structure of a research presentation

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research

How to Make a Successful Research Presentation

Turning a research paper into a visual presentation is difficult; there are pitfalls, and navigating the path to a brief, informative presentation takes time and practice. As a TA for  GEO/WRI 201: Methods in Data Analysis & Scientific Writing this past fall, I saw how this process works from an instructor’s standpoint. I’ve presented my own research before, but helping others present theirs taught me a bit more about the process. Here are some tips I learned that may help you with your next research presentation:

More is more

In general, your presentation will always benefit from more practice, more feedback, and more revision. By practicing in front of friends, you can get comfortable with presenting your work while receiving feedback. It is hard to know how to revise your presentation if you never practice. If you are presenting to a general audience, getting feedback from someone outside of your discipline is crucial. Terms and ideas that seem intuitive to you may be completely foreign to someone else, and your well-crafted presentation could fall flat.

Less is more

Limit the scope of your presentation, the number of slides, and the text on each slide. In my experience, text works well for organizing slides, orienting the audience to key terms, and annotating important figures–not for explaining complex ideas. Having fewer slides is usually better as well. In general, about one slide per minute of presentation is an appropriate budget. Too many slides is usually a sign that your topic is too broad.

structure of a research presentation

Limit the scope of your presentation

Don’t present your paper. Presentations are usually around 10 min long. You will not have time to explain all of the research you did in a semester (or a year!) in such a short span of time. Instead, focus on the highlight(s). Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.

You will not have time to explain all of the research you did. Instead, focus on the highlights. Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.

Craft a compelling research narrative

After identifying the focused research question, walk your audience through your research as if it were a story. Presentations with strong narrative arcs are clear, captivating, and compelling.

  • Introduction (exposition — rising action)

Orient the audience and draw them in by demonstrating the relevance and importance of your research story with strong global motive. Provide them with the necessary vocabulary and background knowledge to understand the plot of your story. Introduce the key studies (characters) relevant in your story and build tension and conflict with scholarly and data motive. By the end of your introduction, your audience should clearly understand your research question and be dying to know how you resolve the tension built through motive.

structure of a research presentation

  • Methods (rising action)

The methods section should transition smoothly and logically from the introduction. Beware of presenting your methods in a boring, arc-killing, ‘this is what I did.’ Focus on the details that set your story apart from the stories other people have already told. Keep the audience interested by clearly motivating your decisions based on your original research question or the tension built in your introduction.

  • Results (climax)

Less is usually more here. Only present results which are clearly related to the focused research question you are presenting. Make sure you explain the results clearly so that your audience understands what your research found. This is the peak of tension in your narrative arc, so don’t undercut it by quickly clicking through to your discussion.

  • Discussion (falling action)

By now your audience should be dying for a satisfying resolution. Here is where you contextualize your results and begin resolving the tension between past research. Be thorough. If you have too many conflicts left unresolved, or you don’t have enough time to present all of the resolutions, you probably need to further narrow the scope of your presentation.

  • Conclusion (denouement)

Return back to your initial research question and motive, resolving any final conflicts and tying up loose ends. Leave the audience with a clear resolution of your focus research question, and use unresolved tension to set up potential sequels (i.e. further research).

Use your medium to enhance the narrative

Visual presentations should be dominated by clear, intentional graphics. Subtle animation in key moments (usually during the results or discussion) can add drama to the narrative arc and make conflict resolutions more satisfying. You are narrating a story written in images, videos, cartoons, and graphs. While your paper is mostly text, with graphics to highlight crucial points, your slides should be the opposite. Adapting to the new medium may require you to create or acquire far more graphics than you included in your paper, but it is necessary to create an engaging presentation.

The most important thing you can do for your presentation is to practice and revise. Bother your friends, your roommates, TAs–anybody who will sit down and listen to your work. Beyond that, think about presentations you have found compelling and try to incorporate some of those elements into your own. Remember you want your work to be comprehensible; you aren’t creating experts in 10 minutes. Above all, try to stay passionate about what you did and why. You put the time in, so show your audience that it’s worth it.

For more insight into research presentations, check out these past PCUR posts written by Emma and Ellie .

— Alec Getraer, Natural Sciences Correspondent

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structure of a research presentation

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How to make a scientific presentation

How to make a scientific presentation

Scientific presentation outlines

Questions to ask yourself before you write your talk, 1. how much time do you have, 2. who will you speak to, 3. what do you want the audience to learn from your talk, step 1: outline your presentation, step 2: plan your presentation slides, step 3: make the presentation slides, slide design, text elements, animations and transitions, step 4: practice your presentation, final thoughts, frequently asked questions about preparing scientific presentations, related articles.

A good scientific presentation achieves three things: you communicate the science clearly, your research leaves a lasting impression on your audience, and you enhance your reputation as a scientist.

But, what is the best way to prepare for a scientific presentation? How do you start writing a talk? What details do you include, and what do you leave out?

It’s tempting to launch into making lots of slides. But, starting with the slides can mean you neglect the narrative of your presentation, resulting in an overly detailed, boring talk.

The key to making an engaging scientific presentation is to prepare the narrative of your talk before beginning to construct your presentation slides. Planning your talk will ensure that you tell a clear, compelling scientific story that will engage the audience.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to make a good oral scientific presentation, including:

  • The different types of oral scientific presentations and how they are delivered;
  • How to outline a scientific presentation;
  • How to make slides for a scientific presentation.

Our advice results from delving into the literature on writing scientific talks and from our own experiences as scientists in giving and listening to presentations. We provide tips and best practices for giving scientific talks in a separate post.

There are two main types of scientific talks:

  • Your talk focuses on a single study . Typically, you tell the story of a single scientific paper. This format is common for short talks at contributed sessions in conferences.
  • Your talk describes multiple studies. You tell the story of multiple scientific papers. It is crucial to have a theme that unites the studies, for example, an overarching question or problem statement, with each study representing specific but different variations of the same theme. Typically, PhD defenses, invited seminars, lectures, or talks for a prospective employer (i.e., “job talks”) fall into this category.

➡️ Learn how to prepare an excellent thesis defense

The length of time you are allotted for your talk will determine whether you will discuss a single study or multiple studies, and which details to include in your story.

The background and interests of your audience will determine the narrative direction of your talk, and what devices you will use to get their attention. Will you be speaking to people specializing in your field, or will the audience also contain people from disciplines other than your own? To reach non-specialists, you will need to discuss the broader implications of your study outside your field.

The needs of the audience will also determine what technical details you will include, and the language you will use. For example, an undergraduate audience will have different needs than an audience of seasoned academics. Students will require a more comprehensive overview of background information and explanations of jargon but will need less technical methodological details.

Your goal is to speak to the majority. But, make your talk accessible to the least knowledgeable person in the room.

This is called the thesis statement, or simply the “take-home message”. Having listened to your talk, what message do you want the audience to take away from your presentation? Describe the main idea in one or two sentences. You want this theme to be present throughout your presentation. Again, the thesis statement will depend on the audience and the type of talk you are giving.

Your thesis statement will drive the narrative for your talk. By deciding the take-home message you want to convince the audience of as a result of listening to your talk, you decide how the story of your talk will flow and how you will navigate its twists and turns. The thesis statement tells you the results you need to show, which subsequently tells you the methods or studies you need to describe, which decides the angle you take in your introduction.

➡️ Learn how to write a thesis statement

The goal of your talk is that the audience leaves afterward with a clear understanding of the key take-away message of your research. To achieve that goal, you need to tell a coherent, logical story that conveys your thesis statement throughout the presentation. You can tell your story through careful preparation of your talk.

Preparation of a scientific presentation involves three separate stages: outlining the scientific narrative, preparing slides, and practicing your delivery. Making the slides of your talk without first planning what you are going to say is inefficient.

Here, we provide a 4 step guide to writing your scientific presentation:

  • Outline your presentation
  • Plan your presentation slides
  • Make the presentation slides
  • Practice your presentation

4 steps for making a scientific presentation.

Writing an outline helps you consider the key pieces of your talk and how they fit together from the beginning, preventing you from forgetting any important details. It also means you avoid changing the order of your slides multiple times, saving you time.

Plan your talk as discrete sections. In the table below, we describe the sections for a single study talk vs. a talk discussing multiple studies:

The following tips apply when writing the outline of a single study talk. You can easily adapt this framework if you are writing a talk discussing multiple studies.

Introduction: Writing the introduction can be the hardest part of writing a talk. And when giving it, it’s the point where you might be at your most nervous. But preparing a good, concise introduction will settle your nerves.

The introduction tells the audience the story of why you studied your topic. A good introduction succinctly achieves four things, in the following order.

  • It gives a broad perspective on the problem or topic for people in the audience who may be outside your discipline (i.e., it explains the big-picture problem motivating your study).
  • It describes why you did the study, and why the audience should care.
  • It gives a brief indication of how your study addressed the problem and provides the necessary background information that the audience needs to understand your work.
  • It indicates what the audience will learn from the talk, and prepares them for what will come next.

A good introduction not only gives the big picture and motivations behind your study but also concisely sets the stage for what the audience will learn from the talk (e.g., the questions your work answers, and/or the hypotheses that your work tests). The end of the introduction will lead to a natural transition to the methods.

Give a broad perspective on the problem. The easiest way to start with the big picture is to think of a hook for the first slide of your presentation. A hook is an opening that gets the audience’s attention and gets them interested in your story. In science, this might take the form of a why, or a how question, or it could be a statement about a major problem or open question in your field. Other examples of hooks include quotes, short anecdotes, or interesting statistics.

Why should the audience care? Next, decide on the angle you are going to take on your hook that links to the thesis of your talk. In other words, you need to set the context, i.e., explain why the audience should care. For example, you may introduce an observation from nature, a pattern in experimental data, or a theory that you want to test. The audience must understand your motivations for the study.

Supplementary details. Once you have established the hook and angle, you need to include supplementary details to support them. For example, you might state your hypothesis. Then go into previous work and the current state of knowledge. Include citations of these studies. If you need to introduce some technical methodological details, theory, or jargon, do it here.

Conclude your introduction. The motivation for the work and background information should set the stage for the conclusion of the introduction, where you describe the goals of your study, and any hypotheses or predictions. Let the audience know what they are going to learn.

Methods: The audience will use your description of the methods to assess the approach you took in your study and to decide whether your findings are credible. Tell the story of your methods in chronological order. Use visuals to describe your methods as much as possible. If you have equations, make sure to take the time to explain them. Decide what methods to include and how you will show them. You need enough detail so that your audience will understand what you did and therefore can evaluate your approach, but avoid including superfluous details that do not support your main idea. You want to avoid the common mistake of including too much data, as the audience can read the paper(s) later.

Results: This is the evidence you present for your thesis. The audience will use the results to evaluate the support for your main idea. Choose the most important and interesting results—those that support your thesis. You don’t need to present all the results from your study (indeed, you most likely won’t have time to present them all). Break down complex results into digestible pieces, e.g., comparisons over multiple slides (more tips in the next section).

Summary: Summarize your main findings. Displaying your main findings through visuals can be effective. Emphasize the new contributions to scientific knowledge that your work makes.

Conclusion: Complete the circle by relating your conclusions to the big picture topic in your introduction—and your hook, if possible. It’s important to describe any alternative explanations for your findings. You might also speculate on future directions arising from your research. The slides that comprise your conclusion do not need to state “conclusion”. Rather, the concluding slide title should be a declarative sentence linking back to the big picture problem and your main idea.

It’s important to end well by planning a strong closure to your talk, after which you will thank the audience. Your closing statement should relate to your thesis, perhaps by stating it differently or memorably. Avoid ending awkwardly by memorizing your closing sentence.

By now, you have an outline of the story of your talk, which you can use to plan your slides. Your slides should complement and enhance what you will say. Use the following steps to prepare your slides.

  • Write the slide titles to match your talk outline. These should be clear and informative declarative sentences that succinctly give the main idea of the slide (e.g., don’t use “Methods” as a slide title). Have one major idea per slide. In a YouTube talk on designing effective slides , researcher Michael Alley shows examples of instructive slide titles.
  • Decide how you will convey the main idea of the slide (e.g., what figures, photographs, equations, statistics, references, or other elements you will need). The body of the slide should support the slide’s main idea.
  • Under each slide title, outline what you want to say, in bullet points.

In sum, for each slide, prepare a title that summarizes its major idea, a list of visual elements, and a summary of the points you will make. Ensure each slide connects to your thesis. If it doesn’t, then you don’t need the slide.

Slides for scientific presentations have three major components: text (including labels and legends), graphics, and equations. Here, we give tips on how to present each of these components.

  • Have an informative title slide. Include the names of all coauthors and their affiliations. Include an attractive image relating to your study.
  • Make the foreground content of your slides “pop” by using an appropriate background. Slides that have white backgrounds with black text work well for small rooms, whereas slides with black backgrounds and white text are suitable for large rooms.
  • The layout of your slides should be simple. Pay attention to how and where you lay the visual and text elements on each slide. It’s tempting to cram information, but you need lots of empty space. Retain space at the sides and bottom of your slides.
  • Use sans serif fonts with a font size of at least 20 for text, and up to 40 for slide titles. Citations can be in 14 font and should be included at the bottom of the slide.
  • Use bold or italics to emphasize words, not underlines or caps. Keep these effects to a minimum.
  • Use concise text . You don’t need full sentences. Convey the essence of your message in as few words as possible. Write down what you’d like to say, and then shorten it for the slide. Remove unnecessary filler words.
  • Text blocks should be limited to two lines. This will prevent you from crowding too much information on the slide.
  • Include names of technical terms in your talk slides, especially if they are not familiar to everyone in the audience.
  • Include citations for the hypotheses or observations of other scientists.
  • Proofread your slides. Typos and grammatical errors are distracting for your audience.
  • Good figures and graphics are essential to sustain audience interest. Use graphics and photographs to show the experiment or study system in action and to explain abstract concepts.
  • Don’t use figures straight from your paper as they may be too detailed for your talk, and details like axes may be too small. Make new versions if necessary. Make them large enough to be visible from the back of the room.
  • Use graphs to show your results, not tables. Tables are difficult for your audience to digest! If you must present a table, keep it simple.
  • Label the axes of graphs and indicate the units. Label important components of graphics and photographs and include captions. Include sources for graphics that are not your own.
  • Explain all the elements of a graph. This includes the axes, what the colors and markers mean, and patterns in the data.
  • Use colors in figures and text in a meaningful, not random, way. For example, contrasting colors can be effective for pointing out comparisons and/or differences. Don’t use neon colors or pastels.
  • Use thick lines in figures, and use color to create contrasts in the figures you present. Don’t use red/green or red/blue combinations, as color-blind audience members can’t distinguish between them.
  • Arrows or circles can be effective for drawing attention to key details in graphs and equations. Add some text annotations along with them.
  • Write your summary and conclusion slides using graphics, rather than showing a slide with a list of bullet points. Showing some of your results again can be helpful to remind the audience of your message.
  • If your talk has equations, take time to explain them. Include text boxes to explain variables and mathematical terms, and put them under each term in the equation.
  • Combine equations with a graphic that shows the scientific principle, or include a diagram of the mathematical model.
  • Use animations judiciously. They are helpful to reveal complex ideas gradually, for example, if you need to make a comparison or contrast or to build a complicated argument or figure. For lists, reveal one bullet point at a time. New ideas appearing sequentially will help your audience follow your logic.
  • Slide transitions should be simple. Silly ones distract from your message.
  • Decide how you will make the transition as you move from one section of your talk to the next. For example, if you spend time talking through details, provide a summary afterward, especially in a long talk. Another common tactic is to have a “home slide” that you return to multiple times during the talk that reinforces your main idea or message. In her YouTube talk on designing effective scientific presentations , Stanford biologist Susan McConnell suggests using the approach of home slides to build a cohesive narrative.

To deliver a polished presentation, it is essential to practice it. Here are some tips.

  • For your first run-through, practice alone. Pay attention to your narrative. Does your story flow naturally? Do you know how you will start and end? Are there any awkward transitions? Do animations help you tell your story? Do your slides help to convey what you are saying or are they missing components?
  • Next, practice in front of your advisor, and/or your peers (e.g., your lab group). Ask someone to time your talk. Take note of their feedback and the questions that they ask you (you might be asked similar questions during your real talk).
  • Edit your talk, taking into account the feedback you’ve received. Eliminate superfluous slides that don’t contribute to your takeaway message.
  • Practice as many times as needed to memorize the order of your slides and the key transition points of your talk. However, don’t try to learn your talk word for word. Instead, memorize opening and closing statements, and sentences at key junctures in the presentation. Your presentation should resemble a serious but spontaneous conversation with the audience.
  • Practicing multiple times also helps you hone the delivery of your talk. While rehearsing, pay attention to your vocal intonations and speed. Make sure to take pauses while you speak, and make eye contact with your imaginary audience.
  • Make sure your talk finishes within the allotted time, and remember to leave time for questions. Conferences are particularly strict on run time.
  • Anticipate questions and challenges from the audience, and clarify ambiguities within your slides and/or speech in response.
  • If you anticipate that you could be asked questions about details but you don’t have time to include them, or they detract from the main message of your talk, you can prepare slides that address these questions and place them after the final slide of your talk.

