The Role of the Presenter

Presentations are unsuccessful when the audience is not motivated to read the full paper. The following are some ideas for how authors can get the audience engaged and excited about the paper. Most practices in the DON'T column are standard procedure. The object should be a presentation that covers less but makes a compelling argument that the paper should be read.

These guidelines are not intended to be rigid. The main point is to sell rather than summarize. Again, the objective is to get the audience to read the paper, not to present so much detail that the audience has no reason to read it after.

Annual Meeting Roles

Purpose of Presentation
  • Present enough to tell the audience that the paper is worth a read and tell a good story.
  • Present summaries of all sections of the paper
Format & Timing
  • Consider starting with the conclusion and then explain why you reached it (e.g. methods/results).
  • Provide a 1-page handout summarizing your contribution & key points as a takeaway.
  • Plan for 10 minutes - it is easier to expand on points than it is to cut things out.
  • Use fonts larger than 28 pt & no more than 10 slides.
  • Do focus on your results.
  • ST save the punch line as a sort of surprise ending.
  • Plan for 20 minutes in case there is extra time.
  • Use small fonts or too many overheads.
  • Focus on theory or methods (unless that is your contribution).
  • Do focus on what is interesting and new about what you have learned.
  • Do try to start off with a real-world analogy/story.
  • Focus on why you decided to do the study.
  • Be too conceptual.
Audience Interaction
  • Look people in the eye and talk to them (not at them).
  • Identify places for audience input. Ask rhetorical questions at key points and wait for responses.
  • For an empirical paper, ask the audience to vote for alternative explanations of the results.
  • Consider using brief exercises or scenarios that draw on the audience's personal experiences / knowledge.
  • Give a monologue describing your research.
  • State the problem, why it is interesting, and what you will add.
  • Explain what is new in this model over past contributions.
  • Present a literature review of the area (cites, etc.).
  • Explain every arrow in a complex figure.
  • Provide an overview of why the measures are linked to the theoretical construct. Establish face validity and assure that more rigorous methods were applied.
  • Describe the sample measures, and validation of instruments.
  • Present what was significant. Explain what the data tell you. People will read the paper to get details if the paper seems important.
  • Present any tables with numbers
  • Answer broadly what we have learned and what needs to be done now.
  • Urge the audience to read the paper for details.
  • Review each result and summarize what was significant.

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