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Conference Presentation Slides: A Guide for Success

cover for conference presentation slides guide

In our experience, a common error when preparing a conference presentation is using designs that heavily rely on bullet points and massive chunks of text. A potential reason behind this slide design mistake is aiming to include as much information as possible in just one slide. In the end, slides become a sort of teleprompter for the speaker, and the audience recalls boredom instead of an informative experience.

As part of our mission to help presenters deliver their message effectively, we have summarized what makes a good conference presentation slide, as well as tips on how to design a successful conference slide.

Table of Contents

What is a conference presentation

Common mistakes presenters make when creating conference presentation slides, how can a well-crafted conference presentation help your professional life, how to start a conference presentation, how to end a conference presentation, tailoring your message to different audiences, visualizing data effectively, engaging with your audience, designing for impact, mastering slide transitions and animation, handling time constraints, incorporating multimedia elements, post-presentation engagement, crisis management during presentations, sustainability and green presentations, measuring presentation success, 13 tips to create stellar conference presentations, final thoughts.

The Britannica Dictionary defines conferences as 

A formal meeting in which many people gather in order to talk about ideas or problems related to a particular topic (such as medicine or business), usually for several days.

We can then define conference presentations as the combination of a speaker, a slide deck , and the required hardware to introduce an idea or topic in a conference setting. Some characteristics differentiate conference presentations from other formats.


Conference presentations are bounded by a 15-30 minute time limit, which the event’s moderators establish. These restrictions are applied to allow a crowded agenda to be met on time, and it is common to count with over 10 speakers on the same day.

To that time limit, we have to add the time required for switching between speakers, which implies loading a new slide deck to the streaming platform, microphone testing, lighting effects, etc. Say it is around 10-15 minutes extra, so depending on the number of speakers per day during the event, the time available to deliver a presentation, plus the questions & answers time.

Delivery format

Conferences can be delivered in live event format or via webinars. Since this article is mainly intended to live event conferences, we will only mention that the requirements for webinars are as follows:

  • Voice-over or, best, speaker layover the presentation slides so the speaker interacts with the audience.
  • Quality graphics.
  • Not abusing the amount of information to introduce per slide.

On the other hand, live event conferences will differ depending on the category under which they fall. Academic conferences have a structure in which there’s a previous poster session; then speakers start delivering their talks, then after 4-5 speakers, we have a coffee break. Those pauses help the AV crew to check the equipment, and they also become an opportunity for researchers to expand their network contacts. 

Business conferences are usually more dynamic. Some presenters opt not to use slide decks, giving a powerful speech instead, as they feel much more comfortable that way. Other speakers at business conferences adopt videos to summarize their ideas and then proceed to speak.

what is presentation in conference

Overall, the format guidelines are sent to speakers before the event. Adapt your presentation style to meet the requirements of moderators so you can maximize the effect of your message.

The audience

Unlike other presentation settings, conferences gather a knowledgeable audience on the discussed topics. It is imperative to consider this, as tone, delivery format, information to include, and more depend on this sole factor. Moreover, the audience will participate in your presentation at the last minute, as it is a common practice to hold a Q&A session. 

Mistake #1 – Massive chunks of text

Do you intend your audience to read your slides instead of being seduced by your presentation? Presenters often add large amounts of text to each slide since they need help deciding which data to exclude. Another excuse for this practice is so the audience remembers the content exposed.

Research indicates images are much better retained than words, a phenomenon known as the Picture Superiority Effect ; therefore, opt to avoid this tendency and work into creating compelling graphics.

Mistake #2 – Not creating contrast between data and graphics

Have you tried to read a slide from 4 rows behind the presenter and not get a single number? This can happen if the presenter is not careful to work with the appropriate contrast between the color of the typeface and the background. Particularly if serif fonts are used.

Using WebAIM tool to check color contrast

Use online tools such as WebAIM’s Contrast Checker to make your slides legible for your audience. Creating an overlay with a white or black transparent tint can also help when you place text above images.

Mistake #3 – Not rehearsing the presentation

This is a sin in conference presentations, as when you don’t practice the content you intend to deliver, you don’t have a measure of how much time it is actually going to take. 

Locating the rehearsing timing options in PowerPoint

PowerPoint’s rehearse timing feature can help a great deal, as you can record yourself practising the presentation and observe areas for improvement. Remember, conference presentations are time-limited , don’t disrespect fellow speakers by overlapping their scheduled slot or, worse, have moderators trim your presentation after several warnings.

Mistake #4 – Lacking hierarchy for the presented content

Looking at a slide and not knowing where the main point is discouraging for the audience, especially if you introduce several pieces of content under the same slide. Instead, opt to create a hierarchy that comprehends both text and images. It helps to arrange the content according to your narrative, and we’ll see more on this later on.

Consider your conference presentation as your introduction card in the professional world. Maybe you have a broad network of colleagues, but be certain there are plenty of people out there that have yet to learn about who you are and the work you produce.

Conferences help businesspeople and academics alike to introduce the results of months of research on a specific topic in front of a knowledgeable audience. It is different from a product launch as you don’t need to present a “completed product” but rather your views or advances, in other words, your contribution with valuable insights to the field.

Putting dedication into your conference presentation, from the slide deck design to presentation skills , is definitely worth the effort. The audience can get valuable references from the quality of work you are able to produce, often leading to potential partnerships. In business conferences, securing an investor deal can happen after a powerful presentation that drives the audience to perceive your work as the very best thing that’s about to be launched. It is all about how your body language reflects your intent, how well-explained the concepts are, and the emotional impact you can drive from it.

There are multiple ways on how to start a presentation for a conference, but overall, we can recap a good approach as follows.

Present a fact

Nothing grabs the interest of an audience quicker than introducing an interesting fact during the first 30 seconds of your presentation. The said fact has to be pivotal to the content your conference presentation will discuss later on, but as an ice-breaker, it is a strategy worth applying from time to time.

Ask a question

The main point when starting a conference presentation is to make an impact on the audience. We cannot think of a better way to engage with the audience than to ask them a question relevant to your work or research. It grabs the viewer’s interest for the potential feedback you shall give to those answers received.

Use powerful graphics

The value of visual presentations cannot be neglected in conferences. Sometimes an image makes a bigger impact than a lengthy speech, hence why you should consider starting your conference presentation with a photo or visual element that speaks for itself.

an example of combining powerful graphics with facts for conference presentation slides

For more tips and insights on how to start a presentation , we invite you to check this article.

Just as important as starting the presentation, the closure you give to your conference presentation matters a lot. This is the opportunity in which you can add your personal experience on the topic and reflect upon it with the audience or smoothly transition between the presentation and your Q&A session.

Below are some quick tips on how to end a presentation for a conference event.

End the presentation with a quote

Give your audience something to ruminate about with the help of a quote tailored to the topic you were discussing. There are plenty of resources for finding suitable quotes, and a great method for this is to design your penultimate slide with an image or black background plus a quote. Follow this with a final “thank you” slide.

Consider a video

If we say a video whose length is shorter than 1 minute, this is a fantastic resource to summarize the intent of your conference presentation. 

If you get the two-minute warning and you feel far off from finishing your presentation, first, don’t fret. Try to give a good closure when presenting in a conference without rushing information, as the audience wouldn’t get any concept clear that way. Mention that the information you presented will be available for further reading at the event’s platform site or your company’s digital business card , and proceed to your closure phase for the presentation.

It is better to miss some of the components of the conference than to get kicked out after several warnings for exceeding the allotted time.

Tailoring your conference presentation to suit your audience is crucial to delivering an impactful talk. Different audiences have varying levels of expertise, interests, and expectations. By customizing your content, tone, and examples, you can enhance the relevance and engagement of your presentation.

Understanding Audience Backgrounds and Expectations

Before crafting your presentation, research your audience’s backgrounds and interests. Are they professionals in your field, students, or a mix of both? Are they familiar with the topic, or must you provide more context? Understanding these factors will help you pitch your content correctly and avoid overwhelming or boring your audience.

Adapting Language and Tone for Relevance

Use language that resonates with your audience. Avoid jargon or technical terms that might confuse those unfamiliar with your field. Conversely, don’t oversimplify if your audience consists of experts. Adjust your tone to match the event’s formality and your listeners’ preferences.

Customizing Examples and Case Studies

Incorporate case studies, examples, and anecdotes that your audience can relate to. If you’re speaking to professionals, use real-world scenarios from their industry. For a more general audience, choose examples that are universally relatable. This personal touch makes your content relatable and memorable.

Effectively presenting data is essential for conveying complex information to your audience. Visualizations can help simplify intricate concepts and make your points more digestible.

Choosing the Right Data Representation

Select the appropriate type of graph or chart to illustrate your data. Bar graphs, pie charts, line charts, and scatter plots each serve specific purposes. Choose the one that best supports your message and ensures clarity.

Designing Graphs and Charts for Clarity

Ensure your graphs and charts are easily read. Use clear labels, appropriate color contrasts, and consistent scales. Avoid clutter and simplify the design to highlight the most important data points.

Incorporating Annotations and Explanations

Add annotations or callouts to your graphs to emphasize key findings. Explain the significance of each data point to guide your audience’s understanding. Utilize visual cues, such as arrows and labels, to direct attention.

Engaging your audience is a fundamental skill for a successful presentation for conference. Captivate their attention, encourage participation, and foster a positive connection.

Establishing Eye Contact and Body Language

Maintain eye contact with different audience parts to create a sense of connection. Effective body language, such as confident posture and expressive gestures, enhances your presence on stage.

Encouraging Participation and Interaction

Involve your audience through questions, polls, or interactive activities. Encourage them to share their thoughts or experiences related to your topic. This engagement fosters a more dynamic and memorable presentation.

Using Humor and Engaging Stories

Incorporate humor and relatable anecdotes to make your presentation more enjoyable. Well-timed jokes or personal stories can create a rapport with your audience and make your content more memorable.

The design of your conference presentation slides plays a crucial role in capturing and retaining your audience’s attention. Thoughtful design can amplify your message and reinforce key points. Take a look at these suggestions to boost the performance of your conference presentation slides, or create an entire slide deck in minutes by using SlideModel’s AI Presentation Maker from text .

Creating Memorable Opening Slides

Craft an opening slide that piques the audience’s curiosity and sets the tone for your presentation. Use an engaging visual, thought-provoking quote, or intriguing question to grab their attention from the start.

Using Visual Hierarchy for Emphasis

Employ visual hierarchy to guide your audience’s focus. Highlight key points with larger fonts, bold colors, or strategic placement. Organize information logically to enhance comprehension.

Designing a Powerful Closing Slide

End your presentation with a compelling closing slide that reinforces your main message. Summarize your key points, offer a memorable takeaway, or invite the audience to take action. Use visuals that resonate and leave a lasting impression.

Slide transitions and animations can enhance the flow of your presentation and emphasize important content. However, their use requires careful consideration to avoid distractions or confusion.

Enhancing Flow with Transitions

Select slide transitions that smoothly guide the audience from one point to the next. Avoid overly flashy transitions that detract from your content. Choose options that enhance, rather than disrupt, the presentation’s rhythm.

Using Animation to Highlight Points

Animate elements on your slides to draw attention to specific information. Animate text, images, or graphs to appear as you discuss them, helping the audience follow your narrative more effectively.

Avoiding Overuse of Effects

While animation can be engaging, avoid excessive use that might overwhelm or distract the audience. Maintain a balance between animated elements and static content for a polished presentation.

Effective time management is crucial for delivering a concise and impactful conference presentation within the allocated time frame.

Structuring for Short vs. Long Presentations

Adapt your content and pacing based on the duration of your presentation. Clearly outline the main points for shorter talks, and delve into more depth for longer sessions. Ensure your message aligns with the time available.

Prioritizing Key Information

Identify the core information you want your audience to take away. Focus on conveying these essential points, and be prepared to trim or elaborate on supporting details based on the available time.

Practicing Time Management

Rehearse your presentation while timing yourself to ensure you stay within the allocated time. Adjust your delivery speed to match your time limit, allowing for smooth transitions and adequate Q&A time.

Multimedia elements, such as videos, audio clips, and live demonstrations, can enrich your presentation and provide a dynamic experience for your audience.

Integrating Videos and Audio Clips

Use videos and audio clips strategically to reinforce your points or provide real-world examples. Ensure that the multimedia content is of high quality and directly supports your narrative.

Showcasing Live Demonstrations

Live demonstrations can engage the audience by showcasing practical applications of your topic. Practice the demonstration beforehand to ensure it runs smoothly and aligns with your message.

Using Hyperlinks for Additional Resources

Incorporate hyperlinks into your presentation to direct the audience to additional resources, references, or related content. This allows interested attendees to explore the topic further after the presentation.

Engaging with your audience after your presentation can extend the impact of your talk and foster valuable connections.

Leveraging Post-Presentation Materials

Make your presentation slides and related materials available to attendees after the event. Share them through email, a website, or a conference platform, allowing interested individuals to review the content.

Sharing Slides and Handouts

Provide downloadable versions of your slides and any handouts you used during the presentation. This helps attendees revisit key points and share the information with colleagues.

Networking and Following Up

Utilize networking opportunities during and after the conference to connect with attendees who are interested in your topic. Exchange contact information and follow up with personalized messages to continue the conversation.

Preparing for unexpected challenges during your presenting at a conference can help you maintain professionalism and composure, ensuring a seamless delivery.

Dealing with Technical Glitches

Technical issues can occur, from projector malfunctions to software crashes. Stay calm and have a backup plan, such as having your slides available on multiple devices or using printed handouts.

Handling Unexpected Interruptions

Interruptions, such as questions from the audience or unforeseen disruptions, are a normal part of live presentations. Address them politely, stay adaptable, and seamlessly return to your prepared content.

Staying Calm and Professional

Maintain a composed demeanor regardless of unexpected situations. Your ability to handle challenges gracefully reflects your professionalism and dedication to delivering a successful presentation.

Creating environmentally friendly presentations demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and responsible practices.

Designing Eco-Friendly Slides

Minimize the use of resources by designing slides with efficient layouts, avoiding unnecessary graphics or animations, and using eco-friendly color schemes.

Reducing Paper and Material Waste

Promote a paperless approach by encouraging attendees to access digital materials rather than printing handouts. If print materials are necessary, consider using recycled paper.

Promoting Sustainable Practices

Advocate for sustainability during your presentation by discussing relevant initiatives, practices, or innovations that align with environmentally conscious values.

Measuring the success of your conference presentation goes beyond the applause and immediate feedback. It involves assessing the impact of your presentation on your audience, goals, and growth as a presenter.

Collecting Audience Feedback

After presenting at a conference, gather feedback from attendees. Provide feedback forms or online surveys to capture their thoughts on the content, delivery, and visuals. Analyzing their feedback can reveal areas for improvement and give insights into audience preferences.

Evaluating Key Performance Metrics

Consider objective metrics such as audience engagement, participation, and post-presentation interactions. Did attendees ask questions? Did your content spark discussions? Tracking these metrics can help you gauge the effectiveness of your presentation in conveying your message.

Continuous Improvement Strategies

Use the feedback and insights gathered to enhance your future presentations. Identify strengths to build upon and weaknesses to address. Continuously refine your presentation skills , design choices, and content to create even more impactful presentations in the future.

Tip #1 – Exhibit a single idea per slide

Just one slide per concept, avoiding large text blocks. If you can compile the idea with an image, it’s better that way.

Research shows that people’s attention span is limited ; therefore, redirect your efforts in what concerns presentation slides so your ideas become crystal clear for the spectators.

Tip #2 – Avoid jargon whenever possible

Using complex terms does not directly imply you fully understand the concept you are about to discuss. In spite of your work being presented to a knowledgeable audience, avoid jargon as much as possible because you run the risk of people not understanding what you are saying.

Instead, opt to rehearse your presentation in front of a not-knowledgeable audience to measure the jargon volume you are adding to it. Technical terms are obviously expected in a conference situation, but archaic terms or purely jargon can be easily trimmed this way.

Tip #3 – Replace bulleted listings with structured layouts or diagrams

Bullet points are attention grabbers for the audience. People tend to instantly check what’s written in them, in contrast to waiting for you to introduce the point itself. 

Using bullet points as a way to expose elements of your presentation should be restricted. Opt for limiting the bullet points to non-avoidable facts to list or crucial information. 

Tip #4 – Customize presentation templates

Using presentation templates is a great idea to save time in design decisions. These pre-made slide decks are entirely customizable; however, many users fall into using them as they come, exposing themselves to design inconsistencies (especially with images) or that another presenter had the same idea (it is extremely rare, but it can happen).

Learning how to properly change color themes in PowerPoint is an advantageous asset. We also recommend you use your own images or royalty-free images selected by you rather than sticking to the ones included in a template.

Tip #5 – Displaying charts

Graphs and charts comprise around 80% of the information in most business and academic conferences. Since data visualization is important, avoid common pitfalls such as using 3D effects in bar charts. Depending on the audience’s point of view, those 3D effects can make the data hard to read or get an accurate interpretation of what it represents.

using 2D graphics to show relevant data in conference presentation slides

Tip #6 – Using images in the background

Use some of the images you were planning to expose as background for the slides – again, not all of them but relevant slides.