➡️ More tips for giving scientific presentations

An organized presentation with a clear narrative will help you communicate your ideas effectively, which is essential for engaging your audience and conveying the importance of your work. Taking time to plan and outline your scientific presentation before writing the slides will help you manage your nerves and feel more confident during the presentation, which will improve your overall performance.

A good scientific presentation has an engaging scientific narrative with a memorable take-home message. It has clear, informative slides that enhance what the speaker says. You need to practice your talk many times to ensure you deliver a polished presentation.

First, consider who will attend your presentation, and what you want the audience to learn about your research. Tailor your content to their level of knowledge and interests. Second, create an outline for your presentation, including the key points you want to make and the evidence you will use to support those points. Finally, practice your presentation several times to ensure that it flows smoothly and that you are comfortable with the material.

Prepare an opening that immediately gets the audience’s attention. A common device is a why or a how question, or a statement of a major open problem in your field, but you could also start with a quote, interesting statistic, or case study from your field.

Scientific presentations typically either focus on a single study (e.g., a 15-minute conference presentation) or tell the story of multiple studies (e.g., a PhD defense or 50-minute conference keynote talk). For a single study talk, the structure follows the scientific paper format: Introduction, Methods, Results, Summary, and Conclusion, whereas the format of a talk discussing multiple studies is more complex, but a theme unifies the studies.

Ensure you have one major idea per slide, and convey that idea clearly (through images, equations, statistics, citations, video, etc.). The slide should include a title that summarizes the major point of the slide, should not contain too much text or too many graphics, and color should be used meaningfully.

structure of a research presentation

Home Blog Presentation Ideas How to Create and Deliver a Research Presentation

How to Create and Deliver a Research Presentation

Cover for Research Presentation Guide

Every research endeavor ends up with the communication of its findings. Graduate-level research culminates in a thesis defense , while many academic and scientific disciplines are published in peer-reviewed journals. In a business context, PowerPoint research presentation is the default format for reporting the findings to stakeholders.

Condensing months of work into a few slides can prove to be challenging. It requires particular skills to create and deliver a research presentation that promotes informed decisions and drives long-term projects forward.

Table of Contents

What is a Research Presentation

Key slides for creating a research presentation, tips when delivering a research presentation, how to present sources in a research presentation, recommended templates to create a research presentation.

A research presentation is the communication of research findings, typically delivered to an audience of peers, colleagues, students, or professionals. In the academe, it is meant to showcase the importance of the research paper , state the findings and the analysis of those findings, and seek feedback that could further the research.

The presentation of research becomes even more critical in the business world as the insights derived from it are the basis of strategic decisions of organizations. Information from this type of report can aid companies in maximizing the sales and profit of their business. Major projects such as research and development (R&D) in a new field, the launch of a new product or service, or even corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives will require the presentation of research findings to prove their feasibility.

Market research and technical research are examples of business-type research presentations you will commonly encounter.

In this article, we’ve compiled all the essential tips, including some examples and templates, to get you started with creating and delivering a stellar research presentation tailored specifically for the business context.

Various research suggests that the average attention span of adults during presentations is around 20 minutes, with a notable drop in an engagement at the 10-minute mark . Beyond that, you might see your audience doing other things.

How can you avoid such a mistake? The answer lies in the adage “keep it simple, stupid” or KISS. We don’t mean dumbing down your content but rather presenting it in a way that is easily digestible and accessible to your audience. One way you can do this is by organizing your research presentation using a clear structure.

Here are the slides you should prioritize when creating your research presentation PowerPoint.

1.  Title Page

The title page is the first thing your audience will see during your presentation, so put extra effort into it to make an impression. Of course, writing presentation titles and title pages will vary depending on the type of presentation you are to deliver. In the case of a research presentation, you want a formal and academic-sounding one. It should include:

  • The full title of the report
  • The date of the report
  • The name of the researchers or department in charge of the report
  • The name of the organization for which the presentation is intended

When writing the title of your research presentation, it should reflect the topic and objective of the report. Focus only on the subject and avoid adding redundant phrases like “A research on” or “A study on.” However, you may use phrases like “Market Analysis” or “Feasibility Study” because they help identify the purpose of the presentation. Doing so also serves a long-term purpose for the filing and later retrieving of the document.

Here’s a sample title page for a hypothetical market research presentation from Gillette .

Title slide in a Research Presentation

2. Executive Summary Slide

The executive summary marks the beginning of the body of the presentation, briefly summarizing the key discussion points of the research. Specifically, the summary may state the following:

  • The purpose of the investigation and its significance within the organization’s goals
  • The methods used for the investigation
  • The major findings of the investigation
  • The conclusions and recommendations after the investigation

Although the executive summary encompasses the entry of the research presentation, it should not dive into all the details of the work on which the findings, conclusions, and recommendations were based. Creating the executive summary requires a focus on clarity and brevity, especially when translating it to a PowerPoint document where space is limited.

Each point should be presented in a clear and visually engaging manner to capture the audience’s attention and set the stage for the rest of the presentation. Use visuals, bullet points, and minimal text to convey information efficiently.

Executive Summary slide in a Research Presentation

3. Introduction/ Project Description Slides

In this section, your goal is to provide your audience with the information that will help them understand the details of the presentation. Provide a detailed description of the project, including its goals, objectives, scope, and methods for gathering and analyzing data.

You want to answer these fundamental questions:

  • What specific questions are you trying to answer, problems you aim to solve, or opportunities you seek to explore?
  • Why is this project important, and what prompted it?
  • What are the boundaries of your research or initiative? 
  • How were the data gathered?

Important: The introduction should exclude specific findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Action Evaluation Matrix in a Research Presentation

4. Data Presentation and Analyses Slides

This is the longest section of a research presentation, as you’ll present the data you’ve gathered and provide a thorough analysis of that data to draw meaningful conclusions. The format and components of this section can vary widely, tailored to the specific nature of your research.

For example, if you are doing market research, you may include the market potential estimate, competitor analysis, and pricing analysis. These elements will help your organization determine the actual viability of a market opportunity.

Visual aids like charts, graphs, tables, and diagrams are potent tools to convey your key findings effectively. These materials may be numbered and sequenced (Figure 1, Figure 2, and so forth), accompanied by text to make sense of the insights.

Data and Analysis slide in a Research Presentation

5. Conclusions

The conclusion of a research presentation is where you pull together the ideas derived from your data presentation and analyses in light of the purpose of the research. For example, if the objective is to assess the market of a new product, the conclusion should determine the requirements of the market in question and tell whether there is a product-market fit.

Designing your conclusion slide should be straightforward and focused on conveying the key takeaways from your research. Keep the text concise and to the point. Present it in bullet points or numbered lists to make the content easily scannable.

Conclusion Slide in a Research Presentation

6. Recommendations

The findings of your research might reveal elements that may not align with your initial vision or expectations. These deviations are addressed in the recommendations section of your presentation, which outlines the best course of action based on the result of the research.

What emerging markets should we target next? Do we need to rethink our pricing strategies? Which professionals should we hire for this special project? — these are some of the questions that may arise when coming up with this part of the research.

Recommendations may be combined with the conclusion, but presenting them separately to reinforce their urgency. In the end, the decision-makers in the organization or your clients will make the final call on whether to accept or decline the recommendations.

Recommendations slide in Research Presentation

7. Questions Slide

Members of your audience are not involved in carrying out your research activity, which means there’s a lot they don’t know about its details. By offering an opportunity for questions, you can invite them to bridge that gap, seek clarification, and engage in a dialogue that enhances their understanding.

If your research is more business-oriented, facilitating a question and answer after your presentation becomes imperative as it’s your final appeal to encourage buy-in for your recommendations.

A simple “Ask us anything” slide can indicate that you are ready to accept questions.

1. Focus on the Most Important Findings

The truth about presenting research findings is that your audience doesn’t need to know everything. Instead, they should receive a distilled, clear, and meaningful overview that focuses on the most critical aspects.

You will likely have to squeeze in the oral presentation of your research into a 10 to 20-minute presentation, so you have to make the most out of the time given to you. In the presentation, don’t soak in the less important elements like historical backgrounds. Decision-makers might even ask you to skip these portions and focus on sharing the findings.

2. Do Not Read Word-per-word

Reading word-for-word from your presentation slides intensifies the danger of losing your audience’s interest. Its effect can be detrimental, especially if the purpose of your research presentation is to gain approval from the audience. So, how can you avoid this mistake?

  • Make a conscious design decision to keep the text on your slides minimal. Your slides should serve as visual cues to guide your presentation.
  • Structure your presentation as a narrative or story. Stories are more engaging and memorable than dry, factual information.
  • Prepare speaker notes with the key points of your research. Glance at it when needed.
  • Engage with the audience by maintaining eye contact and asking rhetorical questions.

3. Don’t Go Without Handouts

Handouts are paper copies of your presentation slides that you distribute to your audience. They typically contain the summary of your key points, but they may also provide supplementary information supporting data presented through tables and graphs.

The purpose of distributing presentation handouts is to easily retain the key points you presented as they become good references in the future. Distributing handouts in advance allows your audience to review the material and come prepared with questions or points for discussion during the presentation.

4. Actively Listen

An equally important skill that a presenter must possess aside from speaking is the ability to listen. We are not just talking about listening to what the audience is saying but also considering their reactions and nonverbal cues. If you sense disinterest or confusion, you can adapt your approach on the fly to re-engage them.

For example, if some members of your audience are exchanging glances, they may be skeptical of the research findings you are presenting. This is the best time to reassure them of the validity of your data and provide a concise overview of how it came to be. You may also encourage them to seek clarification.

5. Be Confident

Anxiety can strike before a presentation – it’s a common reaction whenever someone has to speak in front of others. If you can’t eliminate your stress, try to manage it.

People hate public speaking not because they simply hate it. Most of the time, it arises from one’s belief in themselves. You don’t have to take our word for it. Take Maslow’s theory that says a threat to one’s self-esteem is a source of distress among an individual.

Now, how can you master this feeling? You’ve spent a lot of time on your research, so there is no question about your topic knowledge. Perhaps you just need to rehearse your research presentation. If you know what you will say and how to say it, you will gain confidence in presenting your work.

All sources you use in creating your research presentation should be given proper credit. The APA Style is the most widely used citation style in formal research.

In-text citation

Add references within the text of your presentation slide by giving the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number (if applicable) in parentheses after direct quotations or paraphrased materials. As in:

The alarming rate at which global temperatures rise directly impacts biodiversity (Smith, 2020, p. 27).

If the author’s name and year of publication are mentioned in the text, add only the page number in parentheses after the quotations or paraphrased materials. As in:

According to Smith (2020), the alarming rate at which global temperatures rise directly impacts biodiversity (p. 27).

Image citation

All images from the web, including photos, graphs, and tables, used in your slides should be credited using the format below.

Creator’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Image.” Website Name, Day Mo. Year, URL. Accessed Day Mo. Year.

Work cited page

A work cited page or reference list should follow after the last slide of your presentation. The list should be alphabetized by the author’s last name and initials followed by the year of publication, the title of the book or article, the place of publication, and the publisher. As in:

Smith, J. A. (2020). Climate Change and Biodiversity: A Comprehensive Study. New York, NY: ABC Publications.

When citing a document from a website, add the source URL after the title of the book or article instead of the place of publication and the publisher. As in:

Smith, J. A. (2020). Climate Change and Biodiversity: A Comprehensive Study. Retrieved from

1. Research Project Presentation PowerPoint Template

structure of a research presentation

A slide deck containing 18 different slides intended to take off the weight of how to make a research presentation. With tons of visual aids, presenters can reference existing research on similar projects to this one – or link another research presentation example – provide an accurate data analysis, disclose the methodology used, and much more.

Use This Template

2. Research Presentation Scientific Method Diagram PowerPoint Template

structure of a research presentation

Whenever you intend to raise questions, expose the methodology you used for your research, or even suggest a scientific method approach for future analysis, this circular wheel diagram is a perfect fit for any presentation study.

Customize all of its elements to suit the demands of your presentation in just minutes.

3. Thesis Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Layout of Results in Charts

If your research presentation project belongs to academia, then this is the slide deck to pair that presentation. With a formal aesthetic and minimalistic style, this research presentation template focuses only on exposing your information as clearly as possible.

Use its included bar charts and graphs to introduce data, change the background of each slide to suit the topic of your presentation, and customize each of its elements to meet the requirements of your project with ease.

4. Animated Research Cards PowerPoint Template

structure of a research presentation

Visualize ideas and their connection points with the help of this research card template for PowerPoint. This slide deck, for example, can help speakers talk about alternative concepts to what they are currently managing and its possible outcomes, among different other usages this versatile PPT template has. Zoom Animation effects make a smooth transition between cards (or ideas).

5. Research Presentation Slide Deck for PowerPoint

structure of a research presentation

With a distinctive professional style, this research presentation PPT template helps business professionals and academics alike to introduce the findings of their work to team members or investors.

By accessing this template, you get the following slides:

  • Introduction
  • Problem Statement
  • Research Questions
  • Conceptual Research Framework (Concepts, Theories, Actors, & Constructs)
  • Study design and methods
  • Population & Sampling
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis

Check it out today and craft a powerful research presentation out of it!

A successful research presentation in business is not just about presenting data; it’s about persuasion to take meaningful action. It’s the bridge that connects your research efforts to the strategic initiatives of your organization. To embark on this journey successfully, planning your presentation thoroughly is paramount, from designing your PowerPoint to the delivery.

Take a look and get inspiration from the sample research presentation slides above, put our tips to heart, and transform your research findings into a compelling call to action.

structure of a research presentation

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structure of a research presentation

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Oral Presentation Structure

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Finally, presentations normally include interaction in the form of questions and answers. This is a great opportunity to provide whatever additional information the audience desires. For fear of omitting something important, most speakers try to say too much in their presentations. A better approach is to be selective in the presentation itself and to allow enough time for questions and answers and, of course, to prepare well by anticipating the questions the audience might have.

As a consequence, and even more strongly than papers, presentations can usefully break the chronology typically used for reporting research. Instead of presenting everything that was done in the order in which it was done, a presentation should focus on getting a main message across in theorem-proof fashion — that is, by stating this message early and then presenting evidence to support it. Identifying this main message early in the preparation process is the key to being selective in your presentation. For example, when reporting on materials and methods, include only those details you think will help convince the audience of your main message — usually little, and sometimes nothing at all.

The opening

  • The context as such is best replaced by an attention getter , which is a way to both get everyone's attention fast and link the topic with what the audience already knows (this link provides a more audience-specific form of context).
  • The object of the document is here best called the preview because it outlines the body of the presentation. Still, the aim of this element is unchanged — namely, preparing the audience for the structure of the body.
  • The opening of a presentation can best state the presentation's main message , just before the preview. The main message is the one sentence you want your audience to remember, if they remember only one. It is your main conclusion, perhaps stated in slightly less technical detail than at the end of your presentation.

In other words, include the following five items in your opening: attention getter , need , task , main message , and preview .

Even if you think of your presentation's body as a tree, you will still deliver the body as a sequence in time — unavoidably, one of your main points will come first, one will come second, and so on. Organize your main points and subpoints into a logical sequence, and reveal this sequence and its logic to your audience with transitions between points and between subpoints. As a rule, place your strongest arguments first and last, and place any weaker arguments between these stronger ones.

The closing

After supporting your main message with evidence in the body, wrap up your oral presentation in three steps: a review , a conclusion , and a close . First, review the main points in your body to help the audience remember them and to prepare the audience for your conclusion. Next, conclude by restating your main message (in more detail now that the audience has heard the body) and complementing it with any other interpretations of your findings. Finally, close the presentation by indicating elegantly and unambiguously to your audience that these are your last words.

Starting and ending forcefully

Revealing your presentation's structure.

To be able to give their full attention to content, audience members need structure — in other words, they need a map of some sort (a table of contents, an object of the document, a preview), and they need to know at any time where they are on that map. A written document includes many visual clues to its structure: section headings, blank lines or indentations indicating paragraphs, and so on. In contrast, an oral presentation has few visual clues. Therefore, even when it is well structured, attendees may easily get lost because they do not see this structure. As a speaker, make sure you reveal your presentation's structure to the audience, with a preview , transitions , and a review .

