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  • demonstration
  • introduction
  • arrangement
  • investiture
  • proposition
  • remembrance
  • representation
  • dog and pony show
  • sales pitch

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another word for presentation in science

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Home Blog Presentation Ideas Powerful Words to Use in Presentations: Ultra Long List 

Powerful Words to Use in Presentations: Ultra Long List 

Powerful Words to Use in Presentations: Ultra Long List PPT Template

The power of words is immense and palpable when it comes to sharing ideas with others. The way you frame your sentences and cherry-pick specific words will affect how the audience preserves you. Not just that. Well-selected power words can shape narratives around businesses, distort (positively and negatively) their perception, and impact the listener’s decision to purchase. That’s why top copywriters and public speakers alike spend a great deal of time brainstorming different word combos and obsessing over their selection of action verbs, adjectives, and linking phrases.

Granted, you no longer need to do that. Just grab a PowerPoint template of your choice and start populating it with our big list of power words! 

What are Power Words?

Power words are persuasive words and phrases that evoke a positive or negative emotional response. Our selection of verbs, adjectives, and adverbs can convey different emotions from slight excitement to rightful outrate. That’s why public speakers , authors, and copywriters always carefully choose their words to convey the right idea and sentiment. 

Power words and phrases can make the same idea sound very different. Let’s take Apple’s famous slogan as an example: Think different. 

You can also convey the same idea using other descriptive words: Don’t think like everybody else, think outside the box, be creative 

Powerful Words Think Different PPT Template

However, each variation has a somewhat different ring to it. Ultimately, your word choice also impacts how others perceive you based on your speech.

Researchers found that word selection can have a massive impact on people, businesses, and society as a whole. Individual word choices can indicate the speaker’s mental state and impact the outcomes of a negotiation. Business power words shape customer experience with the brand and affect conversions. Action words, chose by the media, influence public perception of a social issue. 

Interestingly a group of researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and Wharton in the US also found that word choices impact the song’s popularity. By applying text mining analytics to Billboard charts, the group found that songs with somewhat more unique texts performed better than those with pretty standard lyrics. A 16% differentiation in lyrical topics within a song was enough to propel it higher than songs in similar genres. 

The takeaway:

Our word choices have a profound impact on how others perceive us, as well as the actions they take afterward. Thus, if you want to be a Rockstar presenter , you need to choose your words carefully and prioritize powerful words! 

People Cheering for Speaker PPT Template

List of Powerful Words to Use in Presentations 

The English language has about 170,000 words in use . But an average person has an active vocabulary of 20,000 – 30,000 words. Among them is a smaller range of powerful adjectives and action verbs to make your presentations and speeches more impactful. 

Action Verbs to Use in Your PowerPoint Presentation

As the name implies, action verbs denote some dynamics — state, movement, result, etc. We use action verbs in our everyday speech a lot to describe what and how we do things. As author Elwyn Brooks White suggests : 

“Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place.”

Strong verbs don’t need adverbs to reinforce them. Compare these two statements: 

The first sentence merely states the fact. But the second one better conveys the emotion, the urgency of getting out of the room. It adds color to the narrative and sets the right mood.

In business presentations, action verbs help imply action to the user. They are good to use for both throughout the copy and the closing slide when you describe: 

As you proofread your slide deck, look for weaker verbs and then replace them with stronger synonyms. Some common offenders include: 

List of powerful verbs to make your language more persuasive: 

Man Speaking in Megaphone Powerful Words PPT Template

Powerful Adjectives to Use In Your Presentation 

The goal of adjectives is to reinforce your nouns and verbs. Use them to convey specific emotions and set the scene for the audience. 

But be sparring. You are not writing a novel. Too many adjectives can make your slide deck look cluttered, as you’d have to skim on white space to fit longer sentences. Also, excessive use of adjectives can muddle the main idea behind your key statements.

