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Scholars Day committee

Kathleen Allen
Serin Anderson
Peter Bishay
Heather Grob
Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis
Riley Moore
Fr. David Pratt, chair
Katya Shkurkin

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Getting started: First stepsPresentation formats
Guidelines for abstracts and research statements
Guidelines for individual and co-authored presentations (1-2 presenters)
Guidelines for topic-centered panel presentations (2-3 presenters)
Guidelines for group/team presentations (3+ presenters)
Guidelines for poster sessions (1-2 presenters)

Guidelines for group/team presentations

[Print version]

  • Three or more presenters.
  • 40 minute talk plus 10 minute question and answer period.

So what are the secrets of a good group presentation? Here is a list of do's and don'ts.

  1. Prepare your material carefully and logically. Tell a story. The story should have four parts:
    1. Introduction/Motivation
    2. Method
    3. Results
    4. Conclusion/Summary

In a group presentation, this story should be divided between the participants.

Hint: There is an old saying among good speakers that describes a presentation from the communication viewpoint: "Tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em. Tell 'em. Then tell 'em what you told 'em." People generally don’t absorb information the first time they hear it, so it is okay to repeat yourself a little and mention some of your conclusions in the introduction.

  1. Don't put in too much material. Here is a good rule of thumb - each slide takes about one to one and a half minutes to show. Thus a 15-minute talk should only have 12-15 slides.

Hint: Have only a few conclusion points. The fact is, people will only remember one or two things from your talk - you might as well tell them what to remember rather than let them figure it out for themselves.

Hint: Avoid equations. Show only very simple equations if you show any at all.

  1. Polish your graphics. Here is a list of hints for better graphics:
    1. Use large letters (no fonts smaller than 16 pts!!)
    2. Keep the graphic simple. Don't show graphs you won't need. If someone in your group has some artistic talent (and you don't) ask for help or opinions.
    3. Use color. Color makes the graphic stand out.
  2. Practice your talk. There is no excuse for a lack of preparation. When working with a group, be sure to practice the transitions between presenters and each presenter should speak for at least 5 minutes. Too many speakers during a single talk distracts from the material at hand.

Hint: Remember to talk to the audience not to the screen!

  1. When working with a group, discuss ahead of time how questions will be handled. For example, who will answer each type of potential question?

Hint: When answering a question in a group presentation format, be personable and honest. The audience does not expect you to know the answer to every question and it is better to stop there than dig yourself into a bigger hole. If you don’t know what to say, see if another group member might have a better answer.

  1. General etiquette. It is always a good idea to acknowledge people who helped you. Also, groups should discuss clothing choices so that members look like a team. The audience will be there to hear your material, but when you dress up you send the message that you care enough about the audience to look nice for them.