Be careful when placing text above the slides if they have a background image, as accessibility problems may arise due to contrast. Instead, apply an extra color layer above the image with reduced opacity – black or white, depending on the image and text requirements. This makes the text more legible for the audience, and you can use your images without any inconvenience.

Tip #7 – Embrace negative space

Negative space is a concept seen in design situations. If we consider positive space as the designed area, meaning the objects, shapes, etc., that are “your design,” negative space can be defined as the surrounding area. If we work on a white canvas, negative space is the remaining white area surrounding your design.

The main advantage of using negative space appropriately is to let your designs breathe. Stuffing charts, images and text makes it hard to get a proper understanding of what’s going on in the slide. Apply the “less is more” motto to your conference presentation slides, and embrace negative space as your new design asset.

Tip #8 – Use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation

You would be surprised to see how many typos can be seen in slides at professional gatherings. Whereas typos can often pass by as a humor-relief moment, grammatical or awful spelling mistakes make you look unprofessional. 

Take 5 extra minutes before submitting your slide deck to proofread the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If in doubt, browse dictionaries for complex technical words.

Tip #10 – Use an appropriate presentation style

The format of the conference will undoubtedly require its own presentation style. By this we mean that it is different from delivering a conference presentation in front of a live audience as a webinar conference. The interaction with the audience is different, the demands for the Q&A session will be different, and also during webinars the audience is closely looking at your slides.

Tip #11 – Control your speaking tone

Another huge mistake when delivering a conference presentation is to speak with a monotonous tone. The message you transmit to your attendees is that you simply do not care about your work. If you believe you fall into this category, get feedback from others: try pitching to them, and afterward, consider how you talk. 

Practicing breathing exercises can help to articulate your speech skills, especially if anxiety hinders your presentation performance.

Tip #12 – On eye contact and note reading

In order to connect with your audience, it is imperative to make eye contact. Not stare, but look at your spectators from time to time as the talk is directed at them.

If you struggle on this point, a good tip we can provide is to act like you’re looking at your viewers. Pick a good point a few centimeters above your viewer and direct your speech there. They will believe you are communicating directly with them. Shift your head slightly on the upcoming slide or bullet and choose a new location.

Regarding note reading, while it is an acceptable practice to check your notes, do not make the entire talk a lecture in which you simply read your notes to the audience. This goes hand-by-hand with the speaking tone in terms of demonstrating interest in the work you do. Practice as often as you need before the event to avoid constantly reading your notes. Reading a paragraph or two is okay, but not the entire presentation.

Tip #13 – Be ready for the Q&A session

Despite it being a requirement in most conference events, not all presenters get ready for the Q&A session. It is a part of the conference presentation itself, so you should pace your speech to give enough time for the audience to ask 1-3 questions and get a proper answer.

a Q&A slide to start the Q&A session

Don’t be lengthy or overbearing in replying to each question, as you may run out of time. It is preferable to give a general opinion and then reach the interested person with your contact information to discuss the topic in detail.

Observing what others do at conference events is good practice for learning a tip or two for improving your own work. As we have seen throughout this article, conference presentation slides have specific requirements to become a tool in your presentation rather than a mixture of information without order.

Employ these tips and suggestions to craft your upcoming conference presentation without any hurdles. Best of luck!

1. Conference PowerPoint Template

what is presentation in conference

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2. Free Conference Presentation Template

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what is presentation in conference

Conference Presentation: A comprehensive guide

In this guide learn how to choose a topic, develop content, deliver with confidence, and more.

Raja Bothra

Building presentations

team preparing conference presentation

Welcome to the world of conference presentations!

Whether you're an academic, a professional, or simply someone eager to share your knowledge, the art of delivering an effective conference presentation is a skill worth mastering.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of conference presentations, from understanding what they are to mastering the key elements that make them successful.

So, grab your "presentation slide" of inspiration and let's dive into the world of conference presentations.

What is a conference presentation?

A conference presentation is a means of conveying information, research findings, or ideas to an audience in a structured and engaging manner. It's a platform for individuals to showcase their expertise, share their insights, and foster discussions on topics ranging from academic research to professional insights. Whether you're presenting at an "academic conference" or a corporate gathering, the goal remains the same: to effectively communicate your message.

Types of Conference Presentations

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details, let's explore the different types of conference presentations you might encounter:

Oral presentation

The quintessential "oral presentation" remains one of the most prominent formats across conferences, be it academic or professional. These presentations typically span a concise 15-20 minutes, providing a platform for presenters to delve into a wide array of topics:

  • Research findings : Share your latest research discoveries.
  • Completed works : Showcase your completed projects and their outcomes.
  • Innovative concepts : Introduce groundbreaking ideas that push the boundaries.
  • Theoretical Applications : Explore the theoretical underpinnings of your field.
  • Methodologies : Explain the methodologies you've employed in your work.

The structure of an oral presentation allows for a systematic exploration of these topics, followed by a brief Q&A session, providing valuable interactions with the audience.

Poster presentation

On the flip side, "poster presentations" offer a more relaxed and interactive avenue to convey your work. This format involves creating a visual "poster presentation" that succinctly highlights your key points. Here's why poster presentations are worth considering:

  • Concise and visually appealing : Posters condense your work into a visually engaging format.
  • Informal interaction : Presenters stand by their posters in a common area, ready to engage with curious attendees.
  • Networking opportunity : It's an excellent way to network with fellow researchers and gain valuable feedback on your work.

Poster presentations bridge the gap between the visual and the informative, making them an excellent choice for those looking to engage their audience in a more relaxed setting.

Beyond the basics

While oral and poster presentations are the cornerstone of many conferences, there are other presentation formats that cater to diverse objectives and preferences:

  • Panel discussions : Experts gather to discuss a specific topic in front of an audience, offering varied perspectives and insights.
  • Roundtables : In a more informal setting, a small group of individuals engage in in-depth discussions on a particular topic.
  • Workshops : Attendees immerse themselves in hands-on activities to acquire new skills or knowledge.
  • Keynote speeches : Prominent speakers take the stage to deliver inspiring talks on topics of paramount importance to the conference audience.
  • Lightning talks : These brief, high-impact presentations, typically lasting 5-10 minutes, cover a wide array of topics in a succinct manner.

Selecting the most appropriate presentation format depends on the nature of the conference and your personal preferences. If you're unsure about which format aligns best with your objectives, don't hesitate to reach out to the conference organizers for guidance. After all, the key to a successful conference presentation is choosing the format that allows you to shine and effectively convey your message.

How to structure an effective conference presentation

A well-structured presentation is like a well-composed symphony - it captures the audience's attention and leaves a lasting impression. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create a harmonious presentation:

1. Begin with a clear introduction

The beginning of your presentation is your chance to make a memorable first impression. Start by introducing yourself and your topic. Use a "clear outline" to provide a roadmap for your presentation. For instance, you can say, "Today, I'll discuss the key elements of a successful conference presentation, including effective structure, engaging visuals, and impactful delivery."

2. Create an engaging body

The body of your presentation should contain the main points you want to convey. Here's where your "slide deck" comes into play. Each slide should emphasize a single point, keeping it concise and visually appealing. Remember the "good rule of thumb" - one slide per key idea.

3. Emphasize with visuals

Visual aids, such as graphs and images, can help "emphasize" your message and make complex information easily understood. However, don't overload your slides with visuals; use them strategically to "get the message across."

4. Maintain audience engagement

Your "presentation style" plays a vital role in keeping your audience engaged. Practice "body language" that conveys confidence and enthusiasm. Maintain "eye contact with your audience" to establish a connection. Utilize gestures to "emphasize" key points and establish a rapport with your audience.

5. Summarize key takeaways

As you approach the "end of your presentation," allocate some time to summarize the key takeaways. This reinforces the main points and ensures your audience leaves with a clear understanding of your message.

Do’s and don'ts of a conference presentation

Now that you know how to structure your presentation effectively, let's explore some do's and don'ts that can make or break your presentation.

  • Rehearse : "Rehearse your presentation" practise multiple times to ensure a smooth delivery.
  • Use visuals : Incorporate visuals, but don't let them "distract the audience."
  • Maintain eye contact : "Maintain eye contact with your audience" to establish a connection.
  • Engage the audience : "Give your audience" opportunities to participate, ask questions, or share their thoughts.
  • Time management : Stick to the allotted time. "Conference organizers" appreciate punctuality.


  • Overwhelm with text : Avoid adding slide after slide filled with font text. Remember, less is often more.
  • Lack of preparation : Don't "rehearse" just once. The more you practice, the more confident you'll feel.
  • Reading slides : Don't simply "read your paper" or slides. Your audience can do that themselves.
  • Ignoring questions : Always address "questions from the audience" respectfully and thoughtfully. Avoid being unprofessional.
  • Going off topic : Stay on track. "Unrelated tangents" can confuse your audience.

Summarizing Key Takeaways

In this comprehensive guide, we've covered the essentials of crafting an "effective conference presentation." From structuring your presentation to engaging your audience, you now have the tools to shine at your next conference.

  • Conference Presentations are a means to share information or research effectively.
  • Types include oral (concise talks) and poster (visual presentations).
  • Other formats like panels, roundtables, workshops, keynotes, and lightning talks cater to different objectives.
  • Structure your presentation with a clear intro, engaging body, visuals, audience engagement, and key takeaways.
  • Do's: Rehearse, use visuals wisely, maintain eye contact, engage the audience, and manage time.
  • Don'ts: Avoid overwhelming text, lack of preparation, reading slides, ignoring questions, and going off-topic.

Remember, a great presentation is not just about delivering information; it's about creating a memorable experience for your audience. Whether you're "presenting at a conference" for the first time or you're a seasoned pro, these tips for presenting will help you make a lasting impression.

1. How can I create the best presentation for my conference talk?

To craft an impactful presentation for your conference talk, consider beginning with a PowerPoint template tailored to the theme of the event. The right template, such as a specialized conference strategy presentation template , can provide a solid foundation for organizing your content. Ensure your presentation flows seamlessly, incorporating bullet points strategically to highlight key information. Moreover, delivering an effective conference paper necessitates practicing in front of a mirror and employing gestures to underscore essential points.

‍ 2. What is the typical length of a conference presentation?

The length of your effective presentation may vary depending on the conference committee's guidelines, but most conferences allocate around 15-20 minutes for each presentation. It's important to remember to keep track of time as you present, as you may run out of time if you're not careful.

3. Do I need to submit an abstract before presenting a paper at a conference?

Yes, you typically need to submit an abstract related to your topic before being accepted to present at a conference. The conference committee reviews these abstracts to determine which presentations are most suitable and interesting to the audience members interested in your research.

4. How can I make my conference presentation memorable?

To make your memorable presentation, use slide decks effectively, and consider the presentation technology available on the conference platform. Emphasize key points and use gestures to engage your audience. Also, e.g., include relevant images and graphs in your slides to help the audience understand your research paper.

5. What should I do if I'm presenting at a conference where the audience is unfamiliar with my field?

If you're presenting at a conference where the audience is unfamiliar with your field, make sure to use simple language and avoid jargon. Provide enough context and background information related to your topic to help the audience understand. Additionally, be prepared to ask a question or two to engage the audience and familiarize them with your work during the Q&A session.

Create your conference presentation with prezent

Before we conclude, here's a valuable tip: Consider using presentation software like Prezent to streamline your conference presentation creation process. Prezent offers:

  • Time savings: Prezent can save you up to 70% of the time typically spent on crafting presentations, allowing you to focus on other critical conference preparations.
  • Brand consistency: Access to brand-approved designs from Fortune companies ensures that your conference presentation maintains a professional and consistent look.
  • Audience engagement: Prezent helps you understand your audience's preferences, enabling you to create presentations that resonate and engage effectively.
  • Cost efficiency: By standardizing presentations and streamlining communication, Prezent can cut communication costs by up to 60%, a valuable advantage for conference budgets.
  • Overnight service: Take advantage of Prezent's overnight presentation service for tight deadlines, ensuring you receive a polished presentation by the next business day.

In conclusion, a successful conference presentation is all about striking the right balance between structure, visuals, and engagement. Mastering these elements will not only boost your "presentation skills" but also ensure that your audience leaves with a deeper understanding of your work.

So, go ahead, "present your paper" with confidence, captivate your audience, and leave a lasting impression on the conference stage.

Sign up for our free trial or book a demo !  

Happy presenting!

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15 Best Tips for Presenting at a Conference

Matthieu Chartier, PhD.

Published on 18 Nov 2021

Presenting at a conference is an important part of a researcher’s life: it allows you to share all the work you’ve been doing for months or years.

At the same time, it also exposes some intimate aspects of yourself to the outside world, like your thought process, your level of knowledge on a topic, or your ability to structure ideas.

I personally found myself frightened about presenting on multiple occasions. I remember my first seminar at the beginning of my master's degree in biochemistry. Coming from a bachelor in ecology, I felt like an imposter in the new department and was scared others would judge my level of knowledge or the quality of my presentation. Of course, these were only negative projections I was making in my mind, but they reflect the stressful vibe one can feel when preparing to give a talk.

On the positive side, a successful presentation leads to a better understanding of your work by the audience. This generates insightful discussions that can provide ideas about what the next steps of your research should be or clues to solve roadblocks.

It also leaves a good impression on the work done at your lab which can attract new collaborators. Also, getting your work noticed, especially at large conferences, can lead to your publications being more cited. If you’re a student, you can be rewarded with a presentation prize that will boost your curriculum when applying for scholarships.

Above all, learning to communicate, especially to the general public, is a valued skill.

So how can you nail your next presentation? There are no magic pills, but in this article, we’ll share some important tips to help you deliver the best presentation at your next event.

1- Do not start by working on your slides

It is very easy to get lost in your slides if you do not plan first. That is why you need to outline your key ideas and the order in which you want to present them BEFORE jumping into building slides in PowerPoint (or another platform).

You can start with bullet points, a flowchart, or something similar. The crucial part here is to make sure you are laying out the information and not just throwing it on the slides as they come to your mind. It is easy to get lost if you just keep adding slide after slide without any concern for length and/or connections between the information.

You can use sticky notes, paper planners, online flowchart generators, or other tools to help you in the layout phase.

Then, equally important to the key ideas is how you tie all of that content together. You should plan a logical transition and a progression between each idea. This will help you define a common thread and establish the flow of your presentation. Ultimately, it will help the audience capture the message you’re sharing.

In summary, knowing what you want to talk about is key. So before working on your slide deck and your handouts, develop this layout that highlights and connects the information you want to share.

2- Have a duration in mind

You’ll have a limited amount of time to get your message across, so you have to plan your presentation around that time frame. If you have 15 minutes to present your work, plan a presentation that lasts slightly less than that time limit.

Another tip for presentations is to use a timer while presenting to ensure you don’t go overtime.

A lot of people do not plan their time wisely and end up skipping slides in their presentation or going overtime. And guess what? Your audience knows when you skip content because you ran out of time. It comes off as unprofessional and may affect the way people see your work. So take your time preparing your presentation around your time constraints.

If your initial mockup is longer than what it should be, start by analyzing what information could be deleted or ways to get the information across using fewer words. 

It’s often just a matter of focusing on the details that matter the most. Don’t explain all the details of the methodology or the results if it doesn’t add to the story. Keep that for smaller group discussions or during the Q&A period. 

Presenter on stage at a conference

3- Use visuals to your advantage

Visuals are a must in any presentation. Whether it is an image, a chart, a graphic, or a video, visuals help with interpretation and can be an effective way to get your message across or grab the audience's attention.

Just because you’re presenting at an academic conference, it doesn’t mean you can’t use images, videos, or even gifs to help get the message across.

Most people deal better with visuals than words , especially when the information is heavy with data and numbers. But even with visuals, remember to keep it simple. The whole purpose of using visual aids is to help your audience understand the message and not to confuse them with too much information. 

If you’re presenting figures or graphs, remember to use the pointer to highlight the key points while you explain your slide. This is something that is easy to forget when the stress level is high, but it can be a good way to stay grounded and focused on the presentation.

4- Know your audience

In any academic conference, knowing your audience puts you one step closer to delivering an effective presentation. Do your research when starting to prepare your presentation.

Skimming the proceedings of past editions of a conference can reveal past participant lists and their profile. Different conferences have different proportions of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, or principal investigators. Knowing the proportions of each category can indicate the level of knowledge on certain topics and if you need to spend time explaining certain areas so they understand the rest of the presentation or not.

If you find the abstracts, the Powerpoints, or the recordings of talks from previous editions, it can also help you adjust the depth in which you can go when explaining certain concepts.

Do not fall under the trap of assuming your audience knows nothing about your research subject. If they are at your research conference, it is most likely that they possess knowledge of (and interest in) what you are talking about. So, skip the basics that everyone knows if you feel you can.

