It can be intimidating to present at a meeting or conference. Below are tips and tricks to help you prepare your presentation so that you feel confident and prepared.
1. Clinical photos are the most interesting—everyone loves to see before-and-after photos. The human face or the human body is fascinating to look at. Make sure that the lighting is consistent and that follow-up photos of at least 6-12 months are included. Your presentation will only be as good as the quality of your photos, so learn to take great ones!
2. “KISS”—keep it simple. Your slides should be easy to read from the back row and not too busy. If you are trying to fit too many words on a slide, you will lose your audience.
3. Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of humor in your presentation. A little laughter will keep your audience engaged.
4. Practice your speech in the mirror. You want your delivery to be succinct, crisp, and to fill the allotted time perfectly. If you go over the time when you practice, cut down your talk. Your audience will not miss the slides you choose to omit and your presentation will be smoother.
5. Always be humble and grateful. Thank those who have invited you, thank those physicians who helped you prepare the data, and thank your audience for listening.
6. Try not to read your slides—let the words clue you in. Practice speaking extemporaneously, it is more natural and your listeners will be more engaged rather than bored.
7. Don’t be nervous. Remember that you have fully researched your topic and you probably know more about it than anyone else in the room. Practice speaking to a few people in the audience by focusing on their faces and let the rest of the audience disappear. You will be much less intimidated if you “pretend” you are just speaking to a handful of people as opposed to hundreds of people.
8. If you are asked a question you can’t answer, don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer. Say, “that’s a great question, I’ll have to look into that further,” or “clearly, further studies are warranted.”
Best of luck!