The preview provides the audience with a map. As in a paper, it usefully comes at the end of the opening (not too early, that is) and outlines the body, not the entire presentation. In other words, it needs to include neither the introduction (which has already been delivered) nor the conclusion (which is obvious). In a presentation with slides, it can usefully show the structure of the body on screen. A slide alone is not enough, however: You must also verbally explain the logic of the body. In addition, the preview should be limited to the main points of the presentation; subpoints can be previewed, if needed, at the beginning of each main point.

Transitions are crucial elements for revealing a presentation's structure, yet they are often underestimated. As a speaker, you obviously know when you are moving from one main point of a presentation to another — but for attendees, these shifts are never obvious. Often, attendees are so involved with a presentation's content that they have no mental attention left to guess at its structure. Tell them where you are in the course of a presentation, while linking the points. One way to do so is to wrap up one point then announce the next by creating a need for it: "So, this is the microstructure we observe consistently in the absence of annealing. But how does it change if we anneal the sample at 450°C for an hour or more? That's my next point. Here is . . . "

Similarly, a review of the body plays an important double role. First, while a good body helps attendees understand the evidence, a review helps them remember it. Second, by recapitulating all the evidence, the review effectively prepares attendees for the conclusion. Accordingly, make time for a review: Resist the temptation to try to say too much, so that you are forced to rush — and to sacrifice the review — at the end.

Ideally, your preview, transitions, and review are well integrated into the presentation. As a counterexample, a preview that says, "First, I am going to talk about . . . , then I will say a few words about . . . and finally . . . " is self-centered and mechanical: It does not tell a story. Instead, include your audience (perhaps with a collective we ) and show the logic of your structure in view of your main message.

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Structure of a Research Presentation


  • Engage the audience
  • Focus the presentation
  • Preview the presentation’s structure or content

For each major section of your presentation, follow the “4 S Structure” 1 :

  • Signpost the point (“First I'm going to point out the problem with...” “My second argument is that...” “Now let me explain my methodology.”)
  • State the point clearly and succinctly
  • Support the point with data, cases, description, relevant studies, etc.
  • Summarize the point
  • Summarize and refocus
  • Audience questions

For more details on structural and content elements, see Engaging Your Audience .  

1 Adapted from Joyce Ferguson, "Speaking Across the Curriculum at UNCG," in Communication Across the UNCG Curriculum: A Guide for Faculty , ed. Karen Meyers, University of North Carolina— Greensboro, 2002.

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Creating a 10-15 Minute Scientific Presentation

In the course of your career as a scientist, you will be asked to give brief presentations -- to colleagues, lab groups, and in other venues. We have put together a series of short videos to help you organize and deliver a crisp 10-15 minute scientific presentation.

First is a two part set of videos that walks you through organizing a presentation.

Part 1 - Creating an Introduction for a 10-15 Minute Scientfic Presentation

Part 2 - Creating the Body of a 10-15 Minute Presentation: Design/Methods; Data Results, Conclusions

Two additional videos should prove useful:

Designing PowerPoint Slides for a Scientific Presentation walks you through the key principles in designing powerful, easy to read slides.

Delivering a Presentation provides tips and approaches to help you put your best foot forward when you stand up in front of a group.

Other resources include:


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How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

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A research paper presentation is often used at conferences and in other settings where you have an opportunity to share your research, and get feedback from your colleagues. Although it may seem as simple as summarizing your research and sharing your knowledge, successful research paper PowerPoint presentation examples show us that there’s a little bit more than that involved.

In this article, we’ll highlight how to make a PowerPoint presentation from a research paper, and what to include (as well as what NOT to include). We’ll also touch on how to present a research paper at a conference.

Purpose of a Research Paper Presentation

The purpose of presenting your paper at a conference or forum is different from the purpose of conducting your research and writing up your paper. In this setting, you want to highlight your work instead of including every detail of your research. Likewise, a presentation is an excellent opportunity to get direct feedback from your colleagues in the field. But, perhaps the main reason for presenting your research is to spark interest in your work, and entice the audience to read your research paper.

So, yes, your presentation should summarize your work, but it needs to do so in a way that encourages your audience to seek out your work, and share their interest in your work with others. It’s not enough just to present your research dryly, to get information out there. More important is to encourage engagement with you, your research, and your work.

Tips for Creating Your Research Paper Presentation

In addition to basic PowerPoint presentation recommendations, which we’ll cover later in this article, think about the following when you’re putting together your research paper presentation:

  • Know your audience : First and foremost, who are you presenting to? Students? Experts in your field? Potential funders? Non-experts? The truth is that your audience will probably have a bit of a mix of all of the above. So, make sure you keep that in mind as you prepare your presentation.

Know more about: Discover the Target Audience .

  • Your audience is human : In other words, they may be tired, they might be wondering why they’re there, and they will, at some point, be tuning out. So, take steps to help them stay interested in your presentation. You can do that by utilizing effective visuals, summarize your conclusions early, and keep your research easy to understand.
  • Running outline : It’s not IF your audience will drift off, or get lost…it’s WHEN. Keep a running outline, either within the presentation or via a handout. Use visual and verbal clues to highlight where you are in the presentation.
  • Where does your research fit in? You should know of work related to your research, but you don’t have to cite every example. In addition, keep references in your presentation to the end, or in the handout. Your audience is there to hear about your work.
  • Plan B : Anticipate possible questions for your presentation, and prepare slides that answer those specific questions in more detail, but have them at the END of your presentation. You can then jump to them, IF needed.

What Makes a PowerPoint Presentation Effective?

You’ve probably attended a presentation where the presenter reads off of their PowerPoint outline, word for word. Or where the presentation is busy, disorganized, or includes too much information. Here are some simple tips for creating an effective PowerPoint Presentation.

  • Less is more: You want to give enough information to make your audience want to read your paper. So include details, but not too many, and avoid too many formulas and technical jargon.
  • Clean and professional : Avoid excessive colors, distracting backgrounds, font changes, animations, and too many words. Instead of whole paragraphs, bullet points with just a few words to summarize and highlight are best.
  • Know your real-estate : Each slide has a limited amount of space. Use it wisely. Typically one, no more than two points per slide. Balance each slide visually. Utilize illustrations when needed; not extraneously.
  • Keep things visual : Remember, a PowerPoint presentation is a powerful tool to present things visually. Use visual graphs over tables and scientific illustrations over long text. Keep your visuals clean and professional, just like any text you include in your presentation.

Know more about our Scientific Illustrations Services .

Another key to an effective presentation is to practice, practice, and then practice some more. When you’re done with your PowerPoint, go through it with friends and colleagues to see if you need to add (or delete excessive) information. Double and triple check for typos and errors. Know the presentation inside and out, so when you’re in front of your audience, you’ll feel confident and comfortable.

How to Present a Research Paper

If your PowerPoint presentation is solid, and you’ve practiced your presentation, that’s half the battle. Follow the basic advice to keep your audience engaged and interested by making eye contact, encouraging questions, and presenting your information with enthusiasm.

We encourage you to read our articles on how to present a scientific journal article and tips on giving good scientific presentations .

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Research Voyage

Research Tips and Infromation

12 Proven Tips to Make an Effective Research Presentation as an Invited Speaker


Tips to Make an Effective Research Presentation

Research presentation tip #1: start confidently, research presentation tip #2: eye to eye contact with the audience, research presentation tip #3: welcome your audience, research presentation tip #4: adjust your voice.

  •  Research Presentation Tip #5: Memorize your Opening Line
  • Research Presentation Tip #6:  Use the words  “ 'Think for while', 'Imagine', 'Think of', 'Close Your Eyes' ”

Research Presentation Tip #7: Story Telling

Research presentation tip #8: facts and statistics.

  • Research Presentation Tip #9: Power of "Pause"

Research Presentation Tip #10: Quote a Great Researcher

Research presentation tip #11: begin with a video, research presentation tip #12: avoid using filler words, side benefits of giving great research presentations, how should i dress for my invited talk at a research conference, can i share my conference presentation slides after my talk with the audience, shall i entertain questions in between my presentation as an invited speaker to a research conference, can you give some tips for a successful q&a session:.

  • How to handle questions where I don't know the answers in my presentation?


As an invited speaker, delivering an effective research presentation is essential to engage and inform your audience. A well-crafted presentation can help you communicate your research findings, ideas, and insights in a clear, concise, and engaging manner.

However, many presenters face challenges when it comes to delivering a successful presentation. Some of these challenges include nervousness, lack of confidence, and difficulty connecting with the audience.

In this article, we will discuss tips to help you make an effective research presentation as an invited speaker. We will cover strategies to prepare for your presentation, ways to deliver your presentation with confidence and impact, and common mistakes to avoid. By following these tips, you can improve your presentation skills and create a compelling and engaging talk that resonates with your audience.
  • Tip 1: Start confidently
  • Tip 2: Eye To Eye Contact With the Audience
  • Tip 3: Welcome Your Audience
  • Tip 4: Adjust your Voice
  • Tip 5: Memorize your Opening Line
  • Tip 6:  Use the words  “ ‘Think for while’, ‘Imagine’, ‘Think of’, ‘Close Your Eyes’ ”
  • Tip 7: Story Telling
  • Tip 8: Facts and Statistics
  • Tip 9: Power of “Pause”
  • Tip 10: Quote a Great Researcher
  • Tip 11: Begin with a Video
  • Tip 12: Avoid using Filler Words

Starting your presentation confidently is essential as it sets the tone for the rest of your presentation. It will help you grab your audience’s attention and make them more receptive to your message. Here are a few ways you can start confidently.

  • Begin with a self-introduction: Introduce yourself to the audience and establish your credibility. Briefly mention your educational background, your professional experience, and any relevant achievements that make you an authority on the topic. For example, “Good morning everyone, my name is John and I’m a researcher at XYZ University. I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology, and my research has been published in several reputable journals.”
  • Introduce the topic: Clearly state the purpose of your presentation and provide a brief overview of what you’ll be discussing. This helps the audience understand the context of your research and what they can expect from your presentation. For example, “Today, I’ll be presenting my research on the role of DNA repair mechanisms in cancer development. I’ll be discussing the current state of knowledge in this field, the methods we used to conduct our research and the novel insights we’ve gained from our findings.”
  • Start with a strong opening statement: Once you’ve introduced yourself and the topic, start your presentation confidently with a statement that captures the audience’s attention and makes them curious to hear more. As mentioned earlier, you could use a strong opening statement, a powerful visual aid, or show enthusiasm for your research. For example:
  • “Have you ever wondered how artificial intelligence can be used to predict user behaviour? Today, I’ll be sharing my research on the latest AI algorithms and their potential applications in the field of e-commerce.”
  • “Imagine a world where cybersecurity threats no longer exist. My research is focused on developing advanced security measures that can protect your data from even the most sophisticated attacks.”
  • “Think for a moment about the amount of data we generate every day. My research focuses on how we can use machine learning algorithms to extract meaningful insights from this vast amount of data, and ultimately drive innovation in industries ranging from healthcare to finance.”

By following these steps, you’ll be able to start your research presentation confidently, establish your credibility and expertise, and create interest in your topic.

Speaking confidently as an invited speaker can be a daunting task, but there are ways to prepare and feel more confident. One such way is through practising yoga. Yoga is a great tool for reducing stress and anxiety, which can be major barriers to confident public speaking.

By practising yoga, you can learn to control your breathing, calm your mind, and increase your focus and concentration. All of these skills can help you feel more centred and confident when it’s time to give your presentation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of yoga, check out our blog post on the subject YOGA: The Ultimate Productivity Hack for Ph.D. Research Scholars and Researchers .

If you’re ready to dive deeper and start your own yoga practice, be sure to download my e-book on :

Unlock Your Research Potential Through Yoga: A Research Scholar’s Companion

A large number of audiences in the presentation hall make you feel jittery and lose your confidence in no time. This happens because you are seeing many of the audience for the first time and you don’t know their background and their knowledge of the subject in which you are presenting.

The best way to overcome this fear is to go and attack the fear itself. That is come at least 10-15 minutes early to the conference room and start interacting with the people over there. This short span of connectivity with a few of the audience will release your tension.

When you occupy the stage for presenting,  the first thing you need to do is gaze around the room,  establish one-to-one eye contact, and give a confident smile to your audience whom you had just met before the start of the presentation.

Just gazing around the presentation hall will make you feel connected to everyone in the hall. Internally within your mind choose one of the audience and turn towards him/her make eye contact and deliver a few sentences, then proceed to the next audience and repeat the same set of steps.

This will make everyone in the room feel that you are talking directly to them. Make the audience feel that you are engaging with them personally for this topic, which makes them invest fully in your topic.

The third tip for making an effective research presentation is to welcome your audience. This means taking a few minutes to greet your audience, introduce yourself, and set the tone for your presentation. Here are a few ways you can welcome your audience:

  • Greet your audience: Start by greeting your audience with a smile and a warm welcome. This will help you establish a connection with your audience and put them at ease.
  • Introduce yourself: Introduce yourself to the audience and give a brief background on your expertise and how it relates to your presentation. This will help your audience understand your qualifications and why you’re the right person to be delivering the presentation.
  • Explain the purpose of your presentation: Explain to your audience why you’re presenting your research and what they can expect to learn from your presentation. This will help your audience understand the context of your research and what they can expect from your presentation.
  • Set the tone: Set the tone for your presentation by giving a brief overview of your presentation structure and what your audience can expect throughout your presentation. This will help your audience understand what to expect and keep them engaged.

Here are a few examples of how you can welcome your audience:

  • If you’re presenting to a group of industry professionals, welcome them by acknowledging their expertise and experience. This will show that you value their knowledge and experience.
  • If you’re presenting to a group of students or academics, welcome them by acknowledging their interest in your research area. This will help you establish a connection with your audience and show that you’re excited to share your research with them.
  • If you’re presenting to a mixed audience, welcome them by acknowledging their diversity and the different perspectives they bring to the presentation. This will help you set an inclusive tone and show that you’re open to different viewpoints.

Overall, welcoming your audience is an important aspect of delivering an effective research presentation. It helps you establish a connection with your audience, set the tone for your presentation, and keep your audience engaged throughout your presentation.

In my earlier days of presentations, I just used to go on stage and start my presentations without greeting anyone. Later I learned stage etiquette with the help of my fellow research scholars and underwent  professional etiquette courses .

The fourth tip for making an effective research presentation is to adjust your voice. This means using your voice effectively to convey your message and engage your audience. Here are a few ways you can adjust your voice during your research presentation:

  • Speak clearly: Speak clearly and enunciate your words so that your audience can understand what you’re saying. Avoid speaking too fast or mumbling, which can make it difficult for your audience to follow your presentation.
  • Use a varied pace: Use a varied pace to keep your audience engaged. Speak slowly and clearly when you’re making important points, and speed up when you’re discussing less important points. This will help you maintain your audience’s attention throughout your presentation.
  • Use a varied pitch: Use a varied pitch to convey emotion and emphasize important points. Lower your pitch when you’re discussing serious or important topics, and raise your pitch when you’re excited or enthusiastic.
  • Use pauses: Use pauses to emphasize important points and give your audience time to reflect on what you’re saying. Pausing also helps to break up your presentation and make it easier for your audience to follow.

Here are a few examples of how you can adjust your voice during your research presentation:

  • If you’re discussing a complex or technical topic, speak slowly and clearly so that your audience can understand what you’re saying. Use pauses to emphasize important points and give your audience time to reflect on what you’re saying.
  • If you’re discussing an exciting or enthusiastic topic, raise your pitch and use a varied pace to convey your excitement to your audience. This will help you engage your audience and keep them interested in your presentation.
  • If you’re discussing a serious or emotional topic, lower your pitch and use a slower pace to convey the gravity of the situation. Use pauses to emphasize important points and give your audience time to process what you’re saying.

Overall, adjusting your voice is an important aspect of delivering an effective research presentation. It helps you convey your message clearly, engage your audience, and keep their attention throughout your presentation.

Many researchers are less talkative and speak with a very low voice and this makes their concepts unheard by other researchers. To overcome this drawback, they go for  vocal coaching  to improve their voice modulation.

 Research Presentation Tip #5: Memorize your Opening Line

The fifth tip for making an effective research presentation is to memorize your opening line. This means having a powerful and memorable opening line that will grab your audience’s attention and set the tone for your presentation. Here are a few ways you can create a memorable opening line:

  • Use a quote or statistic: Start your presentation with a powerful quote or statistic that relates to your research. This will grab your audience’s attention and show them why your research is important.
  • Use a story or anecdote: Use a personal story or anecdote to illustrate the importance of your research. This will help you connect with your audience on an emotional level and show them why your research is relevant to their lives.
  • Ask a question: Ask your audience a thought-provoking question that relates to your research. This will help you engage your audience and get them thinking about your topic.

