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Presentation Guidelines

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As part of the RISE program, students in ME 490 will give a 20 minute presentation (15 min presentation + 5 min Q & A) on their conference paper during the ME UG Symposium.  Below are some helpful guidelines for creating your presentation.

Suggested components of your presentation include:  

  • Title:  Provide a title slide with the name of your presentation, your name and instructor.  This is a good time to thank you instructor or others that helped you with the project.
  • Introduction:  Provide a very brief project introduction.  Make sure to include the motivation for your work – why is it interesting, highlighting important background or previous relevant work.
  • Project Overview and Objectives:  Provide a goal statement for your project, including a bulleted list of the key project objectives. Give an overview of your presentation and organization of the talk.
  • Approach:  Provide a brief description of the approach you used in your project, including necessary details on the relevant methods, theory, experimental processes and setups, and/or validation techniques.
  • Results and Discussion:  Provide the results of your project and discuss the outcomes, findings, and/or data, as well as the broader impact of your work. It is important to have a discussion of the results and their meaning, in addition to the description of the results.
  • Conclusions:  Provide a brief summary of your project with a short discussion of significance and relevance of results, a few easily remembered key conclusions, and possible future research.

Tips for an Effective & Professional Presentation

When designing and creating a presentation, you should spend some time thinking carefully about the function of the presentation.  To insure that your presentation slide show will convey its purpose to the targeted audience, consider the following when you begin planning:

  • Why are you giving the presentation?
  • What materials do you want to use with the presentation?
  • Who will be in the audience?
  • How does the method you use to deliver the presentation affect your presentation design?

Keep the following tips in mind as you begin to organize your thoughts into an outline and use the outline to create your presentation.

  • Practice.  This is a strictly timed presentation, so make sure that you do not run over 15 minutes and leave time for questions.  Be sure to practice reading your paper for timing and flow, and rehearse enough so that you can look up regularly to make eye contact with your audience.  A public talk must “always seem to be improvised, but it must never be improvised,” activist Dorothy Kenyon once advised.
  • Properly cite sources.  If you use a graphic, picture, result from another source ( literature, website, etc ) you MUST cite the course; otherwise, it is a violation of the honor code and is considered plagiarism.
  • Describe clearly each slide.  You should plan on talking 1 to 2 minutes per slide. Use relatively short and simple declarative sentences, and remove any jargon .  Be clear and explicit to the point of the slide.
  • Use contrast.  Use light background with strong bold colors for text and graphics to have the  greatest contrast and visibility under a variety of lighting conditions or vice versa.
  • Keep your message simple and focused.  Overuse of glitzy transitions, multiple typefaces, and large or inappropriate graphics detracts from your message.  Less is more!  Use the special effects to highlight key points.  Follow the 6 x 6 rule:  no more than 6 bullets per page and no more than 6 words per bullet.  Do not use paragraphs of text and do not read your presentation to your audience.
  • Make sure your slides are readable from the back of the room.  Do not make your font size too small or fine, and limit the amount of information on a single slide. Font size should be at normally around 20-24 pt, but no smaller than 14 pt font.
  • Crop photos to eliminate unnecessary backgrounds.  Make sure your photos and graphics are big enough to be seen and well placed on the slide.  Do not add pictures just for the sake of adding something.  Be sure the image enhances the point you are trying to make.
  • Consistency makes your presentation more professional.  Keep items in the same place on each slide (i.e. title, subtitle, bullet points, graphics, etc).  Use the same transitions and animations throughout.  Copying a slide and then editing it makes it easy to be consistent.
  • Proof your presentation.  A well-prepared and enthusiastic presentation will help you convince the audience that you are an expert on the topic and maintain their attention.