Below is our quick collection of power adjectives you can use to punch up your presentation: 

Power Words for Motivation

Power Words for Sales (Adjectives) 

Power Adjectives to Persuade

Coherence Markers 

Coherence markers are conversational words and phrases we use to denote logical connections between different ideas. They are not meaningful standalone words. Yet, they play a huge role in making your presentation copy more compelling.

Take a look at these two versions of Dove ad copy:

The bolded coherence markers help digest the claims by establishing logical connections between the ideas. Research shows that adding such links to any copy (or speech) improves clarity and boosts persuasion. Therefore, sprinkle some coherence markers in your presentation to help the reader or lister mentally justify what you are saying. 

Coherence Markers to Use in a Presentation 


A metaphor is a figure of speech used to represent or symbolize another object or concept. For example, time is the greatest gift given to you . 

Writers love using metaphors to act depth and eloquence to their narrative. At the same time, top presenters use these to help the reader picture an intangible concept. 

As research found, metaphors help with persuasion by helping the reader or listener form a concrete mental image of the discussed concept. For example, you can say that your printing equipment works fast. But how fast do you mean? A metaphor can help make it more clear, e.g., “Our printing machines an equivalent of Ferrari in terms of speed.”  

Check our complete guide to using metaphors in presentations for more insights. Or swipe of some of the examples from our list below: 

Powerful Words Before And After Metaphor PPT Template

Metaphors for Professional Presentations 

To Conclude

Positive power words speak straight to the hearts and minds of the audiences. They encourage, inspire, motivate, bring up, and help move on in the right direction. If your goal is to hammer in a clear idea and prompt subsequent desirable action, these words are your best buddies to use all through your presentation slides and during delivery! 

1. 12 Tips List PowerPoint Templates

another word for presentation in science

If you´re searching for a PowerPoint Template that is very flexible and can be used to create lists, the 12 Tips List PowerPoint Template is a great choice. 

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another word for presentation in science

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Karger Publishers

Cerebrovascular Diseases

Special report, how to prepare and deliver a scientific presentation.

Teaching Course Presentation at the 21st European Stroke Conference, Lisboa, May 2012

Author affiliations a Comprehensive Stroke Center, University of Alabama Hospital, Birmingham, Ala., USA; b Department of Neurology, UniversitätsMedizin Mannheim UMM, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany

Dr. A. Alexandrov

Director Comprehensive Stroke Center

UAB Hospital RWUH M226, 619 19th Street South

Birmingham, AL 35249 (USA)

E-Mail [email protected]

Keywords: Science Presentation Quality

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Logo S. Karger AG

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.

© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel


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.

Presentation Methods

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

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.

Delivering a Presentation

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:

Study Methods

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.

Discussion: Transform!

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.

Author Contacts

Article / publication details.

Abstract of Special Report

Received: October 05, 2012 Accepted: November 22, 2012 Published online: March 05, 2013 Issue release date: April 2013

Number of Print Pages: 7 Number of Figures: 0 Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 1015-9770 (Print) eISSN: 1421-9786 (Online)

For additional information:

Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


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Your Career

How to give a dynamic scientific presentation

Convey your ideas and enthusiasm – and avoid the pitfalls that put audiences to sleep

science presentation banner

Giving presentations is an important part of sharing your work and achieving recognition in the larger medical and scientific communities. The ability to do so effectively can contribute to career success.

However, instead of engaging audiences and conveying enthusiasm, many presentations fall flat. Pitfalls include overly complicated content, monotone delivery and focusing on what you want to say rather than what the audience is interested in hearing.

Effective presentations appeal to a wide range of audiences — those who work in your area of interest or in related fields, as well as potential funders, the media and others who may find your work interesting or useful.

There are two major facets to a presentation: the content and how you present it. Let’s face it, no matter how great the content, no one will get it if they stop paying attention. Here are some pointers on how to create clear, concise content for scientific presentations – and how to deliver your message in a dynamic way.

Presentation pointers: content

Here are five tips for developing effective content for your presentation:

1. Know your audience. Gear your presentation to the knowledge level and needs of the audience members. Are they colleagues? Researchers in a related field? Consumers who want to understand the value of your work for the clinic (for example, stem cell research that could open up a new avenue to treat a neurological disease)?

