Presenting A Paper To The Audience

Mike Deep • May 12, 2015

Presenting a paper is an important skill, and mastering it requires learning many different tools and techniques. There are two main issues to balance – giving the audience enough information to understand the paper as opposed to burying them in technical details until they lose interest. Striking a balance between those extremes while making the audience enthusiastic and upbeat about the paper is the mark of a successful presentation.

Ask For A Review Before Presenting A Paper

First of all, when presenting a paper, you need to keep in mind that the audience does not know the paper nearly as well as you do. It’s easy to fall into the trap of skipping important background and explanation because you didn’t realize that something that was obvious to you is not clear to the audience. Try showing the presentation to someone who doesn’t know the paper to see how much they can understand it before the full presentation.

Be Concise

Next, before presenting a paper, check your slides to ensure that they do not have too much text. Many people essentially read off their slides, which is boring for the audience and also wastes their time. They could have simply read the slides themselves. Instead, use the slides as a brief summary of what you are going to say. Use slides for figures, tables, images, and other visual aids.

Be Natural

Presentations need to be practiced, but if they sound too rehearsed, they seem artificial. Don’t over-practice. You want to appear organic and genuine. That way, you connect to the audience better and you also won’t be thrown off by questions or comments that break up your script. Versatility is key – no presentation goes exactly as planned.

Focus On Key Points

Be sure to be clear about your key points, even if that means being repetitive. Sometimes people don’t pay attention or need reinforcement to absorb the main thrust of a presentation. Don’t assume that just because you said something once, everyone in the audience remembers and understands it for the rest of the session.

If you follow these tips and remember to balance between too much and too little information, then your presentation will go well and presenting a paper will be easy. If you can also inject some enthusiasm and excitement into it, the presentation will be excellent. Practice a little, but not too much, and be ready to answer all kinds of questions.

There are some more interesting tips right here.