Tiju Thomas

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Sardar Patel Road, Chennai 600036, Tamil Nadu, India


ph. no: +91 8056456442
email id: tt332@cornell.edu or tijuthomas@iitm.ac.in

Our Research Group

Applied Nanostructures Engineering and Nanochemistry (ANEN) Research Group

ID6020 Panel Discussion notes (28 Sep., 2017)

How to make an effective technical presentation

If you are a scientist or an engineer, you will inevitably generate new knowledge. Very often you will need to share the fruits of your labor with the rest of the world. Your scholarship is valuable to the human society, and hence it is only very reasonable to ensure that you share your knowledge in an effective manner. Hence there is a huge incentive for being a good presenter. Good presenters ensure that their thoughts and ideas are efficiently communicated. They are also people with a good understanding of the workings of the human mind. I hope you become a great presenter, so that every one (including me) learns from you!

Here are some suggestions from me, which I think will help you while preparing your presentation:
1. Bear in mind that people pay attention to those things that pique their interest.Hence start your talk with the intention of establishing a common platform for information exchange. Beginning with small tit-bits that highlight the significance of what you are going to talk about is usually a safe way to begin.
2. The average attention span of a healthy human being is about 1 hour. Hence try to limit your presentations to a maximum of 55 minutes.
3. Maintain razor-sharp focus while narrating the story you wish to develop. A coherent story always gains a billion points!
4. Do'nt lose your audience due to jargon (especially if it is a non-specialist audience). Take time to explain the technical terms, so that people will be on the same page as you.
5. Every one likes colors and pictures! Almost always, the best way to explain a concept or highlight a point is by using pictures, graphs, and pie-charts.
6. Do not put too many words on any slide. People will read the slide, and stop listening to you.
8. Throughout the talk, maintain good eye contact with your audience. They will appreciate it.
9. Ensure that all the pictures and writings are visible to the audience in rear rows.
10. As a thumb rule: a picture a slide will help people stay awake and attentive.
11. Do not rush through your talk. Rehearse timings, so that you cover all the essential details in the time alloted to you.
12. Be cheerful. A serious and dull speaker almost always puts off the audience. However silly humour must always be avoided.
13. Ensure that a glance at the title of each slide communicates the essence of what you wish to say using that slide.
14. Allow time for questions. If you do not know answer to question, admit it and be calm. You need not know everything!
15. Always spend some time to recapitulate the highlights of your talk, so that the audience gets an opportunity to digest the overall contents of your presentation.

All the very best for your presentations! You will do just fine!