Oral Presentation Tips – General
The quality of the oral presentations is a prime factor in the success of the Symposium. It is essential that you prepare early and well for the presentation of your paper. The requirements for this presentation are high-quality, well-organized slides; organization of the material to be presented (not the entire content of the written paper); and sufficient practice to ensure a smooth, polished presentation.
A maximum of 15 minutes will be allowed for presentation of each paper followed by 5 minutes of questions, so plan your slide count to accommodate this time restraint. Limit your presentation to highlight the major themes and significant points of your paper. Lesser details usually distract the listener and are covered in your paper. Few people will use your mechanism directly in their application, remember this is not a design review. Find something new, innovative or different about your mechanism that other people can learn from and tell us about that. Presentations are NOT to include company propaganda, history or product line information, keep these for discussions during the breaks.
Please begin your preparations early to ensure that you are comfortable with your talk. Practicing your presentation to colleagues is often a big help. Not only does this help you practice your timing and delivery, but you can also use it to solicit constructive criticism regarding the presentation’s technical content and flow.
Multiple speakers for a paper, while allowed, are discouraged because of the time required to switch lapel microphones and move people about the room. In addition, it breaks up the continuity of the presentation.
Avoid using laser pointers to identify objects on the screen. Most of the time you cannot keep it still enough and people have trouble locating the pointer on the screen and then following it around. This distracts from what you are saying and if you have prepared your slides and presentation properly, it should not be necessary.
Remember that the audience will be people with similar backgrounds and interests to your own. Do not just read your paper or the content of your slides. The audience has a copy of the proceedings and can read it as well as you. Use your slides as cue cards.
Hardware, models, films, and videotapes are very effective and appealing. Try to work them into your presentation, but keep them short (under 5 minutes). If you are using movies within your presentation, contact the organisers early to ensure that the necessary equipment is available and that the embedded files actually work when clicked!
Give the audience information that will cause them to swamp you with questions after the presentation and during the breaks. The audience wants to hear information and experiences that will help them to develop mechanisms, not vague generalities and tributes to company competence. The content of your presentation should emphasize the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ that was done.
Nothing spoils a potentially good presentation as surely as poor slides. Please, please use large lettering on slides. Keep them simple – avoid coloured or image backgrounds. Better to use two simple slides rather than one that is busy. Colour helps bring out key features on parts drawings and cross-sections. Do not simply use the figures from your paper. Be sure the slides can be read in a room from 30 meters away. Colours that contrast well on paper print outs and a pc screen do not provide the same contrast when projected onto a screen – use pastel colours in preference to bold colours.
Presentation slides should be prepared in accordance with the following requirements to be compatible with the projection facilities:
- Slides should have a high visual contrast between the information and the background.
- Avoid the use of background images – they detract from the words on the screen and often make them unreadable.
- Some colour combinations have very poor light transmission and contrast.
- White letters against a dark blue background or vice versa are usually effective.
- Make sure your slides can be read; try them out on a projector in a large-room before hand.
- Although slides look acceptable on a computer screen or printed out this doesn’t mean that they will have the same contrast when projected onto a screen where the lighting conditions are totally different. Projected images for forward lit, whilst those on a computer screen are back lit.
- Pastel colours should be used as background colours in boxes of important information rather than bold colours.
- The presentation material should be typed or computer generated.
- The following letter sizes and line weights are recommended:
- Use easy to read fonts
- Use 24-point type for all lettering
- Don’t use less than a size of 18 points
- Don’t over use italics
- Don’t use more than 2 different fonts per slide
- Keep the fonts consistent
- All Greek letters and other symbol sizes equivalent to the 24-point type.
- Line weights for primary lines, such as curves, should be wider than line weights for grid scales. We recommend that grid scales be omitted.
- Do not overload the slides with words, lines or shapes. Consider the 6x6x6 rule of maximum of 6 lines per slide, each line with a maximum of 6 words. Use phrases, not sentences. Maximum of 6 text slides in a row.
The following equipment will be available:
- A PC will be available for the presentations. For performing the presentation, MS-Powerpoint or Adobe PDF Reader under Windows 7 will be used.
Recording devices are not permitted during the sessions.
Limited facilities/space are available should presenters wish to demonstrate hardware/equipment during the symposium. Please contact the organisers beforehand to ensure that space and/or any special facilities are arranged/provided.
The following video shows a hardware demonstration from ESMATS2011:Constance of a short section of a 1/4 scale large deployable bellows system that could, for example, be used to separate a lens system from a dectector on a large in-orbit telescope.
The demonstration hardware was developed by Airbus Defence & Space Ltd (formally Astrium Ltd) and is driven by a collection of tape springs.