2. Tell audience members up front why they should care and what’s in it for them.  What problem will your work help solve? Is it a diagnostic test strategy that reduces false positives? A new technology that will help them to do their own work faster, better and less expensively? Will it help them get a new job or bring new skills to their present job?

another word for presentation in science

3. Convey your excitement. Tell a brief anecdote or describe the “aha” moment that convinced you to get involved in your field of expertise. For example, Dr. Marius Stan , a physicist and chemist known to the wider world as the carwash owner on Breaking Bad ,  explained that mathematics has always been his passion , and the “explosion” of computer hardware and software early in his career drove his interest to computational science, which involves the use of mathematical models to solve scientific problems. Personalizing makes your work come alive and helps audience members relate to it on an emotional level.

4. Tell your story. A presentation is your story. It needs a beginning, a middle and an end. For example, you could begin with the problem you set out to solve. What did you discover by serendipity? What gap did you think your work could fill? For the middle, you could describe what you did, succinctly and logically, and ideally building to your most recent results. And the end could focus on where you are today and where you hope to go.

Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, gives a keynote address at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening’s 2015 conference and exhibition in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

Prof. Doris Rusch, PhD, talks about creating games to mimic the struggles of anorexia and the anxiety of OCD, at the 12th Annual Games for Change Festival in New York City. (Photo by Gabi Porter)

5. Keep it simple. Every field has its jargon and acronyms, and science and medicine are no exceptions. However, you don’t want audience members to get stuck on a particular term and lose the thread of your talk. Even your fellow scientists will appreciate brief definitions and explanations of terminology and processes, especially if you’re working in a field like microfluidics, which includes collaborators in diverse disciplines, such as engineering, biomedical research and computational biology.

I’ve interviewed Nobel laureates who know how to have a conversation about their work that most anyone can understand – even if it involves complex areas such as brain chemistry or genomics. That’s because they’ve distilled their work to its essence, and can then talk about it at the most basic level as well as the most complicated. Regardless of the level of your talk, the goal should be to communicate, not obfuscate.

Presentation pointers: you

Here are 10 tips to help you present your scientific work and leave the audience wanting more.

1. Set the stage.  Get your equipment ready and run through your slides if possible (use the “speaker ready” room if one is available). If you’ve never been in the venue, try getting there early and walk the room. Make sure you have water available.

2. Get ready to perform.  Every presentation is a performance. The most important part is to know your lines and subject. Some people advocate memorizing your presentation, but if you do so, you can end up sounding stilted or getting derailed by an interruption. When you practice, focus on the key points you want to make (note them down if it helps) and improvise different ways of communicating them.

It’s well known that a majority of people fear public speaking — and even those who enjoy it may get stage fright. Fear of public speaking will diminish with experience. I’ve been presenting and performing for many years but still get stage fright. Try these strategies to manage the fear:

3. Stride up to the podium.  Seeing you walk energetically energizes the audience. They expect you to engage them and you have their attention.

4. Stand tall and keep your chest lifted. It’s more difficult to breathe and speak when your shoulders are rolled forward and your chest caves in. Standing tall is also a way of conveying authority. If you’re presenting from a sitting position, sit up in your seat, keep your arms relaxed and away from your sides (i.e., don’t box yourself in by clasping your arms or clasping your hands in your lap).

5. Smile. Not only will you appear more relaxed if you smile, but research has shown that smiling — even when forced — reduces stress. Plus the audience enjoys watching and listening to someone who’s smiling rather than being stern or overly serious, especially if your topic is complicated.

One of the most enjoyable presentations I’ve covered was on animal versus human cognition . It dealt with the evolution and activation of different parts of the brain. By inserting anecdotes in with complex didactic information, presenter Dr. Onur Güntürkün, Professor of Biological Psychology at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, made the topic accessible and compelling.