Use jargon that is easily understood by the community at large and make sure you define less common abbreviations.

Knowing your audience is not always an easy task. If you’re not sure if your audience is familiar with a specific topic, don't be afraid to ask them! It will make everyone feel more involved and you will get their attention for the rest of the presentation. The bottom line, adapt your message to the audience.

5- Practice, practice, and practice again

No one should know your presentation better than you. When preparing for a particular conference, rehearse your talking points out loud and make sure you feel 100% comfortable with the information laid out on your slides. 

In addition, make sure the key ideas and the logical transition between them are crystal clear. One of the worst things that can happen to presenters is getting lost in their own presentation. 

You should practice your speech out loud to become familiar with the words as this will help your tone and confidence. When you sound confident, people are keener to listen to what you are saying.

One additional common but useful tip is to record yourself while practicing. It will help you know where you're lacking and what needs to be improved. 

 For example, some people tend to talk really fast or jump on sentences while others tend to ignore full stops. No matter what the issues are, recording yourself is a great tactic to find and address them.

Microphone close up

6- Present it to a friend or colleague

Outside of practicing it out loud on your own, practice it in front of your colleagues. It will give you an experience that will resemble the real presentation the most.

While you present, notice their facial expressions. They can reveal parts of your presentation that are unclear. Tell them not to interrupt you during the presentation, but tell them to note down their suggestions or questions for the end. Make sure to use a timer to measure how you’re doing on time.

Some people like to present to someone completely detached from the topic. The idea is that if people who are not completely familiar with the subject can follow your presentation, people in the field should be able to easily follow it as well. 

No matter which option you choose, this exercise will help if you have difficulties speaking in public. Do not be afraid of doing these multiple times before your presentation and always ask for honest feedback. The more you practice, the more confident and more fluent you will be.

During my Ph.D., we often presented to our lab members and went through a Q&A section. Not only was it a good opportunity to practice the presenting skills, but it was also a moment to discuss specific aspects and prepare for potential questions. I remember in some instances, the feedback led to reshuffling the ideas completely in a way that made more sense.

7- Appearances matter

Even though people are coming to your presentation because they are interested in your research, appearances matter. The way you speak, how you interact with your audience, and even what you wear, make an impact. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes. 

 If you’re presenting at an online event, make sure the lighting comes from in front of you and not from behind or it will make your face appear darker. Not seeing a presenter clearly can distract the audience and decrease attention.

Also make sure there isn’t anything distracting in the background, like television or someone walking. The best background is usually solid-colored walls.

8- Sleep and eat well before the event

Get a good night of sleep the night before the event. You will feel well-rested and ready to tackle the presentation. It can be tempting to practice your slides and go over your presentation late at night, but it is sometimes better to get a good night's sleep.

In addition, make sure to eat well. You don’t want to feel dizzy or be occupied thinking about food when you should be thinking about the presentation.

Lastly, have a bottle of water close to you while you’re presenting. That will allow you to take pauses when needed and give your audience time to absorb the information after you jump into the next slide or argument.

9- Have a backup

If you have your presentation stored on a hard drive, make sure to have an extra copy on the cloud and vice-versa. Hard drives can break and technical difficulties can occur with cloud storage, so always have a backup just in case. 

Depending on the guidelines of the event, you can also send a copy of your presentation to the organizer and/or colleague. Send yourself a copy of the presentation by email as well.

A lot of people also have a paper copy of their presentation. That’s the last case alternative but also nice to have. If you are in a poster presentation, this may be harder to achieve.

If you have videos in your presentation, check out if the platform and/or venue can display that, especially the audio (if it’s important). Not all software or places have the necessary (or compatible) technology to display your presentation as they should.

Person holding USB keys

10- Use body language

Body language has an essential role in presentations, especially online ones. Make sure you use body language the right way, otherwise it can be distracting for your audience. That includes fidgeting, repeatedly fixing your hair or clothes, among other things.

In academic conferences, the presentations are usually heavy on the information and data side, so it is important that presenters take advantage of tone of voice, gestures, and other body language resources to get their point across.

It is best to keep eye contact with people in the audience. This way, they will feel you are talking TO them and not AT them. But make sure to alternate and not stare at one single person throughout the whole presentation. 

Be aware of your posture and if you have any notes, make sure to either hold them or have them at eyesight. It is common to have notecards during a conference talk, but it is important to know your presentation and not depend on the notes.

11- Encourage your audience to interact with you

A big part of your presentation is for you to talk about your research. People are there to listen to you and absorb information, but they are also there to make the most out of the experience, and that includes engaging and asking questions.

Prepare yourself to answer questions from the audience. It is impossible to cover everything in a short presentation, so try to cover as much as possible and if there are questions you think will arise from the audience, prepare to answer them.

Depending on the type of presentation and what’s expected, you can keep questions for the end or allow questions during the presentation.

If there is a question that you do not have the answer to, it’s ok to say it. It’s better to offer to look more into it and get back to them rather than trying to improvise an answer. Provide your contact information in the final slide or at the end of your presentation. Some participants can reach out to you if they have any questions, suggestions, or opportunities that could be beneficial to you.

If you are giving an online presentation, invite participants to ask a question through the conference platform or website. For example, Fourwaves has a built-in Q&A section on each presentation page where presenters and participants can interact.

Conference participants taking notes

12- Structure your presentation and let your audience know

Let your audience know what you will be covering in your presentation. Have a clear outline of the topics and make sure to have this journey clear so the audience understands where you are taking them.

You can start the presentation by highlighting the key messages, but don’t forget to have a summary at the end (your conclusion), where you reiterate the main points of your presentation.

13- Pay attention to design

Adhere to the following basic design principles when building your slides. Avoid distracting colors and mixing more than 2 colors in each slide. If you use a light background, you should use a dark font and vice-versa. Make sure the font size is also big enough and that you are not stuffing too much information into a slide.

A good rule of thumb for your slides is to have about 5 bullet points on each one and give enough time for people to read through them if they need to. Most of the information should be coming out of your mouth and not described in the slides. The slides are just a summary (the bullet points) of what you will cover.

If you are adding visuals, make sure they are big enough so people can see them and they are not covering any information.

14- Take other presentations as an example

You have probably been part of dozens and dozens of presentations in a lifetime. Is there something you liked a lot in those or something you hated? If yes, write it down. If it is positive, strive to replicate that in your presentation. If it is negative, discard it.

If you are taking part in an annual event, you may be able to access presentations from the years before and draw conclusions from there. You can also look for similar poster presentations or templates and get inspiration from those.

Keep in mind that every person has a presentation style. Learn the basic guidelines and find what works best for you.

15- Rely on storytelling

Storytelling is relying on stories (narrative) to talk about something (e.g. personal anecdotes, metaphors, comparisons, etc.). People rely on stories for mnemonic purposes and most of the time, it is easier to remember a story or an analogy than it is to remember a specific situation.

No matter what the topic is, analogies make it easier for people to understand facts. Whenever possible, try to use a metaphor or a comparison

Bonus tip - Remember to stop and breathe during your presentation

It’s normal to feel stressed even if you’re super well prepared and that you know your topic inside out.

Make sure to take the time to pause in between slides and to take a good slow deep breath. It will help you stay focused throughout the presentation.

Practice this during your rehearsals. Not talking for 3-4 seconds can seem long for you, but your audience will appreciate it and it will help you feel calmer.

At the core, preparing for a conference presentation is no different than preparing for any type of public speaking assignment. You need to understand the topic very well, research and practice what you are going to say, and know your audience, among other things.  

Most of all, remember: no one is born with great presentation skills, so give yourself room to improve.

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11 Tips for presenting at a conference

what is presentation in conference

How to deliver an effective conference presentation (and beat those presenting nerves).

Presenting at a conference is a core part of scientific communication for any researcher or academic. Finding the right conference with the right audience and successfully communicating your latest findings is a great way to enhance your career prospects and, in turn, learn about the newest developments in your research field.

Before we jump in, an important note on fake conferences. There has been a growth in the number of predatory conferences in recent years, so before you register to attend and present your work at any conference, familiarise yourself with ways to tell a predatory conference from a legitimate one .    

Developing a conference presentation is no different to developing any other presentation – you need to be well prepared, consistent throughout and ensure you’re able to resonate with your audience.

One of the biggest challenges in giving a good presentation is managing your nerves. Even the most experienced and respected speakers and performers get a bundle of nerves before they start, so you’re in good company. The good news is that the techniques of an effective presenter can be practised. So how can this be accomplished? Here are 11 tips that will help you give an effective conference presentation.

1. Don’t touch that slide deck just yet

The first thing you need to know about creating an effective conference presentation is not to dive head first into your slides.

It’s hard to beat the feeling of getting an email letting you know that the proposal you worked tirelessly on for a conference has been accepted. Finding out that your work has been well received by a committee can mean a huge amount, especially when you’re driven by your passion for it, like the majority of researchers out there.

So it’s super easy to just start adding slide after slide to your presentation. When I first presented at a conference, we ended up with 40 slides for a 15-minute presentation. And I was lucky enough to be working with some more experienced researchers that reeled in my confusing and inconsistent slides.

Once we started again and made a clear outline first. I simply sketched it out, slide by slide and got back into a flow,  but this time it was in a much more controlled manner. Take your time and make a strong outline to keep you on track. Use this checklist to keep you on the right road.

2. Build your presentation within time constraints

Ensuring your timing is right is so important when presenting at a conference. If you have ten minutes to present, prepare ten minutes of material . No more. If you don’t practice your timing, you may not get a chance to highlight your findings and recommendations – the most important part.

In my experience conference organisers are usually quite clear about how much time you have allocated. The best presenters know exactly how much time they have to work with, then they tailor their presentation to fit the time and keep an eye on the time throughout.

And if you are running out of time, stop. Jump past a couple of slides if you need to make one last point.

3. Use visuals to illuminate, not obscure

Images are key elements to any presentation. Whether it’s a pie chart to show percentages, or a strong image to convey a point, visuals can be much more effective than words. They help reinforce or complement the ideas or points you’re trying to get across. Your audience may be able to understand your message a little easier when it’s presented with visuals that relate to it.

But remember to keep your visuals clean and simple. Some of the worst conference presentations I’ve seen are ones with complex imagery that forces the audience to try and figure out how the image and the speaker’s point are related.

4. Aim for simplicity and consistency

Don’t be afraid of using some text and bullet points if you need to make a point that isn’t easy to communicate visually, or if you’re discussing steps or sequences.

But use them to communicate your point to the audience, not as a prompt for what you want to say. That’s what your speaker notes are for. You want your audience to listen to you instead of reading from your slides, so less is more in terms of the text on the slides.

Inconsistency in slides is a subtle thing but can take away from a presentation very easily. While slides with different colours may look nice, they may be distracting to your audience. Use a consistent template with the same fonts to make it easier for your audience to follow along.  And remember, your audience will view your conference presentation from a distance, so use large clear fonts and as few words as possible in your slides.

5. Know your research audience

One of the most common mistakes I have seen being made by conference presenters is presenting a roomful of people with information they already have . A great way to make this mistake is spending the majority of your presentation going over the existing literature and giving background information on your work.

Just like when you’re in the audience at a conference, researchers are there to learn about your new and exciting research, not to hear a summary of old work. The worst speakers assume that the audience doesn’t know anything and need educating.

Before you begin speaking to a group, find out what they already know and where they are up to with your topic. It’s not easy to get details on all delegates but you will know the plenary sessions and whoever you have networked with before this. Most conferences use mobile apps now, and these are a great way to get an insight to exactly who is attending the conference and what their speciality topics are from the programme.

This can give you a good idea of how much background you need to give so that your key presentation points will make sense. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re giving a 15-minute presentation, by the 6th minute you should be discussing your data or case study.

what is presentation in conference

6. Rehearse your presentation

I shouldn’t even need to include this on the list, but so many people fail to do enough of this. Rehearsing is crucial to making you feel comfortable with every word you are going to say. Rehearse your paper aloud in private and in front of a friend. This can feel a bit embarrassing, but reading it through in your head never corresponds to the time it takes to read it aloud in public. The more times you say the words aloud, the more you will be familiar with it. And if you are familiar with what you’re saying, your confidence in your conference presentation will increase.

When I’m practising for a conference presenting slot, I rehearse out loud in my bedroom. It feels strange but it works. If you’re feeling self-conscious about this (or don’t want your housemates to overhear) you could play some music at the same time.

Another strategy that works well is recording yourself . This lets you see where you’re doing well and where you need to improve. And if being recorded makes you feel under pressure, this helps mimic the actual feelings you’ll have while presenting in front of a real live audience. So you’ll get a good idea for how you will perform on the day.

After I’ve recorded myself, I usually ask a friend or colleague to listen and be critical of my efforts. Getting grilled beforehand really helps ease any presenting nerves or anxiety you will get if you’re unlucky enough to get grilled after your presentation.

7. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Preparation for anything is key, especially for conference presentations.  You’ve prepared enough to find the right conference , and to submit a proposal worthy of acceptance, now you need to prepare to present it.  

Know your slides inside out. You should use them as a guide for your presentation, not an autocue.

Think about your clothing. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable when facing your audience. If you’re not sure what clothes are appropriate, check the dress code with the organisers or with colleagues.

Conference session rooms can get stuffy, so if you’re someone who sweats when they’re nervous, choose clothing that won’t show it. And don’t wear something that’s awkward and restrictive, even if you think it will project a confident image. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t look or feel confident.

Try to get a good night’s sleep before your presentation; everything looks better and more manageable when you’re well rested.

8. Back up your backup

A good way to think about your presentation technology requirements is this: any tech you want to use can and will fail. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility for your memory card or flash drive not to work when the big moment comes. Or for your laptop to decide to reboot. Or for the conference’s presentation facilities to fail.

Arm yourself with a back-up plan so you aren’t left stranded if things go awry. As well as following the conference instructions to submit your presentation online or at their drop-off desk, copy your slides to an online deck service and upload a copy of your presentation to Dropbox . Then email yourself any links you need so they’re within arms reach if you need them. Take no chances.

And if you have any specific audio-visual requirements, make them known to the conference organiser well in advance. If they don’t ask, tell them anyway. Never assume that they’ll just know . Not all conference venues can accommodate the latest technology.

9. Get to know the presenting space

One thing presenters often forget to do before starting a presentation is sussing out the room they’ll be speaking in. If you get the opportunity, get down to the room where you’ll be presenting ahead of time and check it out. This will save you from the last-minute panic of running across an unfamiliar campus. Trying to find the room you’re supposed to be in.

Most rooms will be kitted out with everything you need to present. But there’s no harm in making sure all the equipment you need is there and works. Take no risks and you’ll eliminate nasty last-minute surprises.

Get comfortable with the presentation area, walk around it until you feel familiar with the environment in the room. This will save you the shock of unexpectedly being faced with a large/tiny room. Bring your set of notes with you, and make sure you can read them in the lighting conditions in the room. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need – if there are open windows that are bothering you, ask for them to be closed.

10. Use body language to your advantage

Body language has an important role in presentations, especially at academic conferences. There are usually a lot of facts and findings to be highlighted in a conference presentation, and you need to use all the presenting tools available to you to remain interesting and effective throughout. Your gestures, tone of voice and positivity can be seen through your body language. And may determine how engaged your audience is.

When you’re speaking, a few body language tips can help improve your rapport with your audience. For your audience to engage, it’s important that they can see you. And that you look at them and make eye contact. Try to spread your gaze, rather than staring at one person. And avoid focusing intently on your laptop screen, your notes, or the floor. This can give the impression that you’re nervous or uninterested, and can also prevent you from projecting your voice clearly.

If possible, don’t stand behind a lectern or hold any notes. Instead, keep a straight, relaxed, open posture, and feel free to be comfortable with the full stage. And move around the stage a little as you speak.

The great presenters use gestures to emphasise their points and to highlight their visual material to guide the audience’s attention. When you see a speaker rooted rigidly to the spot and without positive body language the presentation loses a lot of its emphasis. Avoid other distracting movements, such as repeatedly putting your hands in and out of your pockets, jingling coins in your pocket, or fiddling with pens, clothing, or props such as laser pointers.

11. Encourage questions and discussion

If you manage your time well, you’ll have sufficient time left for questions. Or an open discussion after your conference presentation. Expect questions, but don’t worry if there aren’t any. If your audience is reluctant to ask questions, a good session chair will usually pose a question. Presentation questions are a good thing . They give you a chance to elaborate on something that wasn’t clear. Or address the topic that everyone wants to know but you forgot to include.

Answering questions can be nerve-wracking because of the fear that you might not be able to answer them. But when the audience is asking questions, it’s generally out of genuine interest. Don’t trip you up, so see it as a good opportunity to explore how you can expand your work.

Though the majority of questions in a conference Q&A session are fairly benign, like me, you could find yourself at the end of a grilling (perhaps from someone who’s research you’ve had the temerity to challenge) after you present at a conference. If you think this might happen to you, it’s worth doing some reading on how to respond to destructive criticism from peers.