Once you’ve created a memorable opening line, it’s important to memorize it so that you can deliver it confidently and without hesitation. Here are a few examples of powerful opening lines:

  • “In the United States, someone dies of a drug overdose every seven minutes. Today, I want to talk to you about the opioid epidemic and what we can do to prevent it.”
  • “When I was a child, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Today, I want to share with you the latest research on Alzheimer’s and what we can do to slow its progression.”
  • “Have you ever wondered why some people are more resilient than others? Today, I want to talk to you about the science of resilience and how we can use it to overcome adversity.”

Overall, memorizing your opening line is an important aspect of delivering an effective research presentation. It helps you grab your audience’s attention, set the tone for your presentation, and establish your credibility as a speaker.

Remembering the concepts at the right time and in the right sequence is critical for every researcher. Few of my research scholars face the problem of forgetting everything once they reach the stage for presentation. To overcome this difficulty I gift them with one of my favourite books on improving memory power:    “Limitless  by Jim Quick” .  This book has changed many lives. You can also try.

Research Presentation Tip #6:  Use the words  “ ‘Think for while’, ‘Imagine’, ‘Think of’, ‘Close Your Eyes’ ”

The sixth tip for making an effective research presentation is to use specific phrases that encourage your audience to think, imagine, and engage with your presentation. Here are a few examples of phrases you can use to encourage your audience to engage with your presentation:

  • “Think for a moment about…” This phrase encourages your audience to reflect on a particular point or idea that you’ve just discussed. For example, “Think for a moment about the impact that climate change is having on our planet.”
  • “Imagine that…” This phrase encourages your audience to visualize a particular scenario or idea. For example, “Imagine that you’re living in a world without access to clean water. How would your daily life be affected?”
  • “Think of a time when…” This phrase encourages your audience to reflect on their own experiences and relate them to your presentation. For example, “Think of a time when you felt overwhelmed at work. How did you manage that stress?”
  • “Close your eyes and picture…” This phrase encourages your audience to use their imagination to visualize a particular scenario or idea. For example, “Close your eyes and picture a world without poverty. What would that look like?”

By using these phrases, you can encourage your audience to actively engage with your presentation and think more deeply about your research. Here are a few examples of how you might incorporate these phrases into your presentation:

  • “Think for a moment about the impact that our use of plastics is having on our environment. Each year, millions of tons of plastic end up in our oceans, harming marine life and polluting our planet.”
  • “Imagine that you’re a scientist working to develop a cure for a deadly disease. What kind of research would you conduct, and what challenges might you face?”
  • “Think of a time when you had to overcome a significant challenge. How did you persevere, and what lessons did you learn from that experience?”
  • “Close your eyes and picture a world where renewable energy is our primary source of power. What benefits would this have for our planet, and how can we work together to make this a reality?”

Overall, using phrases that encourage your audience to think and engage with your presentation is an effective way to make your research presentation more impactful and memorable.

The seventh tip for making an effective research presentation is to incorporate storytelling into your presentation. Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with your audience, illustrate your points, and make your research more engaging and memorable.

People love stories, but your story has to be relevant to your research. You can craft a story about an experience you had and tell how you could able to define your research problem based on the experience you had.  This makes your presentation both interesting and incorporates information about the work you are carrying out. 

Storytelling or sharing your own experience is the best way to connect with your audience.  Many researchers use this technique and it remains one of the most critical pieces to becoming an effective presenter.

Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate storytelling into your presentation:

  • Personal stories: Use a personal story to illustrate the importance of your research. For example, if you’re researching a new cancer treatment, you might share a story about a friend or family member who has been affected by cancer. This personal connection can help your audience relate to your research on a more emotional level.
  • Case studies: Use a case study to illustrate how your research has been applied in the real world. For example, if you’re researching the impact of a new educational program, you might share a case study about a school that has implemented the program and seen positive results.
  • Historical examples: Use a historical example to illustrate the significance of your research. For example, if you’re researching the impact of climate change, you might share a story about the Dust Bowl of the 1930s to illustrate the devastating effects of drought and soil erosion.
  • Analogies: Use an analogy to explain complex concepts or ideas. For example, if you’re researching the workings of the brain, you might use the analogy of a computer to help your audience understand how neurons communicate with each other.

By incorporating storytelling into your presentation, you can help your audience connect with your research on a more personal level and make your presentation more memorable. Here are a few examples of how you might incorporate storytelling into your presentation:

  • “When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I felt helpless and afraid. But thanks to the groundbreaking research that is being done in this field, we now have more treatment options than ever before. Today, I want to share with you the latest research on cancer treatments and what we can do to support those who are fighting this disease.”
  • “Imagine for a moment that you’re a small business owner trying to grow your online presence. You’ve heard that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for driving traffic to your website, but you’re not sure where to start. That’s where my research comes in. By analyzing millions of search queries, I’ve identified the key factors that search engines use to rank websites. Using this information, I’ve developed a new algorithm that can help businesses like yours optimize their websites for better search engine rankings. Imagine being able to reach more customers and grow your business, all thanks to this new algorithm. That’s the power of my research.”

In these examples, the speaker is using storytelling to help the audience understand the real-world impact of their research in a relatable way. By framing the research in terms of a relatable scenario, the speaker is able to engage the audience and make the research feel more relevant to their lives. Additionally, by highlighting the practical applications of the research, the speaker is able to demonstrate the value of the research in a tangible way.

Here I recommend without any second thought “ Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals  ” by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic. This is one of the powerful techniques to showcase data in the form of graphs and charts.

The eighth tip for making an effective research presentation is to incorporate facts and statistics into your presentation. Facts and statistics can help you communicate the significance of your research and make it more compelling to your audience.

Make your audience curious about your topic with a fact they didn’t know. Explaining the importance of your topic to your audience is essential. Showcasing data and statistics to prove a point remains a critical strategy not just at the beginning but also throughout.  Statistics can be mind-numbing but if there is some compelling information that can help further the conversation.

Here are a few examples of how you might use facts and statistics in your research presentation:

  • Contextualize your research: Use statistics to provide context for your research. For example, if you’re presenting on the prevalence of a particular disease, you might start by sharing statistics on how many people are affected by the disease worldwide.
  • Highlight key findings: Use facts and statistics to highlight the key findings of your research. For example, if you’re presenting on new drug therapy, you might share statistics on the success rate of the therapy and how it compares to existing treatments.
  • Support your arguments: Use facts and statistics to support your arguments. For example, if you’re arguing that a particular policy change is needed, you might use statistics to show how the current policy is failing and why a change is necessary.
  • Visualize your data: Use graphs, charts, and other visual aids to help illustrate your data. This can make it easier for your audience to understand the significance of your research. For example, if you’re presenting on the impact of climate change, you might use a graph to show the rise in global temperatures over time.

Here’s an example of how you might use facts and statistics in a research presentation:

“Did you know that over 80% of internet users own a smartphone? That’s a staggering number when you think about it. And with the rise of mobile devices, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a mobile-friendly website. That’s where my research comes in.

By analyzing user behaviour and website performance data, I’ve identified the key factors that make a website mobile-friendly. And the results are clear: mobile-friendly websites perform better in search engine rankings, have lower bounce rates, and are more likely to convert visitors into customers. By implementing the recommendations from my research, businesses can improve their online presence and reach more customers than ever before.”

In this example, the speaker is using statistics to provide context for their research (the high prevalence of smartphone ownership) and to support their argument (that businesses need to have mobile-friendly websites).

By emphasizing the benefits of mobile-friendly websites (better search engine rankings, lower bounce rates, and higher conversion rates), the speaker is able to make the research more compelling to their audience. Finally, by using concrete examples (implementing the recommendations from the research), the speaker is able to make the research feel actionable and relevant to the audience.

In my blog posts on the benefits of using graphs and tables in research presentations, I have presented different ways that these tools can enhance the impact and effectiveness of your research presentation. By incorporating graphs and tables, you can help your audience to engage more deeply with your research and better grasp the significance of your findings. To learn more about the benefits of using graphs and tables in research presentations, check out my blog posts listed below, on the subject.

  • Maximizing the Impact of Your Research Paper with Graphs and Charts
  • Best Practices for Designing and Formatting Tables in Research Papers

You can also refer the book “Information Visualization: An Introduction” for getting more clarity on the representation of facts and statistics.

Research Presentation Tip #9: Power of “Pause”

The ninth tip for making an effective research presentation is to use the power of “pause.” Pausing at key moments in your presentation can help you emphasize important points, allow your audience to process information, and create a sense of anticipation.

We are all uncomfortable when there is a pause.  Yet incorporating pause into your presentation can be a valuable tool causing the audience to be attentive to what you are going to say next.

A pause is an effective way to grab attention. There are two ways you might use this technique. After you are introduced, walk on stage and say nothing. Simply pause for three to five seconds and wait for the full attention of the audience. It’s a powerful opening. Depending on the audience, you might need to pause for longer than five seconds.

At another point in your presentation, you might be discussing the results or you are about to provide important information, that’s when you pause to grab attention. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable when you first try this technique, but it’s worth mastering.

Here are a few examples of how you might use the power of the pause in your research presentation:

  • Emphasize key points: Pause briefly after making an important point to allow your audience to absorb the information. For example, if you’re presenting on the benefits of a new product, you might pause after stating the most compelling benefits to give your audience time to reflect on the information.
  • Create anticipation: Pause before revealing a key piece of information or making a surprising statement. This can create a sense of anticipation in your audience and keep them engaged. For example, if you’re presenting on the results of a study, you might pause before revealing the most surprising or unexpected finding.
  • Allow time for reflection: Pause after asking a thought-provoking question to give your audience time to reflect on their answer. This can help create a more interactive and engaging presentation. For example, if you’re presenting on the impact of social media on mental health, you might pause after asking the audience to reflect on their own social media use.
  • Control the pace: Use pauses to control the pace of your presentation. Pausing briefly before transitioning to a new topic can help you signal to your audience that you’re about to move on. This can help prevent confusion and make your presentation more organized.

Here’s an example of how you might use the power of the pause in a research presentation:

“Imagine being able to reduce the risk of heart disease by 50%. That’s the potential impact of my research. By analyzing the diets and lifestyles of over 10,000 participants, I’ve identified the key factors that contribute to heart disease. And the results are clear: by making a few simple changes to your diet and exercise routine, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. So, what are these changes? Pause for effect. It turns out that the most important factors are a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and limited alcohol consumption.”

In this example, the speaker is using the pause to create anticipation before revealing the most important findings of their research. By pausing before revealing the key factors that contribute to heart disease, the speaker is able to create a sense of anticipation and emphasize the importance of the information. By using the power of the pause in this way, the speaker is able to make their research presentation more engaging and memorable for the audience.

The tenth tip for making an effective research presentation is to quote a great researcher. By including quotes from respected researchers or experts in your field, you can add credibility to your presentation and demonstrate that your research is supported by other respected professionals.

Quoting someone who is a well-known researcher in your field is a great way to start any presentation.  Just be sure to make it relevant to the purpose of your speech and presentation.  If you are using slides, adding a picture of the person you are quoting will add more value to your presentation.

Here are a few examples of how you might use quotes in your research presentation:

  • Begin with a quote: Starting your presentation with a quote from a respected researcher can help set the tone and establish your credibility. For example, if you’re presenting on the benefits of exercise for mental health, you might begin with a quote from a well-known psychologist or psychiatrist who has researched the topic.
  • Use quotes to support your argument: Including quotes from experts who support your argument can help reinforce your ideas and add credibility to your presentation. For example, if you’re presenting on the importance of early childhood education, you might include a quote from a respected educational psychologist who has studied the topic.
  • Challenge conventional wisdom: Including quotes from experts who challenge conventional wisdom can help you make a more compelling argument and stand out from other presenters. For example, if you’re presenting on the effects of technology on social interaction, you might include a quote from a respected sociologist who argues that technology can actually improve social connections.
  • Add a personal touch: Including quotes from researchers who have inspired you personally can help you connect with your audience and add a more personal touch to your presentation. For example, if you’re presenting on the importance of diversity in the workplace, you might include a quote from a researcher who has inspired you to pursue your own research on the topic.

Here’s an example of how you might use a quote in a research presentation:

“As the great psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, ‘What a man can be, he must be.’ This quote perfectly captures the essence of my research on human potential. By analyzing the lives of highly successful individuals, I’ve identified the key factors that contribute to success. And the results are clear: by cultivating a growth mindset, setting ambitious goals, and surrounding yourself with supportive people, you can unlock your full potential and achieve greatness.”

In this example, the speaker is using a quote from a respected psychologist to support their argument about human potential. By including the quote, the speaker is able to add credibility to their presentation and demonstrate that their research is supported by other respected professionals in the field. By using quotes in this way, the speaker is able to make their research presentation more engaging and persuasive for the audience.

The eleventh tip for making an effective research presentation is to begin with a video. Using a video at the beginning of your presentation can capture the audience’s attention and help establish the theme of your talk

Video remains a powerful mechanism to begin a presentation.  Limit your videos to 2–3 minutes. People like video, and it can capture their attention, but they can also tire of it easily.  It gives the presenter and the attendees a break from each other. Sometimes, you just look for visible reactions from the audience that might provide a transition from video back to speaking. Conversely, for the attendees, the video provides a break from the speaker.

Here are a few examples of how you might use a video in your research presentation:

  • Introduce a new technology: Use a video to introduce a new technology or innovation that is related to your research. For example, if you’re presenting on the potential of artificial intelligence in healthcare, you might use a video that shows how AI is being used to detect cancer early.
  • Demonstrate a problem: Use a video to demonstrate a problem or challenge that your research is trying to solve. For example, if you’re presenting on the importance of cybersecurity in the finance industry, you might use a video that shows how easily hackers can gain access to sensitive financial information.
  • Showcase your research: Use a video to showcase your own research and the methods you used to conduct it. For example, if you’re presenting on a new algorithm for image recognition, you might use a video that shows how the algorithm works in action.
  • Add a personal touch: Use a video to share a personal story or experience that relates to your research. For example, if you’re presenting on the impact of technology on society, you might use a video that shows how technology has changed your own life.

Here’s an example of how you might use a video at the beginning of a research presentation in computer science:

“Before I dive into my research on the potential of blockchain technology in supply chain management, I want to show you a video that demonstrates the challenges that the industry currently faces. As you’ll see, there are numerous pain points that blockchain could help to address, from tracking the provenance of goods to reducing fraud and counterfeiting. By leveraging the power of blockchain, we can create a more transparent, efficient, and secure supply chain for everyone involved.”

In this example, the speaker is using a video to demonstrate a problem or challenge that their research is trying to solve. By showing the audience the current pain points in supply chain management, the speaker is able to establish the need for blockchain technology and capture the audience’s attention. By using a video in this way, the speaker is able to make their research presentation more engaging and impactful for the audience.

One sincere piece of advice while preparing the video is not to install the full video and start searching for the clip to be displayed to the audience. If you show this side or that side of the video content not relevant to the context, the audience may lose patience and drift away from the presentation. This shows your unpreparedness for the presentation.  I suggest you go ahead with professional video editing software to edit your video before showing it to your audience.

When giving a research presentation, it’s important to sound confident and knowledgeable. However, using too many filler words such as “ok”, “so”, and “umms” can make you sound unsure of yourself and can distract from the content of your presentation.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid using too many filler words:

  • Practice your presentation: One of the best ways to reduce the use of filler words is to practice your presentation. By rehearsing what you want to say, you’ll become more comfortable with the content and won’t need to rely on filler words as much.
  • Use a script: If you’re prone to using filler words, consider writing out a script for your presentation. This will help you stay on track and avoid unnecessary pauses or verbal crutches.
  • Record yourself: Another helpful strategy is to record yourself giving your presentation. By listening back to the recording, you can identify any filler words or other verbal tics and work on eliminating them in future presentations.
  • Take pauses: Instead of relying on filler words to fill pauses in your presentation, try taking intentional pauses. This will help you gather your thoughts and emphasize important points.

Here’s an example of how to avoid using too many filler words in a research presentation:

“Today, I want to talk to you about the impact of machine learning on cybersecurity. Ok, so, umm, as you all know, cybersecurity is a critical issue for businesses and organizations. But did you know that machine learning can help to identify and mitigate cyber threats before they become a major problem? By using algorithms to analyze data, we can create more effective security protocols and protect sensitive information from being compromised. So, in conclusion, machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach cybersecurity.”

