Tips for your presentation

science-cafe-logoHere some tips from of how to organize your presentation:

  • Introduce your topic with a clear, straightforward story. Include personal details whenever possible, such as what attracted you to the topic, a humorous anecdote, an unexpected outcome, and so on. Your audience will appreciate knowing about your connection to the topic.
  • Keep it SHORT. You’ll have about 15-20 minutes to do your presentation, with lots of Q&A and discussion afterwards (about 30-45 min).
  • If you want to practice your presentation beforehand, don’t do it alone at your desk! Remember, this is not meant to be a formal occasion. The more off-the-cuff your presentation, the better.
  • Consult with your moderator and/or coordinator about using video.
  • PowerPoint is no necessary! A science café is not a classroom or a conference. However if you need to use visual slides:  keep it simple, don’t use specialized graph and explain all the information on your slides. Do not read your slides!
  • Don’t forget the power of props: stuffed microbes, models of molecules, anatomy model; some of our previous speakers had brought plates with the yeast they work with, microscopes and worms they use for research.
  • If you’re not sure about how to approach your topic, talk with the moderator or coordinator to get their opinion. You will also want to bring up the topic beforehand with people unfamiliar with your work and to see which points make for interesting conversation.
  • Ask some initial questions to know something about the kind of audience you are presenting. Also, come prepared with open-ended questions for the audience. This will help get them audience engaged right away.
  • Use plain language. There is no need to “”dumb down”” your presentation, but avoid jargon and technical expressions.
  • Go with the flow—relax, be yourself, and have fun!

The graph bellow illustrate the way of thinking when you are organizing a presentation for Science Café vs. one for a Scientific conference. Use this diagram when putting together your ideas for the presentation.


Source: Communicating Science: Tools for Scientists and Engineers (AAAS)


More resources at: