Presentation Tips

Presenting your research to a new group can be challenging. Here are some tips to help make it go smoother.

Here’s a great presentation from an MIT professor on how to communicate:


Know your audience

Giving the same presentation to everyone -- graduate students, school leadership and investors -- is a waste of everyone’s time. Why? Because you’re not thinking about what your audience wants and needs to hear. Tailor your presentation to your audience. Make sure you use language they understand.


Plan the beginning and end of your presentation

Take your audience on a journey. Think hard about how you’ll draw them in, and how you want them to feel at the end.


Develop a narrative arc

Tell the story of the problem you are trying to solve and then show your audience how you solved it.


Less is more

Every slide should have only one idea and just a small number of words. Why? If your audience is reading your slides, they are not listening to you.

Another tip: make the font size on your slides 40pt type or larger so it will be readable.


Practice, practice, practice

Ask someone who has never heard you present to listen and give you feedback. Practice reading your notes and get comfortable with your presentation before you give it to anyone, and time it to make sure it will comfortably fit in the time allotted. But don’t practice so much it sounds rote or memorized.


Need more tips or help with a big presentation? Email Meredith Cole with questions.