And if you’re feeling nervous about facing tough questions. Here’s something that might help: if you’re attending with someone you know (and trust), ask them to ask you a question. Some people even like to agree in advance what the question will be. This can simply help get the ball rolling and boost your confidence.

And finally, a trick I learnt from an experienced researcher is to keep a notebook and pen handy. And to make notes of the good questions to reflect on later.

Presenting skills are for life

Once you’ve mastered the tips above, you’ll be all set to give a great conference presentation. And the more you do, the easier they’ll get. Until you’ll reach a point when you can’t remember how nervous they used to make you.

One final note on audience size: never take it personally. Some of the best papers out there were presented to small audiences. Nobody ever asks how many people were in the audience. And you don’t have to state it on your academic CV. No matter what size the audience, a great presentation is a great presentation.

Brian Campbell

Brian is a data-driven marketeer, and responsible for helping people find Ex Ordo. He works part-time as a lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and loves quizzing his students on the latest business trends and insights. Brian enjoys hanging out with his little nephews, and playing and watching sports. He also likes to keep a keen eye on the scholarly research space, and has co-organised an academic conference to boot.

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What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

  • Carmine Gallo

what is presentation in conference

Five tips to set yourself apart.

Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization. But while there are plenty of good speakers in the world, you can set yourself apart out by being the person who can deliver something great over and over. Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired together are more memorable); don’t underestimate the power of your voice (raise and lower it for emphasis); give your audience something extra (unexpected moments will grab their attention); rehearse (the best speakers are the best because they practice — a lot).

I was sitting across the table from a Silicon Valley CEO who had pioneered a technology that touches many of our lives — the flash memory that stores data on smartphones, digital cameras, and computers. He was a frequent guest on CNBC and had been delivering business presentations for at least 20 years before we met. And yet, the CEO wanted to sharpen his public speaking skills.

what is presentation in conference

  • Carmine Gallo is a Harvard University instructor, keynote speaker, and author of 10 books translated into 40 languages. Gallo is the author of The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman  (St. Martin’s Press).

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11 Tips To Make Your Conference Presentation Outstanding

Table of contents.

The world of conferences are great opportunities for like-minded individuals to come together and share their common denominator interest with one another.

Conferences provide attendees with an opportunity to learn and share with others who share similar experiences or interests all under one roof. Conferences are usually large in nature bringing people from across the country, or even across the world, together.

If you find yourself presenting at an upcoming conference, the honest truth is the stakes are high. Oftentimes, conferences have a lot of people in attendance. When you have your moment to shine to share your presentation with a large crowd of audience members, you want it to go flawlessly.

Truthfully, so do we.

That’s why we’ve put together this in-depth blog post to help you navigate the world of conferences and how to master your conference presentation with 11 actionable tips.

Are You Presenting At An Upcoming Conference? We Should Talk

What are conference presentations.

First, let’s get an understanding of what a conference presentation is.

A conference presentation is an opportunity for people to communicate with a large audience of like-minded individuals typically congregating around a common interest or topic.

A conference can vary in length from a one, full day event, all the way up to a week-long program. Conferences are usually a great opportunity for these like-minded individuals to network and learn from one another on new topics, research or major events.

Now that we know what a conference is, there are several common types of conferences you might encounter during your professional career.

Let’s take a look at the common types of conferences below.

Common Types Of Conferences

Although these are some of the common types of conferences you’ll encounter, this isn’t a fully finalized list. There are more types of conferences than simply what’s mentioned below.

However, you’re more than likely to encounter one of the following whether you’re just entering the industry, a student who’s networking or even if you’re passionate on a certain topic and like to be involved in the community.

Academic Conferences

Academic scholars attending an academic conference presentation related to science

Academic conferences are opportunities for researchers to present their work with fellow peers and colleagues. They’re important because they provide an opportunity for academics from multiple institutions to connect at a single location and network.

Academic conferences can be divided further into professional conferences . Professional academic conferences are geared more towards professors and academics who have spent more time in their field of study such as social sciences or medicine.

On the other hand, undergraduate programs may still hold conferences for academia but these are more geared towards undergraduate students who might just be sharing their semester research presentation.

You might be thinking to yourself, “This just sounds like a research presentation .”

Although you’re not wrong, you’re only partly right.

Research presentations are only one part of the overall academic conference. An academic conference is a combination of multiple research presentations combined into one event. You might have multiple academics speaking at a conference sharing their research presentations, but one does not equal the other.

Annual General Meetings

Shareholders attending an annual general meeting presentation.

Shifting gears to the more business side of things, another form of conferences are annual general meetings.

Annual general meetings, or AGM for short, are typically mandatory, yearly gatherings of a company’s interested shareholders which might consist of investors and employees.

At an AGM, directors of a company share with the shareholders the annual report which covers key topics of interest to the shareholders. These key points might include the company’s financial performance, quarterly reports, upcoming yearly vision, plans for expansion, the company’s performance and strategy.

Shareholders who have voting rights often vote on current issues facing the company and which direction the company should pursue. Some of these decisions might include who is to be appointed onto the board of directors, what executive compensation will be, dividend payments and the selection of auditors.


Overhead image of a large crowd of people walking throughout a convention center floor.

Like most conferences, conventions are large meetings consisting of people with a share ideology or profession. You often hear of conventions in terms of entertainment or politics.

On the entertainment side of things, conventions are gatherings where people of the same interest come together to network and immerse themselves in the unifying experience of enjoying the same things as those around you. Some notable conventions you might’ve heard of are Comic Con, Fan Expo and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Here, you’ll find people sharing a mutual enjoyment of entertainment indulgences.

Political conventions or Party Conferences are the other form of conventions you’ll often hear about.

These are often held by the respective political party where members of said political party come together to network and most importantly, vote on a party leader or delegate.

Press Conferences

press release round table with moderators and key spokespeople.

The smallest form of a conference you’ll encounter is a press conference.

A press conference is an organized event to officially distribute information from a specified spokesperson. Unlike other public relation tactics such as a press release which is still a tool to disseminate information to the public, a press conference is an alternate public relation tactic where media is selectively invited to attend the event to get the information.

Press conferences are often smaller in size due to the shrinking landscape of media outlets. Additionally, press conferences are usually high-stake events usually having highly notable individuals in attendance or presenting. To limit the risk and maximize the safety of these VIPs, press conferences are usually more exclusive.

This is why press conferences are often reserved for bigger news stories and why journalists who are new to the industry try very hard to get on the good side of these conference organizers. Due to the sheer exclusivity of the event, the opportunity to get a unique news story is greater.

Product Launches

Product launch gala in a dark room

The last conference we’ll go over is a product launch.

A product launch, much like a press conference, is another great public relations tactic used to build anticipation and gain the buy-in of the public. They are a coordinated effort to demonstrate new products soon to be released to the general public.

Famous product launches can be seen executed by the world’s top companies such as Apple, Tesla and Disney.

These companies often use product launches to garner attention for an upcoming line of products that will soon be available to the public. The main goal of product launches in recent years is to drive pre-order sales which help raise capital to bring the product development over the finish line without needing to expend any further owned-capital of the company.

Conference Presentation Tips

No matter the conference you find yourself attending and more than likely presenting at, conference presentation tips remain the same. You can apply the following 11 important points to any conference.

With some slight adjustments to each, you’ll soon be a master of conference talk, being able to command any large room of people and retain the audience’s attention with ease.

1 - Do Your Homework

Before you begin putting together your conference presentation slide deck, you need to first do your homework. With any good finalized product, it got that way thanks to the preparation which went into it ahead of time and your presentation is no exception.

What you might want to consider doing before you begin putting together your slide deck is answering the following questions and drafting an outline.

What key message do you want the audience to take away after the presentation?

What do you want them to feel?

How do you want them to act?

Can I achieve these results with the information I already have?

By asking yourself these questions and acting appropriately based on the answer, you’ll be setting yourself up for a good presentation.

2 - Understand Your Audience

Knowing your audience isn’t just about who they are, it’s about understanding what they’re interested in, how they retain information and what motivates them.

Understanding your audience is the first step of mastering presentation psychology and without it, you won’t have a strong foundation for your presentation. You could have the most visually appealing presentation but if it doesn’t resonate with the audience, it won’t matter.

So before you go ahead and start building a presentation based on what you think your audience is interested in, you should really come to a solidified conclusion and know what your audience is interested in.

3 - Know Your Timing

Presentations range in different lengths. You’ll encounter presentations as short as one minute to others that last over an hour. Start preparing your presentation by knowing what your time limit is.

You can typically find this information out by contacting an organizer of the conference.

4 - Use Visual Aids

Visual aids are tools to help you communicate visually.

Some presentation visual aids you might want to consider using are graphs, tables, pictures and videos. If you really want to be seen as an expert presenter, you should even be focusing on the colors you use for your slides.

Now, it might seem like you need a creative degree to master all this, but the reality is you don’t. Luckily, you can outsource your presentation design to a presentation design agency like Presentation Geeks who not only create top-tier presentation slide decks used by Fortune 500 companies, they also can provide presentation consulting services .

Don’t forget, you yourself are a visual communication tool as well. Be sure to dress appropriately for your upcoming conference presentations because you want to make a good impression. Let’s take a political convention as an example. If you’re running as a candidate to be the leader of a major political party, you want to make sure you peak the audience’s interest and gain their trust by dressing appropriately as superficial as that sounds.

5 - Keep It Simple

Don’t overcomplicate your presentation, especially the slide deck.

It’s crucial to keep your presentation, especially the visual aids portion as simple as possible because too much information will confuse the audience and they will likely forget what you’ve said.

Focus on the key details in your slides and use them as supplementary tools. Many presenters will think they need to have a grand conference presentation with fancy technology, transitional devices and other outlandish tactics. The reality is, you want your information to be easily understood by keeping it simple.

6 - Practice, Practice, Practice

The way to become a better presenter is through practice.

You want to ensure you command the room with your confidence. You won’t be doing that if you’re reading from a paper aloud.

You need to ensure you’re confident. Practice your conference presentation multiple times and consider recording yourself as you do. You’ll pick up on your body language and analyze how well you’re using your body language to communicate what you’re saying. Scan the audience and share your eye contact with everyone. Don’t forget to speak clearly and slowly

7 - Prepare For The Worst

Murphy’s Law states that what can go wrong, will go wrong. You should keep this theory in the back of your mind and expect the worst to happen.

Just because the worst can and probably will happen, doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution. That is why you need to prepare for the worst.

You should be able to present all your conference presentations if the venue changes at the last minute, if you don’t have the technology you were expecting to use, if you forgot your handouts like a conference paper. You should be prepared for the worst but have a solution.

8 - Know Your Space

Let’s say your fortunate, which you probably will be, and the venue doesn’t change last minute. That’s great! Use this to your advantage and get familiar with your space.

Ahead of your conference presentations, you should go and scope out the area you will be presenting to get an idea of how you can walk around, what technology will be present, what the lighting will be light, etc.

There are so many areas of concerns and unknowns that can be addressed by doing a little bit of field assignment homework ahead of time.

9 - Go Beyond The Slides - Engage Your Audience

An audience will more likely remember what you have to say and feel connected by being engaged.

You can engage your audience by targeting more senses of the human body. If you only target their auditory and visual senses, you’ll eventually lose them. Walk through the crowd if you can. Have the audience move their necks, stretch and move!

10 - Get The Audience To Participate By Encouraging Questions

Good presenting is one-way communication.

Excellent presenting is two-way communication.

Another way to go beyond the slides and your one-way presentation speech by giving an opportunity for the audience to ask further questions.

This is not only beneficial to the audience to help them get a better understanding of your topic, but it will also help you to answer questions.

It gets you to reflect on your presentation from an angle you might not have thought of before. Out of all the questions audience members will ask, there is usually one or two awe-inspiring questions that get even the presenter to take a moment to reflect.

Use these moments to better your presentation for the future.

11 - Evaluate & Refine

Speaking of making your presentation better for the future, remember to evaluate and refine your presentation and presentation skills.

A true master of any profession or skill knows they truly aren’t a master because learning never stops. You should take the same ideology and apply it to your own presentation skills.

Whether it’s self-reflection or a survey of the audience after your conference presentation, try and evaluate how well you presented and refine your future presentation based on the presentation feedback you received.

The summary of everything mentioned above if applied correctly will result in your being a master of conference presentations. The great thing about these techniques is they can be applied to any type of conference presentation.

Not only that, but if you understand the basic fundamentals of presenting, you can begin exploring other realms of presentations. To really take your presentation skills to the next level, enlisting the help of a presentation design agency such as Presentation Geeks will help you surpass the competition.

Author:  Content Team

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What is a Presentation?

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The formal presentation of information is divided into two broad categories: Presentation Skills and Personal Presentation .

These two aspects are interwoven and can be described as the preparation, presentation and practice of verbal and non-verbal communication. 

This article describes what a presentation is and defines some of the key terms associated with presentation skills.

Many people feel terrified when asked to make their first public talk.  Some of these initial fears can be reduced by good preparation that also lays the groundwork for making an effective presentation.

A Presentation Is...

A presentation is a means of communication that can be adapted to various speaking situations, such as talking to a group, addressing a meeting or briefing a team.

A presentation can also be used as a broad term that encompasses other ‘speaking engagements’ such as making a speech at a wedding, or getting a point across in a video conference.

To be effective, step-by-step preparation and the method and means of presenting the information should be carefully considered. 

A presentation requires you to get a message across to the listeners and will often contain a ' persuasive ' element. It may, for example, be a talk about the positive work of your organisation, what you could offer an employer, or why you should receive additional funding for a project.

The Key Elements of a Presentation

Making a presentation is a way of communicating your thoughts and ideas to an audience and many of our articles on communication are also relevant here, see: What is Communication? for more.

Consider the following key components of a presentation:

Ask yourself the following questions to develop a full understanding of the context of the presentation.

When and where will you deliver your presentation?

There is a world of difference between a small room with natural light and an informal setting, and a huge lecture room, lit with stage lights. The two require quite different presentations, and different techniques.

Will it be in a setting you are familiar with, or somewhere new?

If somewhere new, it would be worth trying to visit it in advance, or at least arriving early, to familiarise yourself with the room.

Will the presentation be within a formal or less formal setting?

A work setting will, more or less by definition, be more formal, but there are also various degrees of formality within that.

Will the presentation be to a small group or a large crowd?

Are you already familiar with the audience?

With a new audience, you will have to build rapport quickly and effectively, to get them on your side.

What equipment and technology will be available to you, and what will you be expected to use?

In particular, you will need to ask about microphones and whether you will be expected to stand in one place, or move around.

What is the audience expecting to learn from you and your presentation?

Check how you will be ‘billed’ to give you clues as to what information needs to be included in your presentation.

All these aspects will change the presentation. For more on this, see our page on Deciding the Presentation Method .

The role of the presenter is to communicate with the audience and control the presentation.

Remember, though, that this may also include handing over the control to your audience, especially if you want some kind of interaction.

You may wish to have a look at our page on Facilitation Skills for more.

The audience receives the presenter’s message(s).

However, this reception will be filtered through and affected by such things as the listener’s own experience, knowledge and personal sense of values.

See our page: Barriers to Effective Communication to learn why communication can fail.

The message or messages are delivered by the presenter to the audience.

The message is delivered not just by the spoken word ( verbal communication ) but can be augmented by techniques such as voice projection, body language, gestures, eye contact ( non-verbal communication ), and visual aids.

The message will also be affected by the audience’s expectations. For example, if you have been billed as speaking on one particular topic, and you choose to speak on another, the audience is unlikely to take your message on board even if you present very well . They will judge your presentation a failure, because you have not met their expectations.

The audience’s reaction and therefore the success of the presentation will largely depend upon whether you, as presenter, effectively communicated your message, and whether it met their expectations.

As a presenter, you don’t control the audience’s expectations. What you can do is find out what they have been told about you by the conference organisers, and what they are expecting to hear. Only if you know that can you be confident of delivering something that will meet expectations.

See our page: Effective Speaking for more information.

How will the presentation be delivered?

Presentations are usually delivered direct to an audience.  However, there may be occasions where they are delivered from a distance over the Internet using video conferencing systems, such as Skype.

It is also important to remember that if your talk is recorded and posted on the internet, then people may be able to access it for several years. This will mean that your contemporaneous references should be kept to a minimum.


Many factors can influence the effectiveness of how your message is communicated to the audience.

For example background noise or other distractions, an overly warm or cool room, or the time of day and state of audience alertness can all influence your audience’s level of concentration.

As presenter, you have to be prepared to cope with any such problems and try to keep your audience focussed on your message.   

Our page: Barriers to Communication explains these factors in more depth.

Continue to read through our Presentation Skills articles for an overview of how to prepare and structure a presentation, and how to manage notes and/or illustrations at any speaking event.