In this example, the speaker is using several filler words throughout the presentation, which can detract from the content and make them sound less confident. By practising their presentation and focusing on eliminating filler words, the speaker can deliver a more polished and engaging presentation that highlights the important points.

Many presenters, though have good content fail to impress the audience by using too many  “ok” “so” and “umms” which shows a lack of good communication skills.  This can be due to stage fear/poor preparation/happen unconsciously.

Such filler words can ruin your credibility despite how innocent they look. One tip for avoiding this annoying habit is to practice your speech or presentation multiple times beforehand in front of your supervisor/research scholars / yourself in front of the mirror.  If you are hesitant then the best option is to  record your speech on your mobile  and check for the mistakes unconsciously you make.

Giving a good research presentation as a keynote speaker is an excellent opportunity to showcase your expertise and knowledge in your research domain. As a keynote speaker, you can communicate your research findings, methodologies, and the impact of your research to a wider audience.

A well-delivered presentation can also demonstrate your ability to engage with diverse stakeholders and effectively communicate complex ideas. This can be an advantage when looking for research consultancy work, as potential clients or employers can assess your ability to deliver quality work, understand their needs, and provide innovative solutions to their problems.

If you are interested in exploring research consultancy jobs, check out the link Research Consultancy: An Alternate Career for Researchers to discover some exciting opportunities in your research domain.

Delivering a successful research presentation requires careful planning, practice, and attention to detail. By starting confidently, making eye contact with your audience, and using effective communication techniques like storytelling and statistics, you can engage your audience and communicate your research findings in a compelling way.

Remember to adjust your voice, avoid filler words, and take intentional pauses to keep your audience engaged and focused. By following these tips and incorporating your own unique style and perspective, you can deliver a powerful and memorable research presentation that showcases your expertise and leaves a lasting impression.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a speaker at a research conference, it’s important to dress professionally and appropriately to make a positive impression on the audience and fellow researchers. Here are some general guidelines for what to wear: Business Formal Attire : Most research conferences have a business formal dress code. This typically means wearing a suit or dress pants/skirt with a collared shirt/blouse. For men, a suit with a tie is appropriate, and for women, a pantsuit or a skirt/dress with a blazer is a good choice. Neutral and Classic Colors : Stick to neutral and classic colours like black, navy, grey, or beige for a polished and sophisticated look. Avoid loud or overly bright colors and patterns that may distract from your presentation. Comfortable and Well-Fitted Clothing : Ensure that your clothing fits well and is comfortable to wear for an extended period. This will help you feel more at ease during your presentation. Appropriate Footwear : Wear closed-toe shoes that are comfortable and complement your outfit. For men, dress shoes are ideal, and for women, low-heeled pumps or flats are a good choice. Minimal Accessories : Keep your accessories simple and minimal. A wristwatch, small earrings, and a modest necklace can add a touch of elegance without being distracting. Grooming and Hygiene : Pay attention to personal grooming and hygiene. Make sure your hair is well-groomed, and avoid heavy cologne or perfume, as some attendees may be sensitive to strong scents. Bring Layers : Conference venues can sometimes be chilly due to air conditioning, so consider bringing a light sweater or jacket that complements your outfit. Check the Conference Theme : Occasionally, research conferences may have specific themes or cultural considerations. In such cases, you can subtly incorporate elements related to the theme or culture into your outfit if appropriate. You can visit my blog post on ” How to dress for academic / research conferences ” for further details.

Absolutely! Sharing your conference presentation slides with the audience after your talk can be a great way to provide additional value to those who attended your presentation and those who couldn’t make it to the event.

As an invited speaker at a research conference, it is generally expected and encouraged to entertain questions from the audience during or after your presentation. Q&A sessions are a valuable part of academic conferences as they allow attendees to engage with the speaker, seek clarifications, and gain further insights into the research being presented. However, a few speakers as well as the audience may get distracted by the questions asked during the presentation. Check your preparedness and the mood of the audience and then decide.

Tips for a Successful Q&A Session: Be Prepared : Anticipate potential questions that may arise from your presentation and be prepared to answer them. This will boost your confidence during the Q&A. Encourage Questions : After your presentation, let the audience know that you welcome their questions. Creating a supportive and inclusive environment will encourage more participation. Active Listening : Listen carefully to each question and ensure you understand it before responding. If a question is unclear, ask for clarification to provide the best possible answer. Be Respectful and Professional : Even if you receive challenging or critical questions, respond in a respectful and professional manner. Avoid becoming defensive and maintain a positive tone. Manage Time : If there’s a specific time allocated for the Q&A session, manage it effectively so that you can address as many questions as possible without exceeding the allocated time.

How to handle questions where I don’t know the answers in my presentation?

Handling a question during your presentation when you don’t know the answer is a common scenario, and it’s essential to respond gracefully and professionally. Here’s how to handle such situations: Stay Calm and Composed : Take a deep breath and remain calm. It’s okay not to know the answer to every question, and the audience understands that. Acknowledge the Question : Show appreciation for the question and the person who asked it. You can say something like, “Thank you for the question; that’s an interesting point to consider.” Be Honest : It’s best to be honest if you don’t know the answer. Avoid making up information or guessing as it can harm your credibility. Admit You Don’t Know : You can respond with a polite acknowledgement that you don’t have the information at hand. For example, say, “I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that question right now.” Offer to Follow Up : Express your willingness to find the answer later. You can say, “I’ll make sure to look into this further and get back to you with an answer.” Redirect the Question : If appropriate, you can redirect the question to the audience or to someone who might have more expertise on the topic. Stay Positive : Maintain a positive tone throughout your response. Avoid apologizing excessively or sounding defensive. Bridge to Related Topics : If you can’t answer the specific question, try to bridge it to related topics you are familiar with. This way, you can still contribute to the discussion. Use It as a Learning Opportunity : If the question raises a valid point you haven’t considered before, acknowledge it as a learning opportunity. You can say, “That’s an excellent question, and it gives me something to think about.” Learn for the Future : After the presentation, take note of the questions you couldn’t answer and use them as a basis for further research or study. This will help you better prepare for similar situations in the future.

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Published on Development Impact

Making a short presentation based on your research: 11 tips, markus goldstein, david evans, this page in:.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve both spent a fair amount of time at conferences. Given that many conferences ask researchers to summarize their work in 15 to 20 minutes, we thought we’d reflect on some ideas for how to do this, and – more importantly – how to do it well.

  • You have 15 minutes. That’s not enough time to use the slides you used for that recent 90-minute academic seminar. One recent presentation one of us saw had 52 slides for 15 minutes.    No amount of speed talking will get you through this in anything resembling coherence. (And quit speed talking, anyway. This isn’t a FedEx commercial !) There is no magic number of slides since the content you’ll have and how you talk will vary. But if you have more than 15 slides, then #2 is doubly important.
  • Practice. This is the great thing about a 15-minute talk: You can actually afford to run through it, out loud. Running through it once in advance can reveal to you – wow! – that it’s actually a 25-minute talk and you need to cut a bunch. Of course, the first time through the presentation it may take a bit longer than you will when you present, but if you have any doubts, practice again (bringing your prep time to a whopping 30 minutes plus a little bit).
  • You need a (short) narrative. What is the main story you are trying to tell with this paper? Fifteen minutes works better for communicating a narrative then for taking an audience through every twist and turn of your econometric grandeur. Deciding on your narrative will help with the discipline in the points that follow.
  • A model or results? Even if your audience is all academics, you don’t have academic seminar time. So the first thing to do is to figure out which is more important to get across – your model or your empirical results. Then trim the other one down to one slide, max. If the results are your focus (usually the case for us), give the audience a sense of how the model is set up, and what the main implications are as they pertain to the results you will show. Conversely, if it’s the model that’s more important, the empirical results will come later and you can just give the very brief highlights that bolster the key points.
  • The literature. Really, really minimal. If you do it at all, choose only the papers that you are either going to build on in a major way or contradict. For some types of discussants, it may help to include them, even if they don’t meet the other criteria. Marc Bellemare takes an even stronger stance: “Never, ever have a literature review in your slides. If literature reviews are boring to read in papers, they are insanely boring to listen to during presentations.”
  • Program details. Here it’s a bit of a balance. The audience needs a flavor for the program, they need to understand what it did and how it’s different from other things (particularly other things with some kinds of evidence). But only in exceptional cases (as in, it’s a really different program for theoretical reasons, or you don’t have more than process results yet) do you want this to eat up a lot of your time.
  • You don’t have time to go through the nitty gritty of the data.   We get that every detail about the survey was fascinating (we spend a lot of our lives thinking about this).   But if it’s not key to the story, save it for a longer presentation (or another paper). And if you’re doing a primarily theoretical paper, this is a bullet on one slide.
  • Balance and summary stats. Key summary stats that tell the audience who the people are might make the cut, but 3 slides of every variable that you’ll use are going to be slides you either rip through (telling the audience nothing) or waste most of your time on. Summarize the summary stats. On balance tests: you are either balanced or not.  If you are, this gets a bullet at most (you can also just say that). If you’re not, tell us what’s up and why we should or should not worry.  
  • Pre-analysis plan. If you had it, mention it (quickly). If not, don’t. It’s not critical here.
  • A picture may be worth 1,000 numbers. Sometimes, taking that really packed table which is currently in 12 point font and turning it into a graph is going to help you with self-control and help your audience with comprehension. Put the significant results in a bar chart, and use asterisks to tell folks which are significant.  
  • A special warning about presenting your job market paper. When I (Markus) submitted my job market paper to a journal, the referee report came back noting that this was surely a job market paper since it had 40(!) tables. Key example of how everything matters when you just spent four years of your life collecting each observation. Discipline. You have (or will have) an elevator pitch from the job market – use this to trim your presentation. 
  • Marc Bellemare has a great series of “22 tips for conference and seminar presentations,” many of which apply to short presentations: “Always provide a preview of your results. This isn’t a murder mystery: it’s only when people know where you’re taking them that they can enjoy the scenery along the way.”
  • Jeff Leek has a great guide to giving presentations of different lengths, and what your goal should be: “As a scientist, it is hard to accept that the primary purpose of a talk is advertising, not science.” This is doubly true for a 15-minute talk.
  • The AEA Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession has a top 10 list. “Never cut and paste a table from your paper onto a slide. These tables are never easy to read and only irritate your audience. Instead, choose a few results that you want to highlight and present them on a slide in no smaller than 28 font.” We’ve pretty much all done this. It’s bad practice. (“I’m sorry you can’t read this table.” “Oh really, then why did you cut and paste that giant table from your paper into the presentation?!”)
  • I (Dave) go back and re-read Jesse Shapiro’s guide on “ How to Give an Applied Micro Talk ” from time to time. It’s more geared toward a full-length seminar, but the advice is so good I can’t resist plugging it here.

Markus Goldstein

Lead Economist, Africa Gender Innovation Lab and Chief Economists Office

David Evans's picture

Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Great post, Markus (and David). I've sat through so many presentations that ignore most of the tips you mention. The ones that do take these suggestions into account really stand out--those are the presentations I remember long afterward.

One of the best -- and, in hindsight, obvious -- advice I have gotten about 15-minute talks was to *not* take a long presentation and cut slides. Instead, if you have an elevator pitch for the paper, take that and expand it a bit, and you will quickly have a good amount for 15 minutes. If you don't have a 2-minute pitch, then start from scratch and draft a new 'story board' for the shorter talk. You can obviously use slides from your longer talk, but the sequence and logic is unlikely to be the same for a 15-minute talk.

The best way to a 15 minute talk should be as short as possible. Presenter may arrange or pick the 3 groupings below of few strategic slides that hit to the point. (1.)Overview (2.)Objectives, that will include evaluations failure/success as well as constraints/challenges. (3.)Conclusion.

Excellent tips and helpful, thanks.

Hi Marcus, great post and tips! I think the most important advice I have gotten was to never use an old presentation and simply adapt it but before writing slides, think about what you want this audience to learn from you. So, expanding on your point 3 and Emilia's comment: Figure out what the main message is you want to get across and substantiate it with 3 arguments. You might have many messages and important points you could but considering you need 2-3 minutes for Intro and context, and 2-3 minutes to present that main message, you have about 3 minutes for each argument supporting that message (can be your results, the model, ...), so there is really not time for more! I also think that your 2nd point cannot be repeated often enough: Practice the talk, and not just by silently slipping through the slides but with a timer and talking out loud. Rule of thumb: on average you need 1,5 minutes per slide (including the title and thank you slides!), so for 15 minutes 10 is a good starting point.

Life is too short for bad presentations! Thanks Markus for your post. At you can find more tips for researchers on how to give clear and appealing presentations, including a free ebook on research presentations.

Markus and David -- a great blog, as always. I cannot help but to want to add to the blog by making a point on the art of purposeful visualization. Edward Tufte's work is legendary in this field -- -- and his one-day course is envy-inducing for its power in showing the beauty (and ugliness and consequences) of good and bad visualisations. I'd even go as far as saying that visual explanations are essential in short presentations. A picture tells so much more than a thousand words; it can either skew, manipulate, obscure, or illuminate, explain or enhance in ways that words probably can't. (Edward's not family and I don't have shares in his in-house publication house, but I am a serious fan of his work).

Really great post Markus and David. I have gone through many blogs for tips based on presentations. But haven't found the one which I got reading this blog. Tips related to Investor Pitch Presentations can be found here.… Here with, I have illustrated the things that must be completely avoided in making an Investors Presentation.

Great post Markus and David. Very helpful, thanks.

This article is something that I have been looking for It was a great read!

Thank you so much for posting this! Just a post I was looking for.

This was really a good article. there are things that I can use for future reference

Excellent tips, Really very helpful

Really beneficial tips, especially practice prior to presentation will manage the time.

I am pleased to comment that the above tips have prepared me well for the forthcoming presentation of my research proposal, to make it lively, motivational, educative, and timely. I only need to revise them from time to time to remind myself of the dos and don't of a good presentation.

A very detailed and helpful article.

Nice article indeed. Very helpful to my presentation.

A very good article, it will greatly help me to prepare adequately for my research proposal presentation.

A detailed tips on how to organize myself as I prepare for a presentation. I believe I will do better when I follow the tips given.

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Structure of a presentation

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A presentation:

  • has an introduction, body and conclusion
  • may include visual aids
  • is usually followed by questions and discussions
  • may also have a handout for the audience to take away.


  • The introduction should orient the audience to your subject and purpose. To capture interest and set up rapport, it should tell the audience what to expect.
  • Be sure to carefully define the central point (or thesis) that is the basis of your talk and ensure that your supporting argument or information relates closely to it.
  • If you are not proceeding from an already written assignment, it might help to think of your introduction as funnel-shaped, with the content coming out of the funnel. See the diagram below:

alt text

Useful language for presentations

Staging the introduction.

The body of the presentation should meet the promises of purpose and information made in the introduction.

The structure of the presentation is crucial.

Whether you organise:

  • chronologically,
  • by priority,

the body of your talk must proceed logically. The main points should be brought out one by one, with concise and relevant supportive evidence, statistics or examples and verbal ‘signposting’ of your progress through your argument or report.

You could present each important idea or point several times in different ways, because a listening audience needs several opportunities to fully absorb meaning.

You need to state clearly the links between your ideas and always signal when the next point is coming. If you think something is particularly important, say so and why.

If you don’t have a written assignment, it will help to think of your main points as paragraph topic sentences, each of which needs to be followed by supporting sentences and a conclusion.

Staging the body of your talk

Group presentations.

It may be that you are making a presentation as part of a group. Essentially the same information applies to group presentations as individual ones. It is important that they are logical and well structured as well as professional and meaningful. It is also doubly important that the group rehearse and practise together several times to ensure the presentation runs smoothly on the day.

Handing over to a co-presenter

Your talk may involve several speakers in your group presentation. You need to manage the handover smoothly and professionally, for example:

“I would like to conclude my discussion/report at this point and hand over to my partner/colleague XYZ who will examine/discuss/report the area/topic/perspective of…”

Similar to a written assignment, the conclusion again states your main points and what has been learned or shown but you also may raise implications inherent in the findings and offer creative recommendations.

Staging the conclusion

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structure of a research presentation

Cerebrovascular Diseases


Presentation methods, delivering a presentation, study methods, discussion: transform, acknowledgements, how to prepare and deliver a scientific presentation : teaching course presentation at the 21st european stroke conference, lisboa, may 2012.

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Andrei V. Alexandrov , Michael G. Hennerici; How to Prepare and Deliver a Scientific Presentation : Teaching Course Presentation at the 21st European Stroke Conference, Lisboa, May 2012 . Cerebrovasc Dis 1 April 2013; 35 (3): 202–208.

