01 September 2005

Top 10 Tips for Conference Presentations

by Cheryl Knott-Malone, Ph.D.

Many librarians and other information professionals share their research and insights by making presentations at conferences. Even those who rarely present at conferences, however, make presentations as part of the job interview process and as part of their job responsibilities. In general, following these top ten tips can help you make effective presentations.

1. Prepare and practice your presentation well in advance of the actual presentation.

2. Visit the room where you will be speaking beforehand.

3. Stay within the time allotted for your presentation.

4. If you are the last speaker scheduled in a conference session, be ready to cut your presentation down to the highlights to keep the session on time.

5. Use visual aids to help your audience understand your points.

6. Use visual aids as your notes so you do not have to read from a paper.

7. Wear something comfortable yet professional with no distracting features or accessories.

8. Make eye contact with individual audience members.

9. When presenting, read your audience's body language to know if you need to change the topic, the volume of your voice, or the pace of your presentation.

10. If you feel nervous, pause to gaze out at audience members and remind yourself that they are there because they want to hear what you have to say. Then take a breath and start saying it.

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