Presentations for a faculty or disciplinary audience are different since the nature of the work being presented if somehow different as well. Below we shall talk about some common research presentation mistakes.
Too much information (TMI) is the most common mistake. You know that you are heading for TMI when you start to feel like you are drowning in facts and figures which don’t seem to relate to each other. Providing way too many counter arguments, definitions, details, statistics and data etc are all part of this TMI problem. The audience is waiting for the presenter to get to the point but by that time not only they are confused by also lost interest as well.
All theory, no action
Not enough theory can make your project look lightweight; too much can make it look like you have not done anything practical per say. It is advised to keep the explanations of theory short and precise, but tell the audience that you are happy to address it during question time. It makes you look smarter if you can answer theoretical questions on your feet anyway. Focus on the actual implication of the research, the difference it is going to be made and provide real world examples. Theories are good to be explained especially when some people are not very familiar with your field, however keeping it simple and to the point is the best strategy.
Why do we attend the conference/presentation?
Sometimes students race through an explanation of data without enough lead in to understand what the problem was in the first place. Without a proper explanation of the bigger world in which the research is situated the audience cannot understand fully why the research matters. The presenter needs to clarify the importance of the research and what it means from the get go and also at the end of a presentation. Sometimes data and interpretations are offered but there’s no sense of what might come next, what use the research could be or how it changes anything in that bigger world beyond the research itself. It would be nice to see that the researcher has some questions remaining, or that there were questions which are raised by doing the research in the first place.
Most academic text is not, as they say in the music industry a ‘radio friendly unit shifter’. Hence, reading big chunk of data aloud to the audience is simply a huge mistake
Being able to give a good performance during question time is a vital skill because it shows people what kind of academic you are when you are when you are off script. So knowing the background of the research, familiarizing yourself with the literature review surrounding the research topic, being aware of the implications, risks and even failures in regards to this topic, all can help one to sound very professional and knowledgeable at the question time.
Overall, a good presenter is a one who is calm, confident, knowledgeable, comfortable and having a fun and energetic tone.