Continue to: Preparing for a Presentation Deciding the Presentation Method

See also: Writing Your Presentation | Working with Visual Aids Coping with Presentation Nerves | Dealing with Questions Learn Better Presentation Skills with TED Talks

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A Practical Guide to Conferences, Part I: Preparing for a Presentation

Conference attendee asks question

Initial academic conferences can be a stressful experience for students, especially those presenting their research for the first time. We asked SPIE Early Career Professional Mikhail Kats to adapt his recent Twitter thread — which also recruited advice and suggestions from his colleagues — into this comprehensive guide on preparing for, attending, and presenting at conferences. Part I is below. Don’t forget to check out Part II , Part III , Part IV , and Part V as well!

Part I: Preparing for an oral presentation

If you are going to be presenting your research, the presentation will likely be the biggest source of stress both before and during the conference. This stress is normal and healthy! You can manage it and come out with a great talk by following these steps. First, put together a good draft of your talk:

• Your advisor or mentor should be able to help you with a basic outline, but ideally, you will prepare the first draft yourself. Most people find it difficult to give a talk that was assembled by someone else; it’s also just good experience to prepare the initial draft on your own. Once you have a working draft, your advisor or mentor can weigh in with their feedback and suggestions.

• PowerPoint is the most common presentation tool. Use it, unless your research group defaults to different software.

• Don't get too fancy with templates. I prefer a mostly white background, to minimize distractions. You may want to check with the conference to see if they have a preferred slide aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9). If the conference accepts both, it is best to go with whatever is most common in your research group.

Powerpoint slide

        PowerPoint presentation slide example, courtesy of Mikhail Kats.

• The format of the slide presentation can vary, but a typical presentation includes a title slide, an outline of the talk, a background or motivation slide, several slides about the science, and a final slide with conclusions and acknowledgements.

• You should have no more slides than there are minutes in the talk, and make sure to leave time for questions. If you have 15 minutes for your presentation, that typically means 12-13 minutes for the talk, and 2-3 minutes for questions. That translates to about 13 slides total, not including the title slide.

• Your slides should have some text, but not too much: 1-3 bullets per slide is a good rule of thumb. You will sometimes hear well-meaning advice to remove all text from your slides in favor of figures and images, but consider this: you may need the slides to be able to stand on their own and guide your presentation in case you get stuck or forget what to say. They should work as a clear outline for the audience as well as a prompt for you.

• Your slides should be readable from the other side of the room. This means thicker lines and larger axis labels than you would think. Almost every student starts out with axis labels and legends that are too small. If you are not very experienced with presentations, I recommend making the fonts so big that they look a bit strange on your computer screen.

• Minimize acronyms unless you absolutely need them. Seriously. Even if the acronym is incredibly common in your field. If you need to use acronyms, define them, and keep defining them slide after slide. People will thank you.

• Don’t forget : every presentation should have slide numbers somewhere along the bottom of the slides.

• Make sure that you appropriately reference both your work and that of others, including any schematics and cartoons that you use. References need to be provided throughout the presentation, rather than at the end.

a. There is no single established format, but it is appropriate to attribute credit to either the first author followed by “et al,” or the name of the research group (“Kats group”). Don’t forget to include the journal name, volume, page number, and year.

b. If you are referring to your own paper, underline your name.

c. If most of the content on a slide is from a particular paper, the citation should appear at the bottom of the slide.

d. If you use someone’s plot or schematic, the citation should be directly beneath that image.

Powerpoint slide example

             PowerPoint presentation slide example, courtesy of Mikhail Kats.

• Have backup slides prepared. These should include additional results, descriptions, and brainstorming details that are not included in your actual talk. Backup slides can be used to help answer any questions or comments that might come up following your presentation.

• Try to give the talk aloud on your own and measure it for time. Your speaking pace should be natural, not hurried. If your talk is too long, remove some content.

• Once you have your initial slides prepared, run them by someone whom you know to be both critical and well-meaning. This could be a more senior grad student, your advisor, mentor, or experienced colleague. Welcome their feedback; apply any improvements to your slides.

After your solid second draft is complete, it’s time to give a real practice talk with a question-and-answer session. This is important, and not a lot of students do this!

• Present your talk to a group of trusted peers and mentors and have them ask questions as they would at a conference. Ideally, you’ll have a mix of people in your field and an adjacent field, all of whom have at least some conference experience. Designate someone to take notes throughout your talk and the Q&A; alternatively, you can record your practice session. The idea is to get a clear picture of how your presentation is coming across.  Pro tip : Instead of the 2-3 minutes of questions that you will actually have at the conference, have the audience ask questions until they are done. While you’re answering questions, remember to use your backup slides. The goal here is to have the practice session be more challenging and more comprehensive than at the actual conference.

• Once you’ve gotten through all the practice questions, discuss with the group what you can improve in both your talk and your answers. Use the feedback to revise your talk once again.

• Remember that it can be difficult to receive critical feedback, especially from those who may not know as much as you do about your work. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you want your presentation to be clear and accessible to a wider audience. Your natural inclination may be to argue against the critiques and suggestions or come up with reasons why they don’t apply, but, if the mock audience is giving you feedback, that usually means something is not clear, and, unless you fix it, it is likely that there will be people at your formal talk who feel the same way.

• Prepare for an aggressive questioner. This doesn’t happen often to students, but occasionally during the Q&A period, someone might claim that your work is wrong or uninteresting or that elements of it have been done before and you have not appropriately referenced the literature. If you are comfortable engaging the merits of this type of question or comment, then by all means do so! However, you should also have some answers ready to deflect such a question or comment. One possibility is: “I think it would be better to discuss your concern after the talk.” If you prefer not to engage at all, a polite “Thank you for your comment” will do the trick.

• After you have finished these revisions, get feedback from your advisor on your slides, and maybe go through another practice talk with them. And now, you are ready!

Read Part II, Poster Presentations ; Part III, Preconference Planning ; Part IV, At the Conference ; and Part V, Preparing for an Online Conference .

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: These articles were adapted from a thread I wrote on Twitter in response to a request by Manuel Martinez (UT-El Paso). The various conference-prep strategies described here have been honed over the last five years with my research group at UW-Madison, so I want to extend a big thanks to the students and postdocs who have helped develop these tools. Thank you also to Andrea Armani (USC) and Rachel Grange (ETH Zurich) who encouraged me to write this advice up as a proper article, and to Rachel for her editing work. Special thanks to Jennifer Choy (UW-Madison) for key suggestions, use of a sample slide, and critical reading of the draft.

what is presentation in conference

Dr. Heidi Toivonen


How to Give a Good Conference Presentation

Are you preparing to give your first talk at a scientific conference? Or perhaps you are a more seasoned scholar wishing to polish your presentation skills? In this blog post, I give some pointers on how to give a good conference presentation. In all honesty, I also share some opinions on what not to do in case you don`t want your audience to loll into sweet daydreaming or leave your talk with a heightened blood pressure.

This post is mainly attuned to the Covid-reality of Zoom-congresses and inspired by my summer spent in conferences of three different disciplines -psychology, information systems, and literary studies. Keep in mind that as this is my personal website, this is not a comprehensive all-inclusive guide to the art of conference talks. The text is shamelessly colored by my very own opinions and preferences regarding how to give a good conference presentation.

In-person and Zoom Conferences -Basics of the Setting

While the content of your presentation comes first, the setting of your speech has a huge influence on you and your audience.

Some quick key points regarding the setting of an in-person, physical conference:

  • Get to know the location and the physical setting of your presentation as soon as possible.
  • Familiarize yourself with the technology: Can you share the power point presentation (for goodness sake, you were going to make one, right? Right?!) or are they shared centrally, e.g. by the technical assistant of your session? Do you need to use a microphone and if yes, can you use it? Where should you stand (or sit) in order for your audience to see you as well as possible?
  • When you give your presentation, acknowledge the presence of your audience first: Eye contact, thanks for them being there, presenting yourself. Keep acknowledging them throughout your talk -you are not mumbling in a vacuum here- and also at the end of it. If looking at the audience terrifies you, sharpen your eyes just above the heads of the people in the front row. In a bigger conference room, nobody will be able to tell whether you are looking at the people or not. If you know there is someone in the audience providing you with a reassuring smile, such as a friendly colleague, you can make eye contact with them. Otherwise, if you`re shy, just keep the gaze not fixed on anyone specific but let it hover above the audience.
  • Pay attention to how you stand (or sit, if you for physical reasons cannot stand). Keep your back straight, shoulders down, chin up, and arms open. Don`t lean towards tables or chairs and don`t turn your back to the audience. You can use the physical space by walking or changing your position during the speech. However, avoid restless pacing back and forth in front of your audience.

Quick key points regarding the setting of an online conference:

  • You have the chance to choose where you give your speech. Choose wisely. Home or office, or some other location altogether?
  • Make sure that the technology works and you`re able to use all the necessary platforms and applications relevant to the conference.
  • Test your audio and video beforehand.
  • Even if you would otherwise be chilling in your armchair following the conference or lie on your stomach in the bed, make the setting for your presentation pleasantly professional. Often, standing instead of sitting gives you a nicer posture and a more self-confident feeling. Standing also allows you to use your hands in a more expressive manner.
  • Make sure that there is enough light when you give your presentation, and no shadows covering your face or creating odd effects. Show your head and a bit of the upper body for the camera -thus, preferably, put more than just your head into the frame.

How to Give a Good Conference Presentation: Time is Money, Don`t Be a Thief

A tired chair of the session, with a tone implying he/she has said this same thing for about 59 times the past months: “Dear X, your time is out.”

Astonished speaker: “Oh, I would have had one more slide to show the points I really wanted to share with you” (after having spent his/her entire time slot merely introducing the topic and never getting to the point).

This is a dialogue I have heard so many times in physical and online conferences that I`ve lost count. In almost every session, there is at least one speaker who gives an introductory talk of 13 minutes and, if they happen to realize they are running out of time, spend the last two minutes skipping through 400 slides to show “what they actually really wanted to share”. Or, if they are not aware of running out of time, the chair will remind them they have to stop. To this, they respond in either of two ways.

They might just keep talking, as if the chair is just an annoying obstacle trying to ruin their show and not the time manager of the whole session. Alternatively, they respond by rushing through to the actual core message of their presentation. The first option is a form of extreme academic arrogance, where the speaker thinks that their chance to speak is more important than that of the others. If one person does not stay in schedule, in the worst case, the whole session becomes a chaotic running after the clock, a series of shrunk fast-forward presentations to make up for the time spend on the one person who would not stay within the limits of their allotted time slot.

Practicing and Timing Makes You Perfect

It`s incredible that I feel the need to say this to a readership that I assume consists of smart, educated, polite people interested and involved in academia, but apparently I do: Practice your presentation beforehand, with a timer. Don`t just assume that having a presentation of so and so many slides takes a certain amount of time. Remember that you will probably (hopefully!) not only read aloud your slides but introduce yourself and talk around your slides. What you have on the power point is not supposed to be the full manuscript of what you say (more of this later).

Take out the timer of your mobile phone and push the button, then speak your presentation aloud in the way you would at the actual conference. Keep checking the timing as you go, and make changes in your presentation accordingly. Talking less than your allotted 15 or 20 minutes is never a bad thing, going over the limit is impolite and selfish.

When you give your presentation at the conference, keep checking the time. Sometimes the organic nature of the actual presentation situation might take you by surprise and you end up talking more or less, faster or slower, than when you rehearsed. Don`t wrap up 10 seconds before your time is up, but a little bit before that. And if it so happens that the chair nudges you that your time is used, do not go on after that, at least for more than a couple of dozen seconds in case you absolutely need to vocalize a key point of your talk. Then apologize, thank your audience, and stop. Remember -this is not an encouragement to keep talking until the chair person intervenes. This is a gentle suggestion of what to do if it so happens that you`re overtime, despite trying hard not to be. All in all, a key secret in how to give a good conference presentation is knowing when to stop talking.

Articulation and Pronunciation is Not beyond Science

Everyone who has ever visited a scientific conference has probably participated in a session or workshop, or listened to a keynote talk, where the speaker is a super professional with interesting and relevant research to show, but you can barely understand what they`re saying. I`m writing about this even if I assume some people might intentionally decide to get offended and read me as saying something I am definitely not saying. How to give a good conference presentation has a lot to do with the how you speak and less than you might imagine with the what you speak.

Academic communities are large and international, and in the increasingly diverse conference venues, English is often not the first language of the participants. Most of us have an accent, and that is beautiful and okay. Personally, I speak with a Scandinavian accent combined either with an American or a British English version of English, depending on my humor and the speaking context. That being said, delivering a presentation in a way that allows your audience to actually understand and enjoy what you`re saying is not some supra-academic extra quality you can add to to the presentation just to be fancy. Communicating clearly is part and parcel of your scientific skillset.

It`s important to keep in mind that one can be a native English speaker and deliver a talk consisting of incomprehensible mumbling, half-swallowed words, and utterly butchered non-English expressions. One can just as well be of any national and ethnic background, have a limited English capacity, and yet, succeed in talking in a clear and accessible way. Back in my Bachelor`s degree studies, there was a lecturer at the university who would talk about political science and pronounce “democracy” as “ demo-crazy “. Is that a lack of paying attention to other people`s talks and noticing how the word is actually pronounced or just simple laziness in making sure that you have got at least the keywords correct? Who knows, but I think demo-crazies can be, for the most, avoided.

We are not talking only about correct pronunciation here. Oxford English is not the goal, but delivering a talk that helps your audience to focus on the content of what you`re saying instead of struggling to decode the medium. As academics we are communicators. We communicate to each other within and beyond the boundaries of our home discipline(s) as well as with the “laypeople”. A conference presentation where the speaker articulates clearly, speaks not too slowly nor too fast, has attempted to find out how words are pronounced, and makes an attempt not to read out the slides but to talk to actual living beings in the audience is always a pleasure, no matter how non-native the English sounds.

How to Give a Good Conference Presentation: Talking Practice Tips

  • Make a video- or audio recording of yourself giving your presentation, preferably a video. Pay attention to how you sound. You can even ask a friend or a colleague to look/listen to it and give you feedback. Are you clear? Are you speaking at a convenient speed? Is it possible to understand what you`re saying even without looking at the slides? Are you sounding like a pre-recorded artificial intelligence giving instructions on an application or does your speech have variations in tonality? Can one understand you without seeing your mouth move? Do you leave enough pauses for the audience to take in what you have said? All these are important points to take into account while preparing the how of your presentation -not less important than the what , the content part of it.
  • Search e.g. on YouTube different researchers giving conference or other talks and pay attention to how they speak. Sensitize yourself to aspects such as intonation, pace, and articulation. Decide what you like and try if you could adopt some of it into your own way of speaking.
  • In the next opportunity, ask for a friendly conference presentation review from a colleague. Ask them to tell you honestly how you sound and what could be improved in your talking. Personally, I have had my partner, representing a completely different discipline, follow my presentations just because I wanted him to give me feedback. Am I precise? Am I clear? Was I inspiring? Keep in mind that sometimes, having someone tell you unpleasant things is the best thing that can happen for you to learn how to give a good conference presentation.
  • If your conference presentation is recorded, find out how you can get to see and listen to it. This exercise can be painful, but will teach you more of your ways of presenting than any external feedback ever will.

The Power-Point Presentation is not a Manuscript

Making a nice power point presentation can be a challenging task. In terms of the key points of how to give a good conference presentation, the thing to keep in mind is that if you want to write a whole ready-made speech for yourself to be read aloud (which I don`t think is a good idea, unless we`re talking about an actual keynote speech), make it a separate document. Power point slides are not the platform for a manuscript. Write as little as possible, and make it bullet points, not whole sentences. Highlight the most important words and concepts. Use graphics and pictures to support your message, not to replace it.

Do not read aloud simply what you have written on the slides, but talk around the key points presented there. It is incredibly difficult to read full sentences in the power point slides at the same time when listening to someone talk. Also, hearing someone read aloud the same sentences that are written on the power point is just boring.

Again: Practice your presentation beforehand. If you want to make yourself notes that you can look at while showing your slides, make sure you can also deliver your presentation without looking at them all the time. Even if the audience would not see you, they can hear whether you`re speaking spontaneously or reading directly from a text, and the latter is extremely boring and uninspiring to listen to. You`re the expert of the topic of your talk; you`re not just the voice hired to read aloud a text. Personally, I will rather listen to a speaker that searches for words or loses the track of his/her thoughts for a couple of seconds when searching for the next thing they were going to say, rather than a speaker who reads aloud a pre-written text sentence by sentence. In the case of the robot-reader, I just dose off and think about other things, to be honest.

How to give a good conference presentation: Make a nice power point presentation but do not hide behind it in any sense of the word.

How to Give a Good Conference Presentation is All About Being a Professional, not a Besserwisser

Roughly speaking, annoying academics in conferences can be put into two categories. No, actually, let me rephrase that -there is just one category. This nerve-racking class consists of the Besserwissers. These all-knowing wanna-be-experts give their talk in a manner oozing intellectual authority and arrogance, nitpick their colleagues, and when in the audience, make irrelevant questions designed to show off their superiority or advertise their own papers. Inside a Besserwisser there resides a very fearful and insecure individual who, after the conference day is over, will retreat to their room and get drunk with whatever their hotel room minibar offers. They will have a legit binge of Ben&Jerry`s ice-cream directly from the box, and cry over the phone to their momma what an utter failure they are in life.

