster, you will find out during registration
the specific location where you may exhibit your poster.
Your poster will be displayed on an easel set up against the walls on the
second and third floors of Humanities Hall (you can request a table instead if that
better suits your presentation material).
Poster presentations must be on 3 or 4 (height) by 4 (width) poster
board. Presentations should be prepared on poster board in advance. If this is not
possible because of difficulty transporting your poster board, poster board can be
requested for the day of the symposium. Please note that we are providing only 3
(height) by 4(width) sized poster board. Pushpins, glue, and other materials needed
to assemble the poster board will be provided (a room for poster assembly will also be
Space on a poster is limited, so pick wisely what to present. Your display should be
self-explanatory and have a logical flowothers should be able to follow the order
even if you are not present. Start with a rough draft of your design on paper, using graph
paper or even post-it notes to simulate sections.
Place your title at the top of the poster and make sure that the text is large (usually at
least 2 inches in height) and clear. Include your name and major, and the name of your
faculty mentor and his/her department name, the name of your school and the names of other
co-authors. Incorporate appropriate graphics in your poster. Label or describe any charts,
tables, figures, graphs, or photos that you use. Make sure all edges line up evenly. Edit,
review, and spell check all the elements of your poster display. Be sure to firmly attach
all materials to your poster board (spray adhesive, found in art supply stores, works
During the poster session, stand to the side of your display so that you dont block
it. Prepare and practice a five-minute summary speech about your project. This time is an
excellent networking possibility so it is important to speak and interact professionally.
You will also receive lots of feedback and exposure as well.
Elements of Style
Dont use more than two fonts. Instead use bold, italic and font
size to set type differently. Times New Roman, Arial, and Garamond are suggested
Stick to a color scheme (try a couple that complement or contrast
with each other such as black or navy on white). Try mounting text and figures on colored
paper, or using some colored font.
Be consistent with your white space between sections of text, figures
and headings; white space should be ample so the poster doesnt look crammed.
Poster Typeface Sizes
Titles should be at least 2 inches high.
The body type for the main sections should be at least 18 point if
Words should be large enough to read from several feet away, but
dont use all caps.