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Background: A scientific presentation is a professional way to share your observation, introduce a hypothesis, demonstrate and interpret the results of a study, or summarize what is learned or to be studied on the subject. Presentation Methods: Commonly, presentations at major conferences include podium (oral, platform), poster or lecture, and if selected one should be prepared to PRESENT: P lan from the start (place integral parts of the presentation in logical sequence); R educe the amount of text and visual aids to the bare minimum; E lucidate (clarify) methods; S ummarize results and key messages; E ffectively deliver; N ote all shortcomings, and T ransform your own and the current thinking of others. We provide tips on how to achieve this. Presentation Results: After disclosing conflicts, if applicable, start with a brief summary of what is known and why it is required to investigate the subject. State the research question or the purpose of the lecture. For original presentations follow a structure: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusions. Invest a sufficient amount of time or poster space in describing the study methods. Clearly organize and deliver the results or synopsis of relevant studies. Include absolute numbers and simple statistics before showing advanced analyses. Remember to present one point at a time. Stay focused. Discuss study limitations. In a lecture or a podium talk or when standing by your poster, always think clearly, have a logical plan, gain audience attention, make them interested in your subject, excite their own thinking about the problem, listen to questions and carefully weigh the evidence that would justify the punch-line. Conclusions: Rank scientific evidence in your presentation appropriately. What may seem obvious may turn erroneous or more complex. Rehearse your presentation before you deliver it at a conference. Challenge yourself to dry runs with your most critically thinking colleagues. When the time comes, ace it with a clear mind, precise execution and fund of knowledge.

Over time communication standards between -scientists have evolved along with improved scientific method, increasing scrutiny of analyses and upholding to the highest level of evidence anything we call research. Scientific presentation is a professional way of sharing your observation, introducing a hypothesis, demonstrating and interpreting the results of a study, or -summarizing what has been learned or is to be studied on the subject. Professional presentations help disseminate research, make peers aware of novel approaches, findings or problems. These presentations make conferences memorable for both presenters and the audience. Anyone can recall the most exciting and most boring, the most clear and most convoluted, the most ‘-seriously?!' and the most ‘wow!!' presentations. Most presentations, however, fall in the in-between level of ‘so what?', ‘I did not quite get it …', or ‘maybe'. This means that all the work the authors have put in did not result in a paradigm shift, -advancement, or even ‘well, this is good to know' kind of an impact. We struggle to shape up our young presenters to make their science clear and visible, their presence known and their own networks grow.

Having initially struggled in preparing and delivering presentations ourselves, and having seen the many baby steps of our trainees now accomplished or shy of a track record, we have put together these suggestions on how to start, organize and accomplish what at first sight looks like a daunting task: presenting in front of people, many of whom may have expertise way beyond your own or who are scrutinizing every bit of data and ready to shred any evidence you might have to pieces. Unfortunately, there is no other way to advance science and become recognized than to survive this campaign from conception of a project to publication. This campaign has its own (often interim and hopefully not singular) culmination in a scientific presentation. This presentation also comes with question and answer sessions and importantly, with you and the audience possibly coming out of it with new messages, new thinking and even energy for breakthroughs, no matter how small or large the leap would be. So let's explore how to prepare and deliver a scientific presentation.

Currently, the common types of presentations at major conferences include podium (oral, platform), poster or lecture. Although seemingly different and at times some being more desirable over others, they all share the same prerequisites and challenges for successful execution. We will examine common threads and identify unique aspects of each type of these presentations. However, the first prerequisite for any scientific presentation (successful or not) is you, the presenter.

An effective presenter should have led the study, participated in the analysis and drafting of the abstract and manuscript, i.e. the presenter should know the subject of his or her talk inside out. One should therefore be prepared to PRESENT:

P lan from the start (place integral parts of the presentation in logical sequence);

R educe the amount of text and visual aids to the bare minimum;

E lucidate (clarify) methods;

S ummarize results and key messages;

E ffectively deliver;

N ote all shortcomings, and

T ransform your own and the current thinking of others.

So, as the scuba-diving instructors say: plan the dive, and dive the plan. The most important parts of scientific presentations should follow the logic of delivering the key messages. For the original presentations (platforms or posters), it is easy to simply follow the accepted abstracts, most often structured following the IMRaD principle: Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion (Conclusions).

Lecture format, content and logical flow of information often depend on the topic choice, which should be appropriate to the level of audience [ 1 ], time allotment and the target audience. Most competitive conferences offer short times even for invited lecturers as experts are expected to demonstrate cutting edge science, which assumes that the audience is already knowledgeable and the expert is capable of delivering information that sparks new thinking. The suggestion here to both novice and experienced speakers is to quickly summarize why the subject of presentation is important (catch audience attention [ 2,3 ]), where we are now (show the landscape of completed studies that established the common knowledge or conundrums, equipoise, etc.) and to move then to the latest advancements (this may include just-in publications, ongoing or planned future research or the most provocative take on the evidence out there).

Turning back to original presentations, advice is available on how to write abstracts following the IMRaD principle [ 4 ] and how to draft subsequent manuscripts [ 5 ]. We cannot stress enough the need to quickly follow-up the abstract submission with drafting the full manuscript. If the authors complete a manuscript before the presentation at a conference, the presenter will have a luxury of material to work with to compile either a set of slides for the podium or text and illustrations for the poster. If a manuscript was drafted and reviewed by coauthors, the challenge for a presenter is going to be a good one: trim down most sentences as both slides and posters benefit from short statements (not even full sentences) and large font sizes so that text can be easily read from a distance. Put yourself into the audience: your slides should be readable from the last row of a large room or a huge ballroom and your poster should be still readable from at least 2 m. The latter will allow better poster viewing by several people during guided poster tours or when a small group gathers spontaneously to view it.

This logically brings us to the second step: use bare minimum of any type of information to deliver your -presentation. Minimum text, minimum lines, minimum images, graphs, i.e. provide only the essential information as the audience attention span is short. Brevity, however, should not compromise quality: you should always stride to have the highest quality visual aids since these leave an impression on the audience [ 6 ] and good quality graphics are attributes of effective presentations [ 3 ].

At the same time, we cannot overemphasize the need to stick to time limits set for a specific presentation. Presenters should test their presentation in ‘real life' at home to their friends or at work in front of colleagues and ask for criticism. It is better to get criticism from members of the department (including your boss) than in a huge auditorium. Use a simple rule: an average talking time is 1 min per slide in oral presentations. You can then see how little you really can allocate to each slide if you load your talk with the most complicated visual presentation of data.

Let's go to the specifics. The ‘Introduction' slide usually includes a very brief description of background and should explicitly state the research question. Call it ‘Introduction and Study Purpose'. Adding a separate slide for study aims lengthens the talk. Fewer slides also reduce the chance of making an error when advancing them on the podium that can send presenters into further time deficit and stress, a commonplace even with those who know how to right-click.

Methods should have bullet points, not necessarily full sentences since you will be speaking over slides projecting or in front of the poster to connect brief statements showing behind you. The basic rule is not to read your slides or poster, nor tell the audience to read what the slide or poster says. Think of your slides or display material as a reminder to yourself of what you are supposed to say in detail and leave the noncritical words out of the slide and off the poster as it is an even easier source to pack with unreadable information. When you develop a presentation imagine you are a novice to the field who would like to be educated and taken on a journey while seeing and hearing the presentation. What can I learn in these few minutes? As the presenter, also think ‘what can I pass to the audience in these few minutes?' Further advice on how to plan, focus and arrange material to support key messages is available [ 7,8 ].

Results are the key part of any scientific presentation, podium, poster or lecture, and the most time, space and careful ascertainment should be allotted to this section as is necessary and feasible. It is vital to pack your presentation with data that support your key messages. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words but show only quint-essential images or graphs. If appropriate include statistics and make this easy in structure, i.e. use formats or values known by everybody such as odds ratios, Kaplan Meier curves, etc. (do not forget to include these data in the abstract as abstracts without data, numbers and calculations are often low rated or rejected). After presenting data, show what you think of that or what the limitations are since you thought more about this than the audience, at least through preparation of your own presentation.

The last two concluding paragraphs (poster), comments (this section of a lecture), or slides (podium) are supposed to cover study limitations and conclusions. These should be the most carefully thought through, strategically worded and evidence-based part of your presentation. Your reputation depends on the quality of data interpretation. Also, think about a take-home message with the main message you want to be remembered. When practicing your presentations, deliver your talk to your nonmedical spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend: by the end of your presentation he or she should be able to repeat the take home message with best-prepared presentations.

After conclusions, an ‘Acknowledgements' slide is nice to have at the end showing whom you are grateful to, but it will not rescue a hopeless presentation. The ‘thanks to my colleagues' should not come at the expense of time, quality and content of your scientific presentation. There is no need to thank multiple people like they often do at the Oscars. You have to rationally consider who and when to acknowledge if their functions were important to your work but they were not listed among coauthors. If you received funding to support your work, it is very important where appropriate or at the end of the presentation to acknowledge your sponsors or grant providers (such as NIH Institute and grant number, MRC grant, INSERM or DFG labels, etc.). The higher the scientific level of the grant donors, the more your presentation will be recognized.

While preparing any part of your presentation, remind yourself to check whether the included material is any good and worthy of inclusion. You can simply ask, ‘am I wasting time during the oral presentation or space in the poster by including this and that?' The answer lies in checking if this material is directly related to the study aim, data obtained, or in support of conclusions drawn.

Table 1 summarizes how you should structure the sequence of slides for the podium presentation. If you are only given 8 min to present + 2 min for questions (10 min total), you can see that with 8 mandatory slides you are already at the limit of 1 min per slide. In due course, we will give you tips on how to reallocate time within your presentation to expand the Methods and, most importantly, the Results section as needed.

Basic structure for a podium presentation of an original paper

Basic structure for a podium presentation of an original paper

Always clarify study methods. Posters offer a greater freedom since you can show details of your experimental setup or the methodology of your study design. A podium presentation often requires abbreviated mention of key elements of design, scales, inclusion/exclusion criteria, intervention or dependent variables and outcomes. This requires diligent work with your coauthors and biostatisticians to make sure that you are brief but clear and sufficient.

A well-assembled Methods section will lead to a shorter Results summary since your clear statement of the study aim and key methodology logically leads to audience anticipation of the primary end-point findings. There are key messages and delivered data points that distinguish effective and clear presentations from those resulting in confusion and further guesswork.

Effective presenters capture audience attention and stay focused on key messages [ 1,2,3,6,7,8 ]. A study was performed at scientific conferences asking reviewers to identify the best features of effective presentations [ 3 . ]The most frequent comments on best features of presentations with respect to ‘content' were identifying a key concept (43% of presentations) and relevance (43%). Best features in evaluations of ‘slides' were clarity (50%), graphics (27.3%) and readability of the text and font size (23%). Finally, best features in ‘presentation style' were clarity (59%), pace (52%), voice (48%), engaging with the audience (43%), addressing questions (34%) and eye contact (28%) [ 3 ].

Here are some tips on how to avoid forcing yourself to rush during a talk. Before you start (usually in the intermission or just before your session) familiarize yourself with the podium and learn how to advance slides and operate the pointer or point with the mouse. If you stumble at the beginning, you start your presentation with a time deficit.

Get to the podium while you are being introduced and start right away (it is the responsibility of the moderator to properly announce you, your team and the title of the talk and it is the responsibility of the conference organizers to have your title slide showing during the moderator's announcement). Do not read or repeat your study title. Thank the moderators and while the title slide is showing you may consider briefly thanking your coauthors/mentor here in just a few seconds.

Show the ‘Conflicts of Interest' slide next and disclose if any conflicts are related to the study subject. If they exist, conflicts should be acknowledged briefly but clearly. Do not show a slide with several conflicts and tell the audience ‘here are my conflicts' and switch to the next slide. It is important to simply say, ‘pertinent to this study I have …' or ‘this study includes an off-label or investigational use of …'. Now you are logically ready to turn to the subject of your presentation.

Start with a brief summary of what is known and why is it important to investigate the subject. This -introduces the audience to the subject of research and starts the flow of logic. If you are facing a challenge to present a complex study within in a short allotted period of time (such as 8 min for podium or a just a few minutes during a guided poster tour), do not waste time. You may cut to the chase and simply say why you did the study. Coming with straight forward messages, which are authentic and concerned about the scientific question, gets you more credit with the audience than careful orchestration of a perceived equipoise. However, we have digressed.

For an effective message delivery, identify two people towards opposite far ends of the audience and speak as if you are personally talking to one of them at a time and alternate between them. If lights shining in your face are too bright, still look towards the back of the room (or from time to time directly into the camera if your talk is being shown on monitors in a large ballroom) and do not bury your head into the podium or notes that you might have brought with you. The nonverbal part of any presentation and the presenter's body language are also important [ 6 ]. At all cost avoid bringing notes with you to any scientific presentation since you should have practiced your talk enough to remember it or you should be familiar with the subject of your lecture to the point that even if you have just been woken up, you can still maintain an intelligent conversation. Do not count on ‘it will come to me' - practice your talk! Further advice on effective presenting skill is available [ 2 ].

Remember that at international conferences many attendees are not native English-speaking people. Thus speak slowly and train your voice for best possible pronunciation! This recommendation is applicable to natives of English-speaking countries too. Native English speakers from the UK, Commonwealth countries and the USA tend to speak fast, with a variety of accents that international audiences may not understand easily while the interpreters may not be able to keep up. When speaking, do not turn away from the audience and look at your slide projection on the main screen or at your poster all the time. If it is necessary to remind yourself what to talk about next, advance the slide, briefly glance at it, turn to the audience and continue your presentation. Turn to your slide again only if you have to use a laser pointer or a mouse on the computer screen. Do so briefly, underline the important finding, point to the key part of an image and avoid long circular pointer motions around the whole text line or big areas of graphic illustrations. It is distracting. Try to use the pointer only when necessary and do not read your slides with the pointer constantly aiming at where you are reading.

When presenting your methods, clearly state the type of study, e.g. retrospective analysis, case series, -cohort or controlled trials, etc., and describe patient inclusion/exclusion criteria. If too numerous, only list the major ones. As an example, in a clinical trial of a fibrinolytic agent the list of exclusion criteria could be very extensive, so how can you present this on a dime? Your slide should focus on the key inclusion criteria since a patient who did not have those was obviously excluded, and an audience at a stroke conference is generally familiar with multiple exclusion criteria for tissue plasminogen activator treatment. So, your slide or poster may have the following in it (highlighted in bold ) to which you may add the plain text in your (limited) verbal statements:

Our Major Inclusion Criteria: were

• total Pre-treatment NIHSS score >6 points

• Presence of mismatch on MRI determined by -( EPTITHET ) trial criteria

• Age <80 years and

• Time from symptom onset <8 h

After that, you may omit including a slide with the long list of exclusions in favor of time. If there is a -specific contraindication new to the treatment agent in your study, you could say ‘in addition to well-known contraindications for systemic thrombolysis, patients were excluded if they had …' at the end of showing the ‘Major Inclusion Criteria' slide as shown above. Similarly, in a poster, list only the most relevant inclusion and exclusion criteria and walk the audience through the methods without stumbling on too many detail -disclosures. The audience will lose track of where you are going.

It is important to keep a balance between sufficient disclosure of study methods and the length of this part of your presentation. It is always helpful if you have a prior study that used a similar or from which you developed your methodology that has already been published - you may show a reference to this study and move on faster without sacrificing the quality. For example, ‘ultrasound tests were done by experienced sonographers using a previously published standard protocol', ‘CT scans were read independently using the ASPECTS score', and ‘sICH was defined by the SITS-MOST criteria'. Say this while showing or pointing to the line and published source reference on your visual aid.

Clearly organize and deliver the Results section. Include absolute numbers and simple statistics before showing advanced analyses. Remember not to show data in Methods and equally so do not introduce new methods when presenting Results. As a rule, describe characteristics of the general study population or balance/imbalances between target and control groups. Follow this by a slide that shows the primary end-point findings or observations that directly address the study aim or research question. This follows the logic of a scientific presentation and will help you avoid deviations to side observations no matter how unexpected or valuable they seem. Stay the course, address the main question first and only then show additional findings. When presenting a poster, point to the area where the key results are displayed. Unlike a slide presentation or lecture where the audience is forced to see one slide at a time, busy posters could be distracting. Posters that are heavily packed with graphs, images, tables and text are often difficult to follow during a brief guided poster presentation tour. It is the presenter's responsibility to drive the audience attention to key results in a logical sequence. When you present a graph, start by telling the audience what is shown and in what units on each access, and briefly point to the numbers on each axis.