No, not really. That is just me entertaining a vision that would render a Besserwisser a degree of humanity they otherwise seem to lack.

My point is that the attitude with which you give your presentation is what people will remember from it better than any scientific detail. It is your character that draws them to talk to you in the breaks and suggest a collaboration. Hence, it is also academically more productive to come across as a nice human being than something else.

Then again, being aware of the percentage of not so nice but yet successful humans in academia, I`m wondering if I just have you some bad piece of advice.

However, I insist that coming across as self-confident without being arrogant and appearing friendly without looking like a doormat is a good skill in any situation where you want to make a good impression of yourself. This is also true in our discussion on how to give a good conference presentation. It`s infinitely more pleasant to listen to someone who has a down-to-earth attitude to their own work and an open curiosity to the work of others, and who manages to relate to their audience in a friendly, collaborative manner, than to someone who thinks a conference presentation is a self-advertising arena or a guillotine where everyone else has gathered there just to witness one`s slow and humiliating death.

Be a Person(ality), not a Bore

The psychologist in me has spent quite a while observing how many university people seem to start developing a university persona, some right from the beginning from their PhD journey, some when they land on their first postdoc. What kind of a university persona they try to embody depends on the discipline and on the surrounding society and culture. It is a distinctive collection of whatever aspects of one`s habitus are considered signs of intelligence and status in a specific context. For a Humanist, there might be a chance they are going after the look of a book-devouring radical intellectual who can recite their Lucy Irigarays and Donna Haraways even if woken up in the middle of the night. The stylistic characteristics of this look are clear and distinctive, although have changed slightly since my days of studying Comparative Literature in the mid 2000`s at the University of Helsinki.

I am not saying that building a persona that looks like whatever is considered a smart and skillful person`s look in a specific context is a distinctively academic act. Already at the mid to late phases of my Master`s studies in Psychology, some classmates started adopting a look they thought embodies what a good clinical psychologist is supposed to look like. Usually this psychologist look, whether performed by not-yet-ready students or more seasoned clinicians, consists (or consisted, my days in the clinical fields are behind) of anonymous eyeglasses, neutral and natural colors, vast cardigans, and the clear attempt to not use too much make-up or look too business-like or posh.

Personally, I never went after for a profession-adequate look, and I don`t think it has ever worked against me. Just like the clients and patients would more easily relate to and trust a psychologist who looks and acts like a real human being (as opposed to a real human being who desperately tries to look and act like a psychologist), also conference audiences see through any attempt to fit into the crowd or make yourself into a discipline-relevant hip and cool character.

Yes, whether it is what you wear or how you act, be yourself first. Whether you are downplaying your personality to look like a true old-fashioned dry academic should, or dressing up to a hip version of your discipline`s hottest rockstars of the moment, chances are it is not working for your favor. Nothing is as fantastic in a conference as listening to a person who is comfortable in their own skin and genuinely likes themselves, not trying to embody or enact anyone else. A genuine, interesting personality giving a talk can get me interested about something I never found fascinating before. Previously, I have written about how to be a kick-ass unique female professional here (go and scroll down to the videos if you want to see some uniquely charismatic female professionals show their captivating speaker-presence). Also thi s post by Professor Francesco Lelli, summarizing the key points of a video by Patrick Winston, can inspire you to make a nice presentation that lets your personality shine through.

How to Give a Good Conference Presentation – By Remembering It`s Just a Conference Presentation

Sooner or later, everyone giving conference presentations will hit the low point in their congress career. It doesn`t need to be a complete flop of a presentation where your power points vanish into thin air mid-talk, then your computer explodes, and while putting out the fire, you realize you gave the talk you managed to give while having a huge food stain in the middle of your shirt. Perhaps it`s just that you get stuck with your hairdo in the microphone headset and lose half of your hair while ripping the headset off to hand it to the next speaker (this happened to me). Perhaps you have a Besserwisser in the audience making sure that you will doubt the validity of your research for five years after getting your degree. Whatever the case may be, having some healthy perspective will not do any harm. In the end, you learn how to give a good conference presentation by having some less successful experiences.

Many people listening to your presentation will not remember anything about it tomorrow. Many people listening to your presentation are not, frankly speaking, not even that interested in it -they just pretend to be, because they are polite. Largely, the audience is either anxiously preparing for their own presentation or recovering from it in a complete lowering-my-adrenaline-levels mental smog. Usually, your audience members don’t care about anyone else’s presentations than that of their own.

A conference is not a place where your validity and importance as a researcher is somehow collectively decided. You will enjoy and benefit more if you take it as a chance to get to learn about the state of the art in a particular discipline and make new connections with people as well as get some experience in talking to academic audiences. Giving a presentation is a chance to learn: It will help you formulate the key ideas of your research in a clear and concise manner as well as give the chance to get some useful feedback. Try and not to judge your presentation in terms of how it went (the possible answers usually representing a dichotomy of okay vs. terrible) but in terms of what you learnt. Even the sharpest criticism can -sometimes with a lot of mental effort- be turned into something useful, a learning experience. And if not, follow the advice of the team leader in one of my previous research projects: Ignore mode on!

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10 Essential Tips for a Successful Academic Presentation at Conferences and Events

10 Essential Tips for a Successful Academic Presentation at Conferences and Events


Academic conferences are an excellent opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together and share their interests with each other. These events provide attendees with a chance to learn and share experiences with others who have similar interests, all under one roof. Conferences are usually large in nature, bringing together people from across the country or even across the world.

If you're scheduled to present at an upcoming conference, it's important to remember that the stakes are high. With a lot of people in attendance, you want your presentation to go flawlessly when you have your moment to shine. That's why we've put together this in-depth blog post to help you master your conference presentation with some actionable tips.

As a researcher or academic, finding the right conference with the right audience and effectively sharing your latest research findings can boost your career and keep you updated on developments in your field.

Developing a conference presentation is similar to developing any other presentation - it requires proper preparation, consistency, and the ability to engage with your audience.

Presenting can be nerve-wracking, even for experienced speakers and performers. However, with practice, anyone can become a skilled presenter.

But, before creating your presentation, there are some other issues that will increase your presentation success that you should start considering well before creating your slides.

Here are some tips that you should keep in mind before starting to prepare your presentation.

• Know Your Audience:

Understanding the background, interests, and needs of your audience is essential to deliver an effective presentation. This will help you tailor your content, language, and delivery style to engage your audience and ensure they can easily understand and relate to your message.

• Define Your Objectives:

Before developing your presentation, you should define your objectives, such as what you want to achieve, what message you want to convey, and what action you want your audience to take. This will help you stay focused and make sure your presentation is clear and coherent.

• Develop a Clear and Concise Message:

Your presentation should have a clear and concise message that is easy to understand and remember. Avoid using jargon, complex language, or unnecessary details that could confuse or bore your audience.

• Create an Engaging Presentation:

An engaging presentation should be visually appealing, interactive, and informative. Use storytelling, humor, anecdotes, or case studies to keep your audience interested and involved.

• Use Visual Aids:

Visual aids such as slides, charts, graphs, or videos can enhance your presentation and help your audience understand complex information or data. However, make sure your visual aids are relevant, clear, and easy to read.

• Practice, Practice, Practice:

Practicing your presentation several times before the conference can help you gain confidence, improve your delivery, and identify areas that need improvement. Consider practicing in front of a mirror, recording yourself, or asking a friend to give you feedback.

• Time Yourself:

Keeping track of time during your presentation is crucial to ensure you don't run over or under the allocated time. This will also show your respect for your audience's time and demonstrate your professionalism.

• Prepare for Questions:

Anticipating and preparing for questions that your audience may have can help you deliver a more effective and engaging presentation. Be ready to provide evidence, examples, or references to support your arguments and handle any challenging or unexpected questions.

• Dress Appropriately:

Dressing appropriately for the conference and your presentation can help you make a good first impression, show your professionalism, and convey your respect for your audience and the event.

• Bring Business Cards:

Bringing business cards with your contact information can help you network with other attendees and potential collaborators or employers.

• Follow Up After the Conference:

Following up with your audience and fellow presenters after the conference can help you build relationships, gain feedback, and explore opportunities for future collaborations or publications.

10 Essential Tips for a Successful Academic Presentation at Conferences and Events

What is an academic conference presentation?

First, let’s get an understanding of what an academic conference presentation is.

An academic conference presentation is a talk given by a researcher or scholar at an academic conference. The purpose of the presentation is to share the researcher's findings or ideas with other researchers and scholars in the same field. The presentation usually includes the researcher's research objectives, methodology, results, and conclusions. Academic conference presentations can be given in various formats, such as oral presentations, poster presentations, or panel discussions. The audience for academic conference presentations is typically composed of other researchers and scholars in the same field, as well as students and professionals interested in the topic.

How to deliver a presentation at an academic event?

An academic should pay attention to several main points while delivering a presentation at an academic conference:

• Start with a clear message:

Before creating your presentation, establish a clear message you want to convey to your audience. This will help you stay focused and deliver a presentation that is consistent and engaging.

• Keep it simple:

Avoid using complicated jargon or technical terms that your audience may not understand. Keep your presentation simple and clear.

• Use visuals:

Incorporate visuals such as graphs, charts, and images to support your presentation and help your audience understand your message.

• Engage your audience:

Engage your audience by asking questions, inviting participation, and making eye contact. This will keep them interested and attentive throughout your presentation.

• Pace yourself:

Keep a steady pace throughout your presentation, and don't rush through your slides. This will help you maintain your audience's attention and avoid losing them.

• Be enthusiastic:

Show your passion and enthusiasm for your research, and convey it to your audience. This will help keep them engaged and interested in your presentation.

• Be confident:

Believe in yourself and your research, and have confidence in your ability to deliver a great presentation.

• Use humor (if appropriate):

Humor can be a great way to break the ice and keep your audience engaged. Just make sure it's appropriate and relevant to your presentation.

• Manage nerves

Finally, don't let nerves get the better of you. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization, and remind yourself that everyone gets nervous before a presentation.

10 Essential Tips for a Successful Academic Presentation at Conferences and Events

How to prepare your presentation slides?

Preparing effective presentation slides is crucial for delivering a successful presentation. Here are some main rules of slide design that you should observe:

• Keep it simple

Avoid cluttering your slides with too much information. Stick to one main point per slide and use bullet points to highlight key information.

• Use visuals

Incorporate images, charts, and graphs to make your presentation more engaging and visually appealing. However, make sure that the visuals are relevant to your content and are not distracting.

• Use legible fonts

Use legible fonts such as Arial, Calibri, or Helvetica, and avoid decorative or fancy fonts. Also, make sure that the font size is large enough to be easily readable by the audience.

• Use contrasting colors

Choose colors that are easy on the eyes and have high contrast to make your text and visuals stand out. Avoid using too many colors or bright colors that can be distracting.

• Limit the amount of text

Avoid putting too much text on a slide. Use short phrases or bullet points to highlight key information. The audience should be able to understand the main message at a glance.

• Use animations and transitions sparingly

Animations and transitions can add interest to your presentation, but use them sparingly. Too much animation or transition can be distracting and take away from the content of your presentation.

• Keep a consistent design

Use a consistent design throughout your presentation, including fonts, colors, and layout. This will help your audience focus on the content and not get distracted by changing designs.

• Test your slides

Before the presentation, make sure to test your slides on the equipment you will be using. Check the font size, color contrast, and overall design to ensure that everything is visible and clear for the audience.

• The maximum number of words

There is no hard and fast rule for the maximum number of words or lines on a slide for optimal readability, as it depends on various factors such as font size, typeface, spacing, and the amount of information being presented. However, as a general guideline, it is recommended to keep the text on each slide concise and to the point, using bullet points rather than full sentences.

• Proportion and alignment

In terms of proportion-related issues, it is important to ensure that the text and any accompanying visuals on the slide are properly aligned and balanced. The use of white space or negative space can be effective in achieving this balance, allowing the eye to rest and making the slide easier to read. It is also important to use appropriate font sizes, making sure that the text is large enough to be easily read from a distance but not so large that it overwhelms the slide.

10 Essential Tips for a Successful Academic Presentation at Conferences and Events

Managing the presentation time and allocating a Q&A Session at the end of the presentation?

Managing time and conducting a Q&A session at the end of a presentation is crucial to ensure that the audience can engage with the speaker and get their questions answered.

Here are some tips on how to manage time and conduct a successful Q&A session:

• Time Management

When preparing your presentation, be sure to allocate enough time for the Q&A session at the end. Plan to finish your presentation at least 5-10 minutes before the scheduled end time to allow enough time for questions. It's also important to stick to your allotted time during the presentation to ensure that you have enough time for the Q&A session.

• Encourage Questions

Encourage your audience to ask questions throughout your presentation, but also let them know that you will have a dedicated Q&A session at the end. This can help you avoid interruptions during your presentation and ensure that all questions are addressed during the Q&A session.

• Repeat Questions

When someone asks a question, repeat it back to the audience to ensure that everyone heard it and understands what is being asked. This can also help you clarify the question if it's not clear.

• Stay Focused

During the Q&A session, it's important to stay focused on the questions being asked and keep your responses concise. Avoid going off-topic or providing too much detail in your responses, as this can eat up valuable time and make it difficult to address all questions.

• Be Respectful

Be respectful of all questions, even if they are challenging or critical. Avoid getting defensive or dismissive, as this can create a negative atmosphere in the room.

• End on Time

Be sure to end the Q&A session on time, even if there are still unanswered questions. Let the audience know that you are happy to continue the conversation after the presentation and provide your contact information for further discussion.

By following these tips, you can effectively manage your time and conduct a successful Q&A session at the end of your presentation.

In conclusion, delivering a successful presentation at an academic conference requires thorough preparation, clear and concise messaging, engaging presentation design, and effective delivery skills. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can effectively manage your nerves, engage your audience, and communicate your research findings in a compelling way. Remember to practice, time yourself, and be prepared for questions. With these strategies in mind, you can confidently present your work and make a meaningful contribution to your field.

If you enjoyed this article, please do not forget to share it with your friends. And if you need to know how MeetingHand can assist you in planning great academic events, please visit our website or just BOOK A PERSONAL DEMO ith us.!

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Conference Papers

What this handout is about.

This handout outlines strategies for writing and presenting papers for academic conferences.

What’s special about conference papers?

Conference papers can be an effective way to try out new ideas, introduce your work to colleagues, and hone your research questions. Presenting at a conference is a great opportunity for gaining valuable feedback from a community of scholars and for increasing your professional stature in your field.

A conference paper is often both a written document and an oral presentation. You may be asked to submit a copy of your paper to a commentator before you present at the conference. Thus, your paper should follow the conventions for academic papers and oral presentations.

Preparing to write your conference paper

There are several factors to consider as you get started on your conference paper.

Determine the structure and style

How will you structure your presentation? This is an important question, because your presentation format will shape your written document. Some possibilities for your session include:

  • A visual presentation, including software such as PowerPoint or Prezi
  • A paper that you read aloud
  • A roundtable discussion

Presentations can be a combination of these styles. For example, you might read a paper aloud while displaying images. Following your paper, you might participate in an informal conversation with your fellow presenters.

You will also need to know how long your paper should be. Presentations are usually 15-20 minutes. A general rule of thumb is that one double-spaced page takes 2-2.5 minutes to read out loud. Thus an 8-10 page, double-spaced paper is often a good fit for a 15-20 minute presentation. Adhere to the time limit.  Make sure that your written paper conforms to the presentation constraints.

Consider the conventions of the conference and the structure of your session

It is important to meet the expectations of your conference audience. Have you been to an academic conference previously?  How were presentations structured? What kinds of presentations did you find most effective? What do you know about the particular conference you are planning to attend? Some professional organizations have their own rules and suggestions for writing and presenting for their conferences. Make sure to find out what they are and stick to them.

If you proposed a panel with other scholars, then you should already have a good idea of your panel’s expectations. However, if you submitted your paper individually and the conference organizers placed it on a panel with other papers, you will need additional information.

Will there be a commentator? Commentators, also called respondents or discussants, can be great additions to panels, since their job is to pull the papers together and pose questions. If there will be a commentator, be sure to know when they would like to have a copy of your paper. Observe this deadline.

You may also want to find out what your fellow presenters will be talking about. Will you circulate your papers among the other panelists prior to the conference? Will your papers address common themes? Will you discuss intersections with each other’s work after your individual presentations? How collaborative do you want your panel to be?

Analyze your audience

Knowing your audience is critical for any writing assignment, but conference papers are special because you will be physically interacting with them. Take a look at our handout on audience . Anticipating the needs of your listeners will help you write a conference paper that connects your specific research to their broader concerns in a compelling way.

What are the concerns of the conference?

