Tips for Giving Talks

Guidelines for Lightning Talks

  • You should prepare an approximately 3 minute presentation and reserve 2 minutes for audience questions for a maximum of 5 minutes total
  • You must follow a two-slide format
    • The first slide is your title slide and should include the following:
      • Title
      • Presenter
      • Faculty Advisor
      • Academic Affiliation
      • Optional: Acknowledgements
    • The second slide is your research content slide
      • The first slide must be a title slide. Do not create two research slides and no title slide. This will not be accepted.
    • NO transitions, animations, or multimedia (e.g., audio or video) are allowed
    • Do NOT use widescreen formatting

Creating an Effective Research Slide

  • Keep it simple
    • Don’t include technical details
    • Don’t put too much information on the slide
  • Choose an eye-catching visual
    • Pick visuals that help the audience understand your research and its purpose
  • Do NOT copy and paste a poster presentation onto a slide
    • You will not have enough time to go through an entire research poster in 3 minutes
  • Below are some examples of title slides and research slides

Tips for a Successful Lightning Talk

  • Start and end with why your research is important
    • What problem(s) does your research address?
    • What would a non-researcher care about this study?
  • Pick an aspect of the study which you plan to focus on
    • If your presentation is a research study:
      • Briefly give necessary and relevant background
      • Explain your general approach to the study
      • Provide findings and relate them to the “why” of your study
        • If you do not have data, provide anticipated findings and how they would connect to the “why” of your study
    • If your presentation is a literature review:
      • Review relevant literature
      • Identify and explain gaps in the literature
      • Optional: Propose interesting areas of future studies
  • Most importantly, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
    • Practice the timing of your presentation (presenters will be cut off once they reach their maximum time limit)
    • Practice how you will transition from one idea to the next
    • Practice speaking clearly and at an appropriate pace
    • Practice in front of an audience
    • Practice answering questions that might come up

Guidelines for Oral Presentations

  • You should prepare an approximately 9 minute presentation and reserve 3 minutes for audience question for a maximum of 12 minutes total
  • There are no slide limits or restrictions for oral presentations, though it is recommended that you do NOT use a widescreen format