6. Speak up.  The audience came to your talk so they really do want to hear what you have to say. If a microphone is available, use it. I’ve seen countless presenters stand in front of a microphone yet somehow manage not to talk into it. Talk from your diaphragm, not your throat, to give your voice authority and resonance.

7. Take your time.  A moment or two of silence as you gather your thoughts or move to a new topic can actually make the audience pay attention. Don’t feel you have to talk continuously, and avoid filler phrases, such as “you know.”

8. Talk to the audience, not the screen. Making eye contact with one or more friendly faces can relax you and help you connect to the audience. It will also prevent you from reading your slides, which you don’t want to do unless absolutely necessary (for example, if you forget the statistics supporting a particular point).

9. Stick to your time frame.  We’ve all done it, but it’s not fun to have to cycle rapidly through your last 10 slides because the moderator has given you a two-minute warning and you’re nowhere near the end. Try to pace yourself. When preparing your slides and practicing (i.e., rehearsing for your performance), make a note on the slide you think you should be discussing when you’re about midway through your talk. This gives you a benchmark and lets you know if you need to speed up or slow down the rest of the presentation.

10. Don’t drift off at the end. I’ve seen people read their summary slide, then nod and walk away. Instead, say “That concludes my presentation. Thank you for your attention.” If appropriate, ask if there are any questions or tell the audience they will have an opportunity to ask questions later.

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Six dos and don’ts of PowerPoint slides

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1. Less is more. Although there are no “rules,” I’ve found that 20-25 slides work well for a one hour presentation. You’ll have a better idea what works for you if you time yourself during a practice session.

2. Create sections. Use a title slide to start a new section or change the subject. This will also help you organize your presentation and make sure it flows logically.

3. Avoid clutter. Stick to three to five bullet points per slide at most . Bullet points should contain key words — not complete sentences. For examples of what not to do, see this recent editorial in the Washington Post , which urges a ban on PowerPoint presentations .

4. Make it readable. Rule of thumb for fonts: 28-40 point for headlines; 18-28 for text; 12-14 for references. Use sans serif fonts, and make sure you have a strong contrast between the background and text (e.g., black or dark blue text on a white background; white text on a blue background). Don’t use ALL CAPS; underscore a point by putting it in italics or bold (underlining can make the text more difficult to read).

5. Use visuals. In a recent talk, presenters explained why biological image processing and analysis is a hot field in laboratory R&D. The reason is simple: you can tell a lot more about cells with an image versus a cell count. The same is true of your presentation: a single image of something particularly relevant to your work is more engaging and has the potential to convey more information than words.

That said, it’s important to keep the visual simple — an image of a single cell or pathway, for example. If you use graphs to show comparisons or results, indicate what the axes represent and which variables (ideally, not more than two or three) you’re displaying.

Generally, steer clear of videos. One of the few effective videos I’ve seen was of a Caledonian crow creating a tool to obtain food, which Dr. Güntürkün included in the presentation referred to above. Videos of in vitro experiments and imaging results rarely help support a point because the low resolution makes everything look grainy.

6. Check your spelling. Nothing takes away from credibility like misspelled words, especially if they’re up on large screen for a minute or more — or worse, repeated throughout your presentation. After you use spell check, proof your presentation yourself. Let a day go by if possible; it’s easier to pick up errors after a break.

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Marilynn Larkin

Marilynn Larkin is an award-winning science writer and editor who develops content for  medical, scientific and consumer audiences. She was a contributing editor to The Lancet and its affiliated medical journals for more than 10 years and a regular contributor to the New York Academy of Sciences ' publications and Reuters Health 's professional newsfeed. She also launched and served as editor for of Caring for the Ages , an official publication of the American Medical Directors Association . Larkin's articles also have appeared in Consumer Reports ,  Vogue , Woman's Day and many other consumer publications, and she is the author of five consumer health books.

As a consultant on postural awareness and confidence building, Larkin has presented to corporations and nonprofits and at regional and national meetings of, among others, the American Society on Aging and National Council on Aging, the American College of Sports Medicine, and New Jersey Dietetic Association.


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