You can identify these by revisiting the call for proposals and reviewing the mission statement or theme of the conference. What key words or concepts are repeated? How does your work relate to these larger research questions? If you choose to orient your paper toward one of these themes, make sure there is a genuine relationship. Superficial use of key terms can weaken your paper.

What are the primary concerns of the field?

How do you bridge the gap between your research and your field’s broader concerns? Finding these linkages is part of the brainstorming process. See our handout on brainstorming . If you are presenting at a conference that is within your primary field, you should be familiar with leading concerns and questions. If you will be attending an interdisciplinary conference or a conference outside of your field, or if you simply need to refresh your knowledge of what’s current in your discipline, you can:

  • Read recently published journals and books, including recent publications by the conference’s featured speakers
  • Talk to people who have been to the conference
  • Pay attention to questions about theory and method. What questions come up in the literature? What foundational texts should you be familiar with?
  • Review the initial research questions that inspired your project. Think about the big questions in the secondary literature of your field.
  • Try a free-writing exercise. Imagine that you are explaining your project to someone who is in your department, but is unfamiliar with your specific topic. What can you assume they already know? Where will you need to start in your explanation? How will you establish common ground?

Contextualizing your narrow research question within larger trends in the field will help you connect with your audience.  You might be really excited about a previously unknown nineteenth-century poet. But will your topic engage others?  You don’t want people to leave your presentation, thinking, “What was the point of that?” By carefully analyzing your audience and considering the concerns of the conference and the field, you can present a paper that will have your listeners thinking, “Wow! Why haven’t I heard about that obscure poet before? She is really important for understanding developments in Romantic poetry in the 1800s!”

Writing your conference paper

I have a really great research paper/manuscript/dissertation chapter on this same topic. Should I cut and paste?

Be careful here. Time constraints and the needs of your audience may require a tightly focused and limited message. To create a paper tailored to the conference, you might want to set everything aside and create a brand new document.  Don’t worry—you will still have that paper, manuscript, or chapter if you need it. But you will also benefit from taking a fresh look at your research.

Citing sources

Since your conference paper will be part of an oral presentation, there are special considerations for citations. You should observe the conventions of your discipline with regard to including citations in your written paper. However, you will also need to incorporate verbal cues to set your evidence and quotations off from your text when presenting. For example, you can say: “As Nietzsche said, quote, ‘And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you,’ end quote.” If you use multiple quotations in your paper, think about omitting the terms “quote” and “end quote,” as these can become repetitive. Instead, signal quotations through the inflection of your voice or with strategic pauses.

Organizing the paper

There are numerous ways to effectively organize your conference paper, but remember to have a focused message that fits the time constraints and meets the needs of your audience. You can begin by connecting your research to the audience’s concerns, then share a few examples/case studies from your research, and then, in conclusion, broaden the discussion back out to general issues in the field.

Don’t overwhelm or confuse your audience

You should limit the information that you present. Don’t attempt to summarize your entire dissertation in 10 pages. Instead, try selecting main points and provide examples to support those points. Alternatively, you might focus on one main idea or case study and use 2-4 examples to explain it.

Check for clarity in the text

One way to anticipate how your ideas will sound is to read your paper out loud. Reading out loud is an excellent proofreading technique and is a great way to check the clarity of your ideas; you are likely to hear problems that you didn’t notice in just scanning your draft.  Help listeners understand your ideas by making sure that subjects and verbs are clear and by avoiding unnecessarily complex sentences.

Include verbal cues in the text

Make liberal use of transitional phrases like however, therefore, and thus, as well as signpost words like first, next, etc.

If you have 5 main points, say so at the beginning and list those 5 ideas. Refer back to this structure frequently as you transition between sections (“Now, I will discuss my fourth point, the importance of plasma”).

Use a phrase like “I argue” to announce your thesis statement. Be sure that there is only one of these phrases—otherwise your audience will be confused about your central message.

Refer back to the structure, and signal moments where you are transitioning to a new topic: “I just talked about x, now I’m going to talk about y.”

I’ve written my conference paper, now what?

Now that you’ve drafted your conference paper, it’s time for the most important part—delivering it before an audience of scholars in your field!  Remember that writing the paper is only one half of what a conference paper entails. It is both a written text and a presentation.

With preparation, your presentation will be a success. Here are a few tips for an effective presentation. You can also see our handout on speeches .

Cues to yourself

Include helpful hints in your personal copy of the paper. You can remind yourself to pause, look up and make eye contact with your audience, or employ body language to enhance your message. If you are using a slideshow, you can indicate when to change slides. Increasing the font size to 14-16 pt. can make your paper easier to read.

Practice, practice, practice

When you practice, time yourself. Are you reading too fast? Are you enunciating clearly? Do you know how to pronounce all of the words in your paper? Record your talk and critically listen to yourself. Practice in front of friends and colleagues.

If you are using technology, familiarize yourself with it. Check and double-check your images. Remember, they are part of your presentation and should be proofread just like your paper.  Print a backup copy of your images and paper, and bring copies of your materials in multiple formats, just in case.  Be sure to check with the conference organizers about available technology.


The written text is only one aspect of the overall conference paper. The other is your presentation. This means that your audience will evaluate both your work and you! So remember to convey the appropriate level of professionalism.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Adler, Abby. 2010. “Talking the Talk: Tips on Giving a Successful Conference Presentation.” Psychological Science Agenda 24 (4).

Kerber, Linda K. 2008. “Conference Rules: How to Present a Scholarly Paper.” The Chronicle of Higher Education , March 21, 2008. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Conference-Rules-How-to/45734 .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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84 Types of Conference Presentations

Conference presentations take many forms. Before submitting an abstract to a conference, be sure to consider what kind of presentation you want to make. Below, we discuss some common presentation types:

  • Traditional Paper/Oral Presentation : This is the standard oral presentation (usually 15 minutes plus additional time at the end for questions) where one or more speakers (joint-presenters) share research results, completed works, innovative concepts, theoretical application, methodologies or tools.
  • Student Presentation : These are similar to the traditional paper/oral presentations described above, but with an emphasis on students work. By providing a separate avenue for students to share their work or labelling the presentation as “students”, the pressure can be lessened. Sometimes, students have separate sessions, but other times, they are grouped with other paper presentations. If this is the case, the presentation is usually identified as student presentations in the program.
  • Poster Presentation : This is a less formal opportunity to share your work in a visual format. We discuss this in greater depth later in the chapter.
  • Panel Presentation : This is where multiple speakers present their perspective on a common issue usually for 60 to 90 minutes. While many students prefer to present posters or shorter oral presentations, if a group of students have a common research interest or concern, they can apply to a conference to present on a panel. The speakers are responsible for coordinating the panel and assigning roles (such as moderator). Each speaker on a panel is usally given at least one individual question as well as an introductory and closing remark.
  • Roundtables : are similar to panel in the sense that a group of discussants seated around a table comment on a theme. Roundtable presenters bring targeted questions to pose to participants at the table in order to learn from and with those attending. It is quite unlikely that you will present your work on a roundtable, but you can check out conference websites if you wish to learn more (see Box for a list of potential conference).
  • Lightning Round-Tables : These are opportunities to network by briefly summarizing your work to a small audience (usually in 15 minutes or less) followed by an interactive discussion. Discussants will then move to another table and repeat the procedude. This provides the opportunity to get more intimate connections for other participants and attendees.

In addition to the above presentations, at conference, you will likely see expert lectures , keynote addresses and debates . These are presented by established academics in the field so we will not discuss them. However, it is a great idea to go to these presentations at conferences. For the rest of the chapter, we will focus on oral presentations and posters because these are what you will most likely present at conferences. If you wish to submit an abstract for other presentation types, be sure to discuss it with your advisor, supervisor or mentor.

Practicing and Presenting Social Research Copyright © 2022 by Oral Robinson and Alexander Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Conference Presentations

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This resource provides a detailed overview of the common types of conference papers and sessions graduate students can expect, followed by pointers on presenting conference papers for an audience. 

Types of conference papers and sessions

Panel presentations are the most common form of presentation you will encounter in your graduate career. You will be one of three to four participants in a panel or session (the terminology varies depending on the organizers) and be given fifteen to twenty minutes to present your paper. This is often followed by a ten-minute question-and-answer session either immediately after your presentation or after all of the speakers are finished. It is up to the panel organizer to decide upon this framework. In the course of the question-and-answer session, you may also address and query the other panelists if you have questions yourself. Note that you can often propose a conference presentation by yourself and be sorted onto a panel by conference organizers, or you can propose a panel with a group of colleagues. Self-proposed panels typically have more closely related topics than conference-organized panels.

Roundtables feature an average of five to six speakers, each of whom gets the floor for approximately five to ten minutes to speak on their respective topics and/or subtopics. At times, papers from the speakers might be circulated in advance among the roundtable members or even prospective attendees.

Workshops feature one or a few organizers, who usually give a brief presentation but spend the majority of the time for the session facilitating an activity that attendees will do. Some common topics for these sessions typically include learning a technology or generating some content, such as teaching materials.

Lightning talks (or Ignite talks, or Pecha Kucha talks) are very short presentations where presenters' slide decks automatically advance after a few seconds; most individual talks are no longer than 5 minutes, and a lightning talk session typically invites 10 or more presenters to participate over the course of an hour or two rather than limiting the presenters like a panel presentation. A lightning talk session will sometimes be held as a sort of competition where attendees can vote for the best talk. 

SIGs (Special Interest Groups) are groups of scholars focused on a particular smaller topic within the purview of the larger conference. The structure of these sessions varies by conference and even by group, but in general they tend to be structured either more like a panel presentation, with presenters and leaders, or more like a roundtable, with several speakers and a particular meeting agenda. These styles resemble, respectively, a miniconference focusing on a particular topic and a committee meeting. 

Papers with respondents are structured around a speaker who gives an approximately thirty-minute paper and a respondent who contributes their own thoughts, objections, and further questions in the following fifteen minutes. Finally, the speaker gets that same amount of time to formulate their reply to the respondent.

Poster presentations ask participants to visually display their ideas on a research poster, which is typically displayed with other research posters in a specific area at a conference. The poster needs to be understandable on its own (without the author) as viewers sometimes look through the posters outside the bounds of the poster session, which is a scheduled period of time where poster authors stand with their posters and engage viewers in conversation about the work. Research posters have long tended to follow common templates for design, but in recent years some scholars have begun challenging these templates for improved usability (for example, the Better Poster campaign as described here  or the APA template based on the original, here.

You can read more about research posters on our resource here .

Presenting the conference paper

Aim to take less time than you are given! If your presentation slot is 15 minutes, aim for 13 or 14 when you practice. A little leeway and a slightly shorter presentation is a courtesy to your audience and to your fellow presenters, and will not at all imply that you are unprepared or unprofessional — in fact, being able to keep well within your allotted time is the mark of a good presenter.

Make sure you speak slowly and clearly, using accessibility aids if available such as a microphone or closed captioning on a slide deck. Many presenters have begun bringing accessibility copies of their talks, which are printed transcripts of the talk using a larger font for audience members who need them. It is also becoming increasingly common for presenters at conferences to share their slides and copies of their talk via a shortened link or QR code found on the bottom of the slides so that audiences may access them later or even while they are in your session.

The conventions for presentation differ based on field. Some fields tend toward reading papers aloud with very little audiovisual accompaniment; others use slide decks; others speak extemporaneously. You can find out more about typical practices in your field by attending conferences yourself and by asking mentors. Generally, you will be able to improve the accessibility of your presentation if you have a visual accompaniment and prepared remarks.

Even in fields where presenters tend to read papers verbatim, it is rarely a good idea to bring a paper from a class or another research paper you have written without editing it for an oral presentation. Seminar papers tend to be too long to read in 15 minutes, and often lead to graduate students surpassing their time limits. Moreover, research papers are meant to be read — they lack the kinds of repetition and simple sentence structure that are more beneficial to listeners. Finally, conference presentations do not serve the same purposes as most class papers — typically in a class, you're expected to show that you have understood the material, but at a conference, listeners are more interested in hearing what contributions you have that might help them in their own research. It's typical to move the bulk of your literature review to an appendix or another document so that you can discuss other scholarship in the area if it comes up in the Q&A, but during your presentation you're left free to focus on your own methods and findings. (Many presenters will even say: "I'm skipping a lot of [X material] for the sake of time, but I'm happy to discuss it later with anyone who's interested.")

Since you will present your paper orally, you may repeat important points and say more about the structure of the essay than a written submission to a journal (or a paper for your undergraduate or graduate courses) would require. This often means signposting orally when you are moving to a new section of the paper or when you are shifting to a new idea. The thesis of your paper should come early in your presentation to give listeners a clear understanding of what is to follow. At this point, you may also overview or forecast your paper and tell listeners how you will move from one argument to the next. It is generally advised to quickly summarize your important points in a bulleted list at the end of your presentation to remind everyone of the two or three most essential arguments or findings.

If you use a slide presentation, you may want to follow the guidelines presented in the OWL resource, Designing an Effective PowerPoint Presentation .


International conference alerts

  • Conferences

10 Benefits of Presenting At A Conference


Presenting at a conference means giving a formal lecture or presentation on your research topic to an audience consisting of peers, field experts, students, and others who share a common interest. So, these events give your work the huge exposure and recognition it deserves. The benefits of presenting at a conference go far beyond the recognition. 

National and international conferences present an excellent opportunity for speakers and attendees to exchange knowledge, ideas, and solutions. They consist of various topics and fields of interest and you get a chance to present your ideas with industry experts and leaders.

There are many benefits of presenting at a conference as they are packed with a mix of events and build up your experience. It helps to advance your career to greater heights and also earn certifications. You will learn new life skills and be able to share your ideas. Moreover, you can enjoy the benefits of attending conferences as well. Take a look below at how conferences can help you.

Top 10 Benefits of Presenting at a Conference

Becoming a speaker at a conference helps in personal development and showcasing your hard work in front of an audience. It is a great way to improve your existing research, idea, or project in various ways. The benefits of presenting at a conference include the following:

1. Get a Free Pass

Conferences cost vast amounts of money to host and organize. Naturally, it also takes a considerable amount to participate in it. However, you can get a free pass if you choose to become a keynote speaker. You won’t have to pay anything toward admission in most cases and may get discounts in others.

Moreover, conferences consist of different events and have additional activities. Hence, you can enjoy the entire event with fellow experts and like-minded people. Traveling to new cities and countries is one of the best benefits of attending conferences. You will get a chance to see new places, and some conferences host functions at various locations to accommodate the attendees.

2. Develop Soft Skills

Speaking in front of the public is a daunting task. Most people experience stage fright and anxiety when they’re in front of a large audience. However, you have to be the one to do it sooner or later. Hence, you can enjoy the benefits of presenting at a conference by developing presentation and communication skills.

It will help you build confidence over time and gain popularity among your peers. You can spend your time at the conference listening to others and seeing how they present themselves. Take some notes and implement them in your presentation. You will make a substantial impact on your existing company with the higher-ups.

3. Build Strong Networks

Conferences itself present an exciting opportunity to build a strong network of like-minded people. They allow much time in between events to allow people to connect and have insightful conversations. Eventually, it leads to exciting professional and personal prospects that benefit both parties.

Moreover, people will approach you if you’re presenting at a conference. They will share their ideas, discuss your presentation, and even provide valuable feedback that may help you. Similarly, you can do the same and help others in their endeavor to make connections. They will be thankful for your efforts and return the favor whenever needed.

4. Collaborate with Others

In addition to networking, conferences are a great way to collaborate with other leaders, experts, and businesses. How you present at a conference may strike a chord with talented people who want to work with you or join your existing team.

You can also create something bigger and better and fill out the potential gaps in your existing ideas with fresh talent and perspective. It also helps to establish your brand and help your organization gain recognition amongst other industry leaders.

5. Get a List of Prospects

Generating leads and gaining prospects are some other benefits of attending conferences. It will help to propel your career to new heights and climb up a few levels in the hierarchy. You will gain recognition in your existing job or get exciting proposals from other companies.

You may also get invitations for investing or partnership if your presentation appears promising to them. You will have various opportunities to grow beyond your current self, and you’ll connect with influential people who share your passion.

6. Perform On-site Research

Remember to attend and listen to other people’s presentations during the conference. It will help you to identify competition and work out some problems you may have in your presentation. You can learn from other people’s achievements and mistakes to identify your presentation’s unique selling points.

Spend enough time researching on the event grounds to fine-tune your ideas further. It will help you present better and gain more favors. You can also learn new ways to stay ahead of the competition and provide effective solutions.

7. Gain a New Perspective

Many leaders and experts from around the world attend conferences regularly. They also give presentations on their ideas, creating an atmosphere of learning and sharing knowledge. Hence, you can get important feedback from them and engage in meaningful conversations and debates.

You can hold a Q&A session with the attendees to gain essential insights on your presentation. It will help you to develop your ideas further and find practical solutions. Moreover, you can learn and grow from them as one of the added benefits of presenting at a conference.