Remember to present one point at a time. It makes common sense but sometimes may be difficult to follow if complex experiments or studies with multiple confounding variables have to be navigated through a brief presentation. Do not lose sight of your original research question or the objective of your lecture. Remember what you have shown so far, and what logically should be shown next. If you are pressed on time or made a mistake while advancing slides, take a deep breath and relax. Clear state of mind will buy you time. Racing thoughts such as ‘I have to cover that and that, and oh, that too' are not helpful. Dry runs, or practice presentations are essential for you to master the material that you need to present.

After finishing the Results part of your presentation, remember not to introduce more new results in Discussion and Conclusions. That surprise is hard for the audience to process. If you'd like to reemphasize the main finding, use the following suggestion. Let's say your goal was to show the prevalence of a new syndrome in your study population and you found it to be 24% (your primary research question). Unexpectedly, you also found that patients with this syndrome have an increased risk of dying (RR 2.08, 95% CI 1.23-4.34). These numbers and statistics obviously belong to the Results section. However, you want to stress in your conclusion once again how important your finding is. You can present it as follows: ‘Conclusions: nearly a quarter of stroke patients can be affected by this new syndrome and, if present, it doubles the patient chance of dying in hospital'. This recaps the main finding and makes practical interpretation of the relative risk estimate.

Before you jump into Conclusions, however, we always encourage presenters to note and openly discuss current study limitations. This improves your own assessment for biases and ranking of the level of obtained evidence. If you do not disclose the obvious study limitations, you will most likely receive questions after your presentation that will point to these shortcomings. Thus, instead of a positive discussion of how your study advances our knowledge, the discussion with the audience will focus on shortcomings and the key message may be lost with the negative audience response. Unlike Twitter™ or future media-based quick popularity scores, science can only advance when it endures the highest scrutiny (even though in the future presenters may be concurrently judged by the audience as our technologies improve). Regardless, if you are a good scientist, prepare yourself to stand the ground if the evidence is behind you. Be proactive, acknowledge study limitations and how you attempted to control for biases, etc.

In a lecture or a podium talk or when standing by your poster, always think clearly, have a logical plan for presentation parts that should be covered next, gain audience attention, make them interested in your subject, excite their own thinking about the problem, listen to questions and carefully weigh the evidence that would justify the punch-line. This will support your conclusions!

With posters, we often see a Discussion section but no conclusions listed, or they are listed in the abstract but not in the poster itself. This will lead to an obvious question after you stop presenting: ‘So, what is your take on this?' Our advice is, have your conclusions listed and be prepared to defend them point-by-point as the question and answer part could be challenging. If you do not understand the question, ask for clarification rather than talk nonsense.

To arrive at the right conclusions, you have to rank scientific evidence in your presentation appropriately. What may seem obvious may turn erroneous or more complex at a closer look by experts. Helpful hints here include you maintaining careful documentation while you are conceiving the project, designing it with your colleagues and consulting with a biostatistician on all steps taken in ascertaining the study population, interventions, end-point data collection and bias verification. Put all methodological issues against your findings and this will give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your study. Preparing and delivering your presentation is a great experience to see if your knowledge and gained expertise stand up to peer scrutiny.

Rehearse your presentation before you deliver it at a conference. Challenge yourself to dry runs with your most critically thinking colleagues. Quite often, it is not the presentation itself but these questions, comments and subsequent late night debates with your colleagues that bring new thinking, advance our understanding and spark new ideas. This is the chance to transform your own current thinking and that of your peers. Think about your upcoming presentation, whether it is a podium, poster or lecture, as an opportunity, a launch pad, a reward for the hard work you did to bring this project to the attention of the scientific community.

When time comes, ace it with a clear mind, precise execution and fund of knowledge.

Before his first oral presentation in English, Dr. Alexandrov was nervous and asked his mentor, Dr. John W. Norris, for a dry run. Dr. Norris generously came to listen to him at 10 p.m. the night before, and Dr. Alexandrov survived his talk.

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How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples

August 3, 2018 - Dom Barnard

For many people the thought of delivering a presentation is a daunting task and brings about a  great deal of nerves . However, if you take some time to understand how effective presentations are structured and then apply this structure to your own presentation, you’ll appear much more confident and relaxed.

Here is our complete guide for structuring your presentation, with examples at the end of the article to demonstrate these points.

Why is structuring a presentation so important?

If you’ve ever sat through a great presentation, you’ll have left feeling either inspired or informed on a given topic. This isn’t because the speaker was the most knowledgeable or motivating person in the world. Instead, it’s because they know how to structure presentations – they have crafted their message in a logical and simple way that has allowed the audience can keep up with them and take away key messages.

Research has supported this, with studies showing that audiences retain structured information  40% more accurately  than unstructured information.

In fact, not only is structuring a presentation important for the benefit of the audience’s understanding, it’s also important for you as the speaker. A good structure helps you remain calm, stay on topic, and avoid any awkward silences.

What will affect your presentation structure?

Generally speaking, there is a natural flow that any decent presentation will follow which we will go into shortly. However, you should be aware that all presentation structures will be different in their own unique way and this will be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you need to deliver any demonstrations
  • How  knowledgeable the audience  already is on the given subject
  • How much interaction you want from the audience
  • Any time constraints there are for your talk
  • What setting you are in
  • Your ability to use any kinds of visual assistance

Before choosing the presentation’s structure answer these questions first:

  • What is your presentation’s aim?
  • Who are the audience?
  • What are the main points your audience should remember afterwards?

When reading the points below, think critically about what things may cause your presentation structure to be slightly different. You can add in certain elements and add more focus to certain moments if that works better for your speech.

Good presentation structure is important for a presentation

What is the typical presentation structure?

This is the usual flow of a presentation, which covers all the vital sections and is a good starting point for yours. It allows your audience to easily follow along and sets out a solid structure you can add your content to.

1. Greet the audience and introduce yourself

Before you start delivering your talk, introduce yourself to the audience and clarify who you are and your relevant expertise. This does not need to be long or incredibly detailed, but will help build an immediate relationship between you and the audience. It gives you the chance to briefly clarify your expertise and why you are worth listening to. This will help establish your ethos so the audience will trust you more and think you’re credible.

Read our tips on  How to Start a Presentation Effectively

2. Introduction

In the introduction you need to explain the subject and purpose of your presentation whilst gaining the audience’s interest and confidence. It’s sometimes helpful to think of your introduction as funnel-shaped to help filter down your topic:

  • Introduce your general topic
  • Explain your topic area
  • State the issues/challenges in this area you will be exploring
  • State your presentation’s purpose – this is the basis of your presentation so ensure that you provide a statement explaining how the topic will be treated, for example, “I will argue that…” or maybe you will “compare”, “analyse”, “evaluate”, “describe” etc.
  • Provide a statement of what you’re hoping the outcome of the presentation will be, for example, “I’m hoping this will be provide you with…”
  • Show a preview of the organisation of your presentation

In this section also explain:

  • The length of the talk.
  • Signal whether you want audience interaction – some presenters prefer the audience to ask questions throughout whereas others allocate a specific section for this.
  • If it applies, inform the audience whether to take notes or whether you will be providing handouts.

The way you structure your introduction can depend on the amount of time you have been given to present: a  sales pitch  may consist of a quick presentation so you may begin with your conclusion and then provide the evidence. Conversely, a speaker presenting their idea for change in the world would be better suited to start with the evidence and then conclude what this means for the audience.

Keep in mind that the main aim of the introduction is to grab the audience’s attention and connect with them.

3. The main body of your talk

The main body of your talk needs to meet the promises you made in the introduction. Depending on the nature of your presentation, clearly segment the different topics you will be discussing, and then work your way through them one at a time – it’s important for everything to be organised logically for the audience to fully understand. There are many different ways to organise your main points, such as, by priority, theme, chronologically etc.

  • Main points should be addressed one by one with supporting evidence and examples.
  • Before moving on to the next point you should provide a mini-summary.
  • Links should be clearly stated between ideas and you must make it clear when you’re moving onto the next point.
  • Allow time for people to take relevant notes and stick to the topics you have prepared beforehand rather than straying too far off topic.

When planning your presentation write a list of main points you want to make and ask yourself “What I am telling the audience? What should they understand from this?” refining your answers this way will help you produce clear messages.

4. Conclusion

In presentations the conclusion is frequently underdeveloped and lacks purpose which is a shame as it’s the best place to reinforce your messages. Typically, your presentation has a specific goal – that could be to convert a number of the audience members into customers, lead to a certain number of enquiries to make people knowledgeable on specific key points, or to motivate them towards a shared goal.

Regardless of what that goal is, be sure to summarise your main points and their implications. This clarifies the overall purpose of your talk and reinforces your reason for being there.

Follow these steps:

  • Signal that it’s nearly the end of your presentation, for example, “As we wrap up/as we wind down the talk…”
  • Restate the topic and purpose of your presentation – “In this speech I wanted to compare…”
  • Summarise the main points, including their implications and conclusions
  • Indicate what is next/a call to action/a thought-provoking takeaway
  • Move on to the last section

5. Thank the audience and invite questions

Conclude your talk by thanking the audience for their time and invite them to  ask any questions  they may have. As mentioned earlier, personal circumstances will affect the structure of your presentation.

Many presenters prefer to make the Q&A session the key part of their talk and try to speed through the main body of the presentation. This is totally fine, but it is still best to focus on delivering some sort of initial presentation to set the tone and topics for discussion in the Q&A.

Questions being asked after a presentation

Other common presentation structures

The above was a description of a basic presentation, here are some more specific presentation layouts:


Use the demonstration structure when you have something useful to show. This is usually used when you want to show how a product works. Steve Jobs frequently used this technique in his presentations.

  • Explain why the product is valuable.
  • Describe why the product is necessary.
  • Explain what problems it can solve for the audience.
  • Demonstrate the product  to support what you’ve been saying.
  • Make suggestions of other things it can do to make the audience curious.


This structure is particularly useful in persuading the audience.

  • Briefly frame the issue.
  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it ‘s such a problem. Use logos and pathos for this – the logical and emotional appeals.
  • Provide the solution and explain why this would also help the audience.
  • Call to action – something you want the audience to do which is straightforward and pertinent to the solution.


As well as incorporating  stories in your presentation , you can organise your whole presentation as a story. There are lots of different type of story structures you can use – a popular choice is the monomyth – the hero’s journey. In a monomyth, a hero goes on a difficult journey or takes on a challenge – they move from the familiar into the unknown. After facing obstacles and ultimately succeeding the hero returns home, transformed and with newfound wisdom.

Storytelling for Business Success  webinar , where well-know storyteller Javier Bernad shares strategies for crafting compelling narratives.

Another popular choice for using a story to structure your presentation is in media ras (in the middle of thing). In this type of story you launch right into the action by providing a snippet/teaser of what’s happening and then you start explaining the events that led to that event. This is engaging because you’re starting your story at the most exciting part which will make the audience curious – they’ll want to know how you got there.

  • Great storytelling: Examples from Alibaba Founder, Jack Ma

Remaining method

The remaining method structure is good for situations where you’re presenting your perspective on a controversial topic which has split people’s opinions.

  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it’s such a problem – use logos and pathos.
  • Rebut your opponents’ solutions  – explain why their solutions could be useful because the audience will see this as fair and will therefore think you’re trustworthy, and then explain why you think these solutions are not valid.
  • After you’ve presented all the alternatives provide your solution, the remaining solution. This is very persuasive because it looks like the winning idea, especially with the audience believing that you’re fair and trustworthy.


When delivering presentations it’s important for your words and ideas to flow so your audience can understand how everything links together and why it’s all relevant. This can be done  using speech transitions  which are words and phrases that allow you to smoothly move from one point to another so that your speech flows and your presentation is unified.

Transitions can be one word, a phrase or a full sentence – there are many different forms, here are some examples:

Moving from the introduction to the first point

Signify to the audience that you will now begin discussing the first main point:

  • Now that you’re aware of the overview, let’s begin with…
  • First, let’s begin with…
  • I will first cover…
  • My first point covers…
  • To get started, let’s look at…

Shifting between similar points

Move from one point to a similar one:

  • In the same way…
  • Likewise…
  • Equally…
  • This is similar to…
  • Similarly…

Internal summaries

Internal summarising consists of summarising before moving on to the next point. You must inform the audience:

  • What part of the presentation you covered – “In the first part of this speech we’ve covered…”
  • What the key points were – “Precisely how…”
  • How this links in with the overall presentation – “So that’s the context…”
  • What you’re moving on to – “Now I’d like to move on to the second part of presentation which looks at…”

Physical movement

You can move your body and your standing location when you transition to another point. The audience find it easier to follow your presentation and movement will increase their interest.

A common technique for incorporating movement into your presentation is to:

  • Start your introduction by standing in the centre of the stage.
  • For your first point you stand on the left side of the stage.
  • You discuss your second point from the centre again.
  • You stand on the right side of the stage for your third point.
  • The conclusion occurs in the centre.

Key slides for your presentation

Slides are a useful tool for most presentations: they can greatly assist in the delivery of your message and help the audience follow along with what you are saying. Key slides include:

  • An intro slide outlining your ideas
  • A  summary slide  with core points to remember
  • High quality image slides to supplement what you are saying

There are some presenters who choose not to use slides at all, though this is more of a rarity. Slides can be a powerful tool if used properly, but the problem is that many fail to do just that. Here are some golden rules to follow when using slides in a presentation:

  • Don’t over fill them  – your slides are there to assist your speech, rather than be the focal point. They should have as little information as possible, to avoid distracting people from your talk.
  • A picture says a thousand words  – instead of filling a slide with text, instead, focus on one or two images or diagrams to help support and explain the point you are discussing at that time.
  • Make them readable  – depending on the size of your audience, some may not be able to see small text or images, so make everything large enough to fill the space.
  • Don’t rush through slides  – give the audience enough time to digest each slide.

Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and author, suggests that slideshows should follow a  10-20-30 rule :

  • There should be a maximum of 10 slides – people rarely remember more than one concept afterwards so there’s no point overwhelming them with unnecessary information.
  • The presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes as this will leave time for questions and discussion.
  • The font size should be a minimum of 30pt because the audience reads faster than you talk so less information on the slides means that there is less chance of the audience being distracted.

Here are some additional resources for slide design:

  • 7 design tips for effective, beautiful PowerPoint presentations
  • 11 design tips for beautiful presentations
  • 10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea

Group Presentations

Group presentations are structured in the same way as presentations with one speaker but usually require more rehearsal and practices.  Clean transitioning between speakers  is very important in producing a presentation that flows well. One way of doing this consists of:

  • Briefly recap on what you covered in your section: “So that was a brief introduction on what health anxiety is and how it can affect somebody”
  • Introduce the next speaker in the team and explain what they will discuss: “Now Elnaz will talk about the prevalence of health anxiety.”
  • Then end by looking at the next speaker, gesturing towards them and saying their name: “Elnaz”.
  • The next speaker should acknowledge this with a quick: “Thank you Joe.”

From this example you can see how the different sections of the presentations link which makes it easier for the audience to follow and remain engaged.

Example of great presentation structure and delivery

Having examples of great presentations will help inspire your own structures, here are a few such examples, each unique and inspiring in their own way.

How Google Works – by Eric Schmidt

This presentation by ex-Google CEO  Eric Schmidt  demonstrates some of the most important lessons he and his team have learnt with regards to working with some of the most talented individuals they hired. The simplistic yet cohesive style of all of the slides is something to be appreciated. They are relatively straightforward, yet add power and clarity to the narrative of the presentation.

Start with why – by Simon Sinek

Since being released in 2009, this presentation has been viewed almost four million times all around the world. The message itself is very powerful, however, it’s not an idea that hasn’t been heard before. What makes this presentation so powerful is the simple message he is getting across, and the straightforward and understandable manner in which he delivers it. Also note that he doesn’t use any slides, just a whiteboard where he creates a simple diagram of his opinion.

The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout – by Rick Rigsby

Here’s an example of a presentation given by a relatively unknown individual looking to inspire the next generation of graduates. Rick’s presentation is unique in many ways compared to the two above. Notably, he uses no visual prompts and includes a great deal of humour.

However, what is similar is the structure he uses. He first introduces his message that the wisest man he knew was a third-grade dropout. He then proceeds to deliver his main body of argument, and in the end, concludes with his message. This powerful speech keeps the viewer engaged throughout, through a mixture of heart-warming sentiment, powerful life advice and engaging humour.

As you can see from the examples above, and as it has been expressed throughout, a great presentation structure means analysing the core message of your presentation. Decide on a key message you want to impart the audience with, and then craft an engaging way of delivering it.

