How to present a research paper

Tips on how to successfully present a research paper to an academic audience

A. Substance

  1. 1. Tell a story at the beginning (parable; personalize)
  2. 2. Tell audience what your agenda is (3-4 parts)
  3. 3. Tell them what your conclusion is
  4. 4. Make your experimental methods clear!! (flowchart)
  5. 5. If your audience are all experts in the area (e.g., D.R.R.C.)… don’t bore them…
  6. 6. If your audience are not experts (high variance): broad + deep spikes
  7. 7. Write down the questions that you get or have a friend do this for you

B. Style

  1. 1. Use an overhead projector or powerpoint computer display
  2. 2. Do not make font too small
  3. 3. 50 min maximum (even if you have 90 minute slot)
  4. 4. Do not let anyone take away your conclusions (recency effect)
  5. 5. Do not get defensive (mode of science and truth and beauty)
  6. 6. What to do if someone attacks your method/assumptions
  7. 7. What to do if someone attacks you
  8. 8. Never refuse to take questions at any point during the talk
  9. 9. Never insist that questions should be postponed until end of talk
  10. 10. Never turn questions around on the questioner…
  11. 11. Be thoughtful about questions (they are what you are evaluated upon)
  12. 12. Rehearse your opener!
  13. 13. Rehearse your answers to questions…

C. Action items you can take now

  1. 1. Seize every single public speaking opportunity you can
  2. 2. Conference talk (academy): 12-15 min
  3. 3. MPA talks (May, Palmer House)
  4. 4. Graduate students organize speaker series