Tips to Enhance Your FCHC Presentation
Your Session Proposal
Your 100-word description should summarize both the content and the structure of your presentation. It should be written in complete sentences and tie into the conference theme, if appropriate. Show how your session relates to honors education. Session descriptions should be as specific and clear as possible. If, for example, your session relies on the work of particular authors, they should be named: so should geographical places, historic periods, and scientific discoveries. Avoid jargon, technical terms, complex formulae, and use language that can be understood by and appeal to a broad audience. Student proposals should be reviewed by the director not only for content and format, but also for grammar and usage.
Audio-Visual Equipment Request
Proposals that include the use of audio-visual equipment must indicate what equipment is needed and how it will function in the presentation. Audio-visual equipment must be requested at the time the session proposal is submitted.
Consider Your Audience
Your presentation will be held in a room that holds approximately 25-50 people, all of who elected to attend your session. It is safe to assume that the majority of those individuals are already interested and perhaps somewhat knowledgeable about your general topic. It would be wise, therefore, to offer the appropriate amount of background information that neither talks down to your audience nor assumes they have been immersed in the same research and investigations you have. To achieve a smooth delivery, practice your presentation prior to the conference including using presentation items and audio-visual materials so that you do not fidget with them unnecessarily during your presentation.
Make Written Materials Available
People like handouts. If the presentation lends itself to a schematic diagram, bibliography, or printed examples, it is good to use them. We suggest that you prepare 40 sets of handouts for your audience. Avoid the cost of mailing materials to participants after the conference. Your audience will be able to follow your presentation better when you have collated handout pages in logical sequence and stapled them together. If you have copies left over, please make them available to those who could not attend your session by placing them on the information table near the conference registration desk. (FCHC cannot make copies for you: so, please plan ahead).
As You Begin
Approach the speaking area with confidence. As you introduce your presentation, make your purpose(s) clear to the audience, let them know what you intend to achieve with them, and alert them to the number of points in your organizational structure so that your audience can follow along easily.
Delivery That Involves Your Audience
- Maintain eye contact with all parts of the audience throughout the presentation.
- Speak at a rate that is easy for each audience member to follow.
- Speak with clarity and appropriate volume so that the entire audience can hear you.
- Use your notes minimally so that the audience senses your preparedness and enthusiasm. In other words, do not read your paper.
- Incorporate gestures and natural body movements that enhance your message.
- Avoid distracting gestures like jingling pocket change and adjusting clothing.
- If there are multiple presenters, consider and practice how you will switch among them and consider the amount of time it takes to shift from section to section of your session. It would be advantageous for members of a panel from different colleges and universities to converse with other presenters before the conference.
- Practice a smooth incorporation of audio-visual materials, especially with the technology that is being provided for you by FCHC. Make sure visuals are easily seen.
- Be sure to time your presentation. Within the time frame, you will have to allow time to set up, to introduce yourself or to be introduced, to pass out materials, and to answer questions from the floor. There will be a fifteen minute break between sessions to allow for a swift and courteous room exchange. If you have many materials to pack up, you might enlist the support of a colleague to help you so that your presentation does not thoughtlessly overlap another one.
- Make sure you allow sufficient time for the audience to ask questions. Those questions often make the audience feel involved and more enthusiastic about your session.
Be Well-Prepared And Have Fun!
This handout was re-written with permission from NCHC.
Additional tips to consider when preparing your presentation would include what medium and format you are choosing to present in, ensuring to use your audio/video aids effectively, and tackling the project with confidence. For additional information on these topics, and if you have anything to contribute to helping others with the challenges of conference presentations please visit http://www.rowlandstargate.net/presentations.