John RamosJohn Ramos,

Wrote the book The Super Student’s Guide to Presentations


Excellent question! Most technical presenters do not put any effort into their presentations at all. To me, that always came a bit as a disappointment – in today’s world, the best science is not made inside the lab, it’s made outside, communicating with our peers.

I have presented my Masters’ thesis in the form of poster and slide presentations in the past. Every time I did I tried not to put my audience to sleep, by following these steps (note that I assume that you’re planning, researching and rehearsing correctly apart from all of this):

  • Assume that most of your audience will not understand most technical terms. No, I have no idea of what ubiquitin is – I study brain imaging! Explain your project slowly and carefully, making one point at each time.
  • Use pictures and diagrams as much as you can. Explaining Science through words alone is painful. It’s much easier to use diagrams, charts or pictures from other papers or that you created on your own.


  • Organize your speech so that you don’t go over the allotted time.

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Jason Whyte

Jason Whytewhen I present, I usually get invited back

What you’re basically asking is how to make a good presentation. The technique is the same regardless of who you are presenting to and what you’re presenting on. Here are some simple rules:

1) Think about your audience.

Who are they? What sort of topic might they want to listen to? How do you connect your topic to their lives? What’s in it for them?

2) What’s your point?

What’s the one thing you want them to take away from the presentation?

3) Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and then tell ‘em what you’ve told them.

You generally need to repeat your message seven times to make it stick. (I like to think of the funeral speech in Julius Caesar, with its repetition of “for Brutus is an honourable man” – though in that case, the meaning changes over the course of the speech)
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