By preparing a solid structure, and  practising your talk  beforehand, you can walk into the presentation with confidence and deliver a meaningful message to an interested audience.

It’s important for a presentation to be well-structured so it can have the most impact on your audience. An unstructured presentation can be difficult to follow and even frustrating to listen to. The heart of your speech are your main points supported by evidence and your transitions should assist the movement between points and clarify how everything is linked.

Research suggests that the audience remember the first and last things you say so your introduction and conclusion are vital for reinforcing your points. Essentially, ensure you spend the time structuring your presentation and addressing all of the sections.


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How to Structure a Presentation

Choosing the best format for your audience.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

structure of a research presentation

Have you ever sat through a rambling, disorganized presentation? If so, you probably found it hard to follow what the speaker was saying.

When presentations don't flow well, it's easy for audiences to get lost. This is why it's important to think carefully about the structure and organization of your presentation.

In this article, we'll explore some common structures that you can use next time you speak in front of other people.

The Importance of Structure

Without a defined structure, your audience may not be able to follow your presentation. When this happens, your opportunity is lost, the communication fails, and your reputation takes a hit. For example, if your aim is to persuade people, you'll want to use a different approach from the one you'd use if you wanted to demonstrate how a product works.

Many factors can influence your choice of structure, but the most important consideration is your presentation's purpose or goal. You need to identify what you want to achieve – do you want to inspire, motivate, inform, persuade, or entertain people?

Your audience's needs also affect the structure you choose. For example, those who are new to your topic need more background information than people with more expertise and experience. So, in this case, you'd want to choose an approach that gives you ample time to explain the context of your subject, as well as to reinforce your main points.

Structures to Consider

Below, we outline several structures that you can use to organize your presentation.

1. Open – Body – Conclusion

The Open – Body – Conclusion approach is one of the most practical structures you can use for presentations. (Click here to download a worksheet that helps you use it.)

People often call it the "tell 'em" approach, because you:

  • Tell audience members what you're going to tell them (introduction).
  • Tell them (body).
  • Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

This structure is simple, effective and easy to remember. Its repetitive nature allows you to reinforce your points, which helps others remember them. It is also flexible: you can adjust the introduction and body to persuade, motivate, educate, or entertain them.

One downside, however, is that repetition can quickly bore people. The approach is also "old hat" to many, which can cause them to lose interest. If you choose to use it, balance repetition with plenty of interesting facts, images, anecdotes, or stories to hold your audience's interest.

Let's look at each stage of the Open – Body – Conclusion structure in detail and discuss the elements that you need to include in each. We'll start with the body, rather than the introduction, because the rest of your presentation will be based on that.

The body of your presentation needs to contain your key points. You should present these in a logical order, so that your audience can follow them easily.

Keep in mind that the body should comprise a limited number of ideas: the more you try to include, the fewer people will remember. A good guide is to cover three to five main points, but no more.

When organizing your ideas, use the chunking principle to put the information into specific units. This will make the concepts easier to grasp, and help people remember what you have told them.

Make sure that you back up your main points with facts. Use good information-gathering strategies in your research, and consider citing the sources that you use. To add credibility to your presentation, consider using the following information to support your ideas:

  • Data, facts or statistics.
  • Images or diagrams.
  • Stories and examples.
  • Quotes or testimonials from experts or industry leaders.

Reliable sources will strengthen your credibility , and build trust with your audience.

Your opening, or introduction, has two main purposes: to grab your audience's attention, and to cover the key points that you intend to talk about.

Instead of telling people what you plan to say, you can use a different approach and explain why they are there. What will they learn from your presentation, and how will the content benefit them?

It's also important to get their attention right from the beginning. You can do this in several ways:

  • Tell a story.
  • Ask a rhetorical question.
  • Play a short video.
  • Make a strong or unexpected statement.
  • Challenge your audience.
  • Use a quotation or example.
  • Appeal to people's self-interest.
  • Request a specific action.
  • Use suspense.

If you plan to answer questions at the end of your presentation, it's a good idea to mention this in the introduction, so people don't interrupt you mid-flow.

Many presenters overlook the importance of a conclusion – but the statements you finish with are what many audience members will remember best.

With the "tell 'em" approach, your conclusion summarizes the main points in the body of your presentation. If you want people to take action, be specific about what you want them to do.

Think carefully about how you want them to feel once you've finished; your conclusion is a great opportunity to reinforce this. Why not inspire them with a great story, a quote or a compelling call to action?

2. The Sandwich Approach

The Sandwich Approach is a variation of the Open – Body – Conclusion structure. This three-part structure covers:

  • Advantages and/or benefits of your message or idea.
  • Risks and concerns.
  • How the benefits manage or eliminate those risks.

This approach is effective when you want to persuade audience members, or change their minds.

Having evidence to support your position is critical. However, factual data and reams of spreadsheets and charts are not highly persuasive. What people respond to is "vivid" evidence that brings your concept or argument to life.

To brush up on your persuasion skills, look at The Rhetorical Triangle . This tool asks you to consider your communication from three perspectives: those of the writer, the audience and the context. It's a method that builds credibility, and helps you ensure that your arguments are logical.

3. Monroe's Motivated Sequence

Monroe's Motivated Sequence is another good structure to use when you need to motivate or persuade. This sequence consists of five key steps:

  • Getting your audience's attention – Use an interesting "hook" or opening point, such as a shocking statistic. Be provocative and stimulating, not boring and unemotional.
  • Creating a need – Convince the audience there's a problem, explain how it affects them. Persuade them that things need to change.
  • Defining your solution – Explain what you think needs to be done.
  • Describing a detailed picture of success (or failure) – Give people a vision; something they can see, hear, taste, and touch.
  • Asking the audience to do something straight away – Get them involved right from the start. If you do this, it's then much easier to keep them engaged and active in your cause.

4. Demonstration Structure

Use a simple demonstration structure when you are unveiling a new product or service.

Start by explaining why the product or service is so good. What makes it special? What problem will it solve for people?

Next, demonstrate what it does. How you do this will depend on your product but, whatever you do, make sure it works! Bring any important points to the audience's attention and provide helpful tips, where appropriate. Show them the results, and finish by giving them useful information, a good understanding of your topic, and something to remember.

Don't get too wrapped up in the detail; remember to keep it simple. Your presentation will be more powerful and your audience will remember more if you highlight just a few of the most important features. This will whet their appetite, and leave them wanting to know more.

5. Opportunity, Benefits, Numbers Structure

The Opportunity, Benefits, Number (OBN) structure is useful when you face busy people who want to hear what you have to say in the shortest time possible.

To use this structure, give audience members a quick summary of the opportunity that they need to consider, and outline the benefits that they can expect. Then, show them the numbers that back up your claims. [1]

For example, imagine you are explaining why your company should implement a new performance management system. First, you might give some background on the proposal – for example, you want to drive a high-performance culture. Then, you could explain the benefits, such as improving organizational performance and profits. Finally, you could compare the cost of bringing the system in with the predicted return on investment, based on a similar system at another organization.

Presentations that lack a clear flow are confusing and ineffective. This is why it's important to pay careful attention when choosing the most appropriate structure.

Different structures fulfill different purposes. Before you begin, think about why you are giving your presentation. Do you want to inform, persuade, inspire, or entertain your audience?

The most common structure for presentations is Open – Body – Conclusion. This is often effective because it gives you the opportunity to repeat your key points a number of times. However, other structures can be more appropriate, depending on the circumstances, such as when you're trying to persuade an audience, demonstrate a product, or provide information in the most time-efficient way.

Download Worksheet

[1] Martinuzzi, B. (2013). '11 Ways to Structure a Knockout Presentation,' from American Express OPEN Forum [online]. Available here . [Accessed 7 August 2014.]

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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 21, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

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structure of a research presentation

Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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Market research presentation: A comprehensive guide

This comprehensive guide covers everything from choosing the right topic to delivering with confidence.

Raja Bothra

Building presentations

team preparing market research presentation

Ever wondered what goes into creating a killer market research presentation that not only impresses your stakeholders but also provides valuable insights?

You're in the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive deep into the world of market research presentations, dissecting everything from what they are to how to create one that stands out.

How do you explain market research?

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of market research presentations, let's start with the basics – what is market research?

Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data about a particular market, industry, or consumer group. It's the compass that guides businesses in making informed decisions.

Market research comes in various forms: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research involves collecting numerical data, while qualitative research focuses on understanding the why and how behind consumer behavior. Both are crucial components of effective market research.

What is a market research presentation?

Now that we have a clear understanding of market research, let's move on to market research presentations. A market research presentation is the culmination of your research efforts, a visual and data-driven representation of your findings. It's the bridge that connects your research to your stakeholders, making it easier for them to grasp the insights you've gathered.

A well-crafted market research presentation is not just a collection of slides; it's a storytelling platform. It should engage your audience, present data in an understandable manner, and ultimately guide your stakeholders towards informed decision-making.

What to include in a market research presentation?

Creating a market research presentation involves more than just inserting a few charts and graphs. To ensure your presentation hits the mark, here are some essential elements to include:

1. Market research overview

  • Define the purpose and objectives of your research.
  • Provide a brief overview of the market you've studied.

2. Methodology

  • Explain how you conducted your research, whether through surveys, data analysis, or other methods.
  • Discuss any challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

3. Key findings

  • Highlight the most significant discoveries from your research.
  • Use charts, graphs, and infographics to visualize data.

4. Market analysis

  • Dive deep into your market analysis, discussing trends, competition, and market share.
  • Share insights that can impact the business.

5. Recommendations

  • Based on your findings, provide actionable recommendations.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of each recommendation.

6. Conclusion

  • Summarize the core points of your presentation.
  • Emphasize the key takeaways for your audience.

How to structure a market research presentation

Structuring a market research presentation effectively is essential to convey your findings and insights clearly to your audience. Whether you're presenting to stakeholders, colleagues, or clients, a well-structured presentation can make your data more understandable and impactful. Here's a suggested structure for a market research presentation:

1. Title slide

  • Title of the Presentation
  • Your Name and Affiliation
  • Date of the Presentation
  • Briefly outline what you will cover in the presentation. This gives your audience a roadmap of what to expect.

3. Introduction

  • Provide a brief overview of the purpose and context of your market research.
  • Explain why the research was conducted and its relevance.

4. Background and objectives

  • Describe the background information, including any relevant industry trends or developments.
  • Clearly state the research objectives and what you aimed to achieve.

5. Methodology

  • Explain the research methods and techniques used.
  • Discuss the data collection process, sample size, and any limitations.

6. Data collection

  • Present the findings from your research.
  • Use charts, graphs, and visuals to make data more accessible.
  • Highlight key insights and trends.

7. Analysis and interpretation

  • Explain the significance of the findings.
  • Interpret the data and provide insights.
  • Address any unexpected or interesting observations.

8. Competitor analysis

  • Analyze the competitive landscape in your market.
  • Highlight strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) for your company and competitors.

9. Consumer insights

  • Share any insights into customer preferences, needs, and behaviors.
  • Explain how these insights impact your business.

10. Recommendations

  • Based on your research, provide actionable recommendations.
  • Highlight strategies or changes that should be implemented.

11. Implementation plan

  • If applicable, outline a plan for implementing the recommendations.
  • Include timelines, responsibilities, and resources needed.

12. Conclusion

  • Summarize the key points of your presentation.
  • Reiterate the importance of the research.

13. Q&A session

  • Open the floor for questions and discussion.

14. Appendix

  • Include any supplementary information, detailed data, or additional charts and graphs.
  • Ensure that this information is easily accessible but not essential for understanding the main presentation.

15. Contact information

  • Provide your contact information in case the audience has further questions or needs clarification.

16. Thank you slide

  • Express your gratitude for the audience's time and attention.

Remember to keep your presentation clear, concise, and visually engaging. Use visuals sparingly but effectively to support your points. Practice your delivery to ensure that you can explain the findings and recommendations confidently. Tailor the presentation to the needs and interests of your specific audience.

Do’s and don'ts on a market research presentation

To ensure your market research presentation hits the mark, here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind:

  • Do your research: Know your subject matter inside out.
  • Do use visuals: Incorporate charts, graphs, and infographics.
  • Do engage your audience: Encourage questions and discussions.
  • Do practice: Rehearse your presentation until you're confident.


  • Don't overwhelm with data: Keep it concise and focused.
  • Don't read slides: Speak naturally and use slides as visual aids.
  • Don't rush: Take your time; clarity is key.
  • Don't ignore questions: Address all queries from your audience.

Summarizing key takeaways

In this comprehensive guide, we've covered the ins and outs of creating and presenting a market research presentation. From understanding the basics of market research to crafting engaging presentations, you now have the knowledge to excel in this essential aspect of business strategy.

  • Market research essentials: Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data about a specific market, industry, or consumer group. It provides the foundation for informed decision-making in business.
  • The role of market research presentations: A market research presentation is a visual and data-driven representation of research findings. It serves as a bridge between your research and stakeholders, helping them understand and act upon the insights you've gathered.
  • Elements of a great presentation: A well-crafted market research presentation includes an overview, methodology, key findings, market analysis, recommendations, and a concise conclusion. These elements help structure your presentation effectively.
  • Presentation delivery matters: Knowing your audience, practicing your presentation, engaging your audience, using visuals effectively, and being concise are all crucial for a successful presentation.
  • Do's and don'ts: Do your research thoroughly, use visuals to enhance understanding, engage with your audience, and practice your delivery. Avoid overwhelming with data, reading slides, rushing through your presentation, and ignoring audience questions.

Remember, an effective market research presentation isn't just about showcasing data; it's about telling a compelling story that guides decision-making. So, use the power of visuals, engage your audience, and deliver insights that make a real impact.

1. Why is using a market research presentation template important?

Using a market research presentation template can streamline your research process. It provides a structured framework in powerpoint ppt with graphs and charts that help you present the results effectively. You can easily download a market research presentation template to make your presentation look professional and save time in creating a presentation design.

2. How can I effectively communicate market trends in my presentation?

To effectively communicate market trends in your presentation, start your presentation by explaining the research process and how you conducted market research. Use market research powerpoint (ppt) slides with graphs and charts to show key pieces of information. Connect the dots between the data and present the results using the market research PowerPoint template. This will make your presentation more engaging for your audience.

3. Why is market research essential for launching a new product or service?

Market research is essential when you want to present a new product or service idea to your core business audience. By conducting market research, you gather valuable insights about your target market, which can be used to create your presentation. A well-designed research ppt can make the best case for your business idea by showcasing the market trends and data you've collected.

4. How do I use market research to make my presentation more impactful?

To make your presentation more impactful, start by using a market research presentation template. Incorporate graphs and charts to present the research data effectively. Make sure your presenter skills are polished when presenting your research to stakeholders or investors. Use market research PowerPoint slides to show key findings and connect the dots between the research process and the business objectives you want to achieve.

5. Can you provide tips on how to present the results of my market research effectively?

Certainly! When presenting your research, use a market research PowerPoint template to organize your content. Download a template that suits your needs. Focus on the research design and how you conducted market research, talking to customers and gathering data. Use the template to create your presentation and ensure it flows smoothly. This will help you present the results in a way that engages your audience and conveys the importance of the research in supporting your business goals.

Create your market research presentation with prezent

Ready to create your market research presentation? Don't forget to leverage the right tools. Consider using Prezent, the business success communication platform for enterprise teams, offers a powerful solution for crafting market research presentations that elevate your business's communication. With our AI presentation tool, you can achieve full brand compliance and create personalized, on-brand presentations tailored to the preferences of your audience.

Key Features:

  • Personalized fingerprints : Prezent allows you to customize your presentations based on audience preferences, ensuring that your message resonates effectively.
  • Presentation builder : Our platform provides a user-friendly presentation builder that simplifies the process of creating compelling market research presentations.
  • Business storytelling : Access guides and e-courses to master structured storytelling, with 50+ storylines commonly used by business leaders.
  • Brand-approved design : Ensure brand consistency with our document management system, which offers over 35,000 slides in your company's approved design.
  • Supercharge your team's communication : Prezent saves you 70% of the time required to make presentations, allowing you to crush 60% of communication costs by replacing expensive agencies with our software and services.
  • Enterprise-grade security : Rest assured that your data is secure with our top-priority commitment to data protection and independent third-party assurance.

For a personal touch and additional support, explore our professional services, including overnight services and presentation specialists. Submit your presentation by 5:30 PM PST, and by 9:30 AM the next business day presentation is delivered in your inbox.

With Prezent, you can create market research presentations that not only impress but also deliver your message effectively, all while staying 100% on brand and reducing communication costs.

Try our free trial or book a demo and elevate your presentations today with Prezent!

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