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How (not) to present a paper

A few basic tips:

  1. Do NOT read the paper
  2. Structure your talk
  3. Using powerpoint is an option not an obligation
  4. Prepare
  5. Practice makes perfect

ad 1. Apart from the fact that it is impossible to read your entire paper in the 15 to 20 minutes you will have for your presentation, if you do try, you are missing the point of what a presentation should be and you miss the opportunity to "sell" your paper and your research to the audience. The audience will get bored and lose interest within minutes if not seconds.

ad 2. The basic structure:
Introduction: Tell them what you are going to tell them.
Heart of talk: Tell them
Conclusion: Tell them what you just told them.

ad 3. Powerpoint and similar applications can be used in support of your talk, but they can also be distracting. Do not put too much information on one sheet and certainly not the entire text of your paper (yes, this has actually been done). Keep it clean and simple and limited to only a few. Do not just read what is on the sheet. Your audience is quite capable of reading that and in the process you might turn your back on the audience, which of course does not work well.

ad 4. Take your time to prepare your talk, and if possible have a look at the room some time before you have to present to get a feel for the room. Do not just take a deep breath and plunge in, but take some time to give your audience the chance to quiet down and then introduce yourself. Start with a small anecdote or story to connect with the audience and then move on to the serious bit.

If you type "How to present a paper" or something similar in Google, you'll get lots of links to interesting and helpful websites. We selected a few to get you started.
Hope this information will help you and we wish you good luck with your presentation!

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