8. Get Inspiration from Others

Conferences are an excellent opportunity to learn something new outside your field of interest. You can get ideas from anything and interact with people on different topics. One of the best benefits of attending conferences is that you get the chance to see some unpublished works.

It will help you gain new skills and solutions and help in personal and professional development. You can improve your existing work and level up with the latest trends in the industry. You can also use connections to indulge in healthy brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas.

9. Build Up Your CV

There’s nothing better than boasting about presenting at conferences on your CV. It shows that you’re passionate and actively engaging with the problems in your field. It also reflects your confidence and communication skills, which are sought after by prospective recruiters.

Additionally, organizations become aware that you’ve been in touch with industry experts. It will make you a favorable choice among other candidates. It will also reflect your presenting skills and grant you opportunities for meeting clients or establishing partnerships.

10. Brand Yourself

Conferences are an excellent opportunity for public relations for most companies. However, it is not limited to organizations, as you can also brand yourself. You can make essential connections that will pave the way for future opportunities. On the other hand, companies also enjoy the various benefits of attending conferences.

They can advertise their services, connect with industry experts, and perform in-depth research on their target audience. It will help them identify their existing services’ faults and find ways to improve them. They also benefit from free publicity and improve their reputation in the public’s eyes.

To conclude, conferences provide notable benefits that can advance your career in new ways and present you with fruitful opportunities. Merely attending conferences is enough to become recognized as an active participant. Many companies will see you in a positive light, and it will improve your expertise. Moreover, you can discover and learn new knowledge from other keynote speakers and get inspired to enhance your presentation. The best benefits of presenting at a conference include meeting leaders and experts, getting feedback on your ideas, building strong connections, and staying updated with the latest trends and advancements.

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International Day for Biological Diversity - 22 May 2024

The Theme of Biodiversity Day 2024: "Be part of the Plan"

May 13, 2024

International Day for Biological Diversity 2024

Biodiversity Day 2024

When: 22 May 2024

Theme: Be part of the Plan

Official website: https://www.cbd.int/biodiversity-day

Lead: The Convention on Biological Diversity

“Be part of the Plan”, the theme of International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) 2024, is a call to action for all stakeholders to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by supporting the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, also referred to as the Biodiversity Plan . 

The Biodiversity Plan offers opportunities for cooperation and partnerships among diverse actors. 

Governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, non-governmental organizations, lawmakers, businesses, and individuals are encouraged to highlight the ways in which they are supporting the implementation of the Biodiversity Plan. 

We are all #PartofThePlan.

IDB 2024 is expected to increase the visibility momentum in the lead-up to the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 16) , to be held in Colombia from 21 October to 1 November 2024. 

what is presentation in conference

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity describes the wide range of life forms on Earth, spanning from genes to entire ecosystems. It encompasses the processes that maintain life, including evolution, ecology, and cultural practices. Biodiversity encompasses not only rare, threatened, or endangered species but all living beings, from well-known organisms like humans to lesser-known ones such as microbes, fungi, and invertebrates. 

Why is Biodiversity Important?  

Biodiversity plays a vital role in multiple aspects of our lives. Its importance lies in the numerous benefits humans derive from it, including essential needs like food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. Additionally, ecosystems offer critical services like pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and pest control. Moreover, biodiversity holds value beyond known benefits, potentially offering new medicines and other services yet to be discovered. 

Nature in Action

Coffee has also been central to life in Fogo Island since Portuguese traders introduced it from Africa. Photo: Projecto Vitó Association

Heart of fire

SGP Cabo Verde, and their partners on the ground are #PartofThePlan. This highlight seeks to raise awareness and understanding of work to strengthen the protectio...

Steppe Eagle. Photo: Vivek Joshi/Pexels

Along ancient routes

In the vast expanse of the Rift Valley/Red Sea flyway, where azure waters meet golden sands, over 1.5 million birds – representing 37 species, five of whom are gl...

Firefighters, in bright yellow gear, use a fire hose in a forest setting.

In the line of fire

Over the last two decades, fires have caused more than a quarter of all tree cover loss. If there is hope for the world's forested areas, it can be found in Costa...

A single use plastic bag floating underwater near the surface in Bali, Indonesia. Photo: Naja Bertolt Jensen/Unsplash

From Scourge to Sustainability

From discarded bags at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, to microscopic particles in human placentas, to debris in space, plastics are ubiquitous. This extremely ...

what is presentation in conference

Belarus is Developing an Online Map of Protected Nature Areas

Belarus has recently launched its first online map showcasing specially protected natural areas, marking a significant milestone in country's conservation efforts...


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Google Takes the Next Step in Its A.I. Evolution

The tech giant showed off how it would enmesh A.I. more deeply into its products and users’ lives, from search to so-called agents that perform tasks.

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what is presentation in conference

By Nico Grant

Reporting from the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.

Last May, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said the company would use artificial intelligence to reimagine all of its products .

But because new generative A.I. technology presented risks, like spreading false information, Google was cautious about applying the technology to its search engine, which is used by more than two billion people and was responsible for $175 billion in revenue last year.

On Tuesday, at Google’s annual conference in Mountain View, Calif., Mr. Pichai showed how the company’s aggressive work on A.I. had finally trickled into the search engine. Starting this week, he said, U.S. users will see a feature, A.I. Overviews, that generates information summaries above traditional search results. By the end of the year, more than a billion people will have access to the technology.

A.I. Overviews is likely to heighten concerns that web publishers will see less traffic from Google Search, putting more pressure on an industry that has reeled from rifts with other tech platforms. On Google, users will see longer summaries about a topic, which could reduce the need to go to another website — though Google downplayed those concerns.

“The links included in A.I. Overviews get more clicks” from users than if they were presented as traditional search results, Liz Reid, Google’s vice president of search, wrote in a blog post . “We’ll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators.”

The company also unveiled a host of other initiatives — including a lightweight A.I. model, new chips and so-called agents that help users perform tasks — in an effort to gain the upper hand in an A.I. slugfest with Microsoft and OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.

“We are in the very early days of the A.I. platform shift,” Mr. Pichai said on Tuesday at Google’s I/O developer conference. “We want everyone to benefit from what Gemini can do,” including developers, start-ups and the public.

what is presentation in conference

When ChatGPT was released in late 2022, some tech industry insiders considered it a serious threat to Google’s search engine, the most popular way to get information online. Since then, Google has aggressively worked to regain its advantage in A.I., releasing a family of technology named Gemini, including new A.I. models for developers and the chatbot for consumers. It also infused the technology into YouTube, Gmail and Docs, helping users create videos, emails and drafts with less effort.

All the while, Google’s tit-for-tat competition with OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft, has continued. The day before Google’s conference, OpenAI presented a new version of ChatGPT that is more akin to a voice assistant .

(The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft in December for copyright infringement of news content related to A.I. systems.)

At its Silicon Valley event, Google showcased how it would enmesh A.I. more deeply into users’ lives. It presented Project Astra, an experiment to see how A.I. could act as an agent, vocally chatting with users and responding to images and videos. Some of the abilities will be available to users of Google’s Gemini chatbot this year, Demis Hassabis, chief executive of DeepMind, Google’s A.I. lab, wrote in a blog post .

DeepMind also presented Gemini 1.5 Flash, an A.I. model designed to be fast and efficient but lighter in size than Gemini 1.5 Pro, the midtier model that Google rolled out to many of its consumer services. Dr. Hassabis wrote that the new model was “highly capable” at reasoning and was good at summarizing information, chatting and captioning images and videos.

The company announced another A.I. model, Veo, that generates high-definition videos based on simple text prompts, similar to OpenAI’s Sora system. Google said that some creators could preview Veo and that others could join a wait-list for access to it. Later this year, the company expects to bring some of Veo’s abilities to YouTube Shorts, the video platform’s TikTok competitor, and other products.

what is presentation in conference

Google also showed off the latest versions of its music-generation tool, Lyria, and image generator, Imagen 3. In February, Google’s Gemini chatbot was criticized by users on social media for refusing to generate images of white people and presenting inaccurate images of historical figures. The company said it would shut off the ability to generate images of people until it fixed the issue.

In the past three months, more than one million users have signed up to Gemini Advanced, the version of Google’s chatbot available through a $20 monthly subscription, the company said.

In the next months, Google will add Gemini Live, which will provide users a way to speak to the chatbot through voice commands. The chatbot will respond in natural-sounding voices, Google said, and users could interrupt Gemini to ask clarifying questions. Later this year, users will be able to use their cameras to show Gemini Live the physical world around them and have conversations with the chatbot about it.

Besides A.I. Overviews, Google’s search engine will present search results pages organized by A.I., with generated headlines highlighting different types of content. The feature will start with dining and recipe results, and will later be offered for shopping, travel and entertainment queries.

Ms. Reid, the head of search, said in an interview before the conference that she expected the search updates to save users time because Google “can do more of the work for you.”

Mr. Pichai said he expected that a vast majority of people would interact with Gemini A.I. technology through Google’s search engine.

“We’re going to make it more and more seamless for people to interact with Gemini,” Mr. Pichai said in a briefing before the conference.

Nico Grant is a technology reporter covering Google from San Francisco. Previously, he spent five years at Bloomberg News, where he focused on Google and cloud computing. More about Nico Grant

Explore Our Coverage of Artificial Intelligence

News  and Analysis

Ilya Sutskever, the OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist who in November joined three other board members to force out Sam Altman before saying he regretted the move, is leaving the company .

OpenAI has unveiled a new version of its ChatGPT chatbot  that can receive and respond to voice commands, images and videos.

A bipartisan group of senators released a long-awaited legislative plan for A.I. , calling for billions in funding to propel U.S. leadership in the technology while offering few details on regulations.

The Age of A.I.

D’Youville University in Buffalo had an A.I. robot speak at its commencement . Not everyone was happy about it.

A new program, backed by Cornell Tech, M.I.T. and U.C.L.A., helps prepare lower-income, Latina and Black female computing majors  for A.I. careers.

Publishers have long worried that A.I.-generated answers on Google would drive readers away from their sites. They’re about to find out if those fears are warranted, our tech columnist writes .

A new category of apps promises to relieve parents of drudgery, with an assist from A.I.  But a family’s grunt work is more human, and valuable, than it seems.

Google I/O 2024: Here’s everything Google just announced

Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, Google I/O, Google I/O 2024

It’s that moment you’ve been waiting for all year: Google I/O keynote day! Google kicked off its developer conference each year with a rapid-fire stream of announcements, including many unveilings of recent things it’s been working on. Brian already kicked us off by sharing what we are expecting .

Since you might not have had time to watch the whole two-hour presentation Tuesday, we took that on and delivered quick hits of the biggest news from the keynote as they were announced, all in an easy-to-digest, easy-to-skim list.

Google I/O takeaways

It was an ai evolution, not revolution.

The company made its case to developers — and to some extent, consumers — why its bets on AI are ahead of rivals. At the event, the company unveiled a revamped   AI-powered search engine , an AI model with  an expanded context window of 2 million tokens , AI helpers across its suite of  Workspace  apps, like  Gmail , Drive and Docs, tools to integrate its AI into  developers’ apps  and even a future vision for AI, codenamed  Project Astra , which can respond to sight, sounds, voice and text combined. 

While each advance on its own was promising, the onslaught of AI news was  overwhelming . Though obviously aimed at developers, these big events are also an opportunity to wow end users about the technology. But after the flood of news, even somewhat tech-savvy consumers may be asking themselves, wait, what’s  Astra  again? Is it the thing powering  Gemini Live ? Is Gemini Live sort of like Google  Lens ? How is it different from  Gemini Flash ? Is Google  actually making AI glasses  or is that  vaporware ? What’s  Gemma , what’s  LearnLM …what are  Gems ? When is Gemini coming to your  inbox , your  docs ? Read more

The top new AI products and features unveiled

From generative AI to accessibility, Kyle Wiggers takes you on a journey of all of Google’s AI announcements. Read more

Privacy concerns over AI voice call scans

Google showcased a demo of a call scam detection feature during I/O, which it says will be added to a future version of Android. The feature scans voice calls as they’re happening with AI, which effectively is client-side scanning, which has already sparked such a backlash on iOS that Apple abandoned its plans to adopt it in 2021. And as expected, a number of privacy advocates and experts voiced concerns over Google’s use of the technology, which they say could swiftly expand beyond applying just to scams and be used in more malicious ways. Read more

Updated security features

On Wednesday, Google announced it is adding new security and privacy protections to Android, including on-device live threat detection to catch malicious apps, new safeguards for screen sharing, and better security against cell site simulators.

The company said it is increasing the on-device capability of its Google Play Protect system to detect fraudulent apps trying to breach sensitive permissions. It also uses AI to detect if apps are trying to interact with other services and apps in an unauthorized manner.

Google said if the system is certain about malicious behavior, it disables the app automatically. Otherwise, it alerts the company for a review and then alerts users. Read more

And to protect devices in the real world, Google also announced Theft Detection Lock , an AI-powered addition that identifies motion commonly associated with theft, like a swift movement in an opposite direction. Once detected, the phone screen automatically locks, preventing future usage of the device without clearing whatever safeguards you’ve put in place. Read more

what is presentation in conference

Google worked its Gemini into its Google TV smart TV operating system so it can generate descriptions for movies and TV shows. When a description is missing on the home screen, the AI will fill it in automatically to ensure that viewers never have to wonder what a title is about. It’ll also translate descriptions into the viewer’s native language, making the content more discoverable to a wider audience. The best part? The AI-generated descriptions are also personalized based on a viewer’s genre and actor preferences. Read more

Private Space feature

Now here’s a fun one. Private Space is a new Android feature that lets users silo a portion of the operating system for sensitive information. It’s a bit like Incognito mode for the mobile operating system, sectioning designated apps into a “container.”

The space is available from the launcher and can be locked as a second layer of authentication. Apps in Private Space will be hidden from notifications, settings and recents. Users can still access the apps through a system sharesheet and photo picker in the main space, so long as the private space has been unlocked.

Developers can play around with it now, but there is a caveat — there is a bug. Google says it expects to address the bug in the coming days. Read more

Google Maps gets geospatial AR

Google Maps users will soon have a new layer of content on their phones — they will have access to geospatial augmented reality content. The feature will first appear in Singapore and Paris as part of a pilot program launching later this year.

Users will be able to access the AR content by first searching for a location in Google Maps. If the location has AR content and the user is near the place, they will have to tap on the image that says “AR Experience” and then lift their phone. 

If someone is exploring a place remotely, they can see the same AR experience in Street View. After exploring the AR content, users can share the experience through a deep link URL or QR code on social media. Read more

what is presentation in conference

Google gave a developer preview of the new version of its smartwatch operating system, Wear OS 5. The latest release focuses on improved battery life and other performance improvements, like more efficient workout tracking. Developers are also getting updated tools for creating watch faces, as well as new versions of Wear OS tiles and Jetpack Compose for building watch apps. Read more

TechCrunch Minute

As we note all over this post, the Google I/O developer conference came with a big dose of AI. See how Anthony Ha summed it up Wednesday. Read more

Even Elon Musk took note

👌 https://t.co/I83VTEPBMy — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 15, 2024

“Web” search filter

We’ve launched a new “Web” filter that shows only text-based links, just like you might filter to show other types of results, such as images or videos. The filter appears on the top of the results page alongside other filters or as part of the “More” option, rolling out today… pic.twitter.com/tIUy9LNCy5 — Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) May 14, 2024

Google introduced a new way to filter for just text-based links. The new “Web” filter appears at the top of the results page and enables users to filter for text links the way they can today filter for images, video, news or shopping.

As Sarah Perez reports, the launch is an admission that sometimes people will want to just surface text-based links to web pages, aka the classic blue links, that today are often of secondary importance as Google either answers the question in its informational Knowledge Panels or, now, through AI experiments. Read more

Firebase Genkit

what is presentation in conference

There’s a new addition to the Firebase platform, called Firebase Genkit, that aims to make it easier for developers to build AI-powered applications in JavaScript/TypeScript, with Go support coming soon. It’s an open source framework, using the Apache 2.0 license, that enables developers to quickly build AI into new and existing applications.

Some of the use cases for Genkit the company is highlighting Tuesday include many of the standard GenAI use cases: content generation and summarization, text translation and generating images. Read more

AI ad nauseam

Of course Google used Gemini to count AI mentions during today's AI-filled #GoogleIO . And there was even one more after this. pic.twitter.com/ajL7JYPQVE — TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) May 14, 2024

Tuesday’s Google I/O ran for 110 minutes, but Google managed to reference AI a whopping 121 times during (by its own count) the event. CEO Sundar Pichai referenced the figure to wrap up the presentation, cheekily stating that the company was doing the “hard work” of counting for us. Again, it was no surprise — we were ready for it. Read more

Generative AI for learning

Also today, Google unveiled LearnLM, a new family of generative AI models “fine-tuned” for learning. It’s a collaboration between Google’s DeepMind AI research division and Google Research. LearnLM models are designed to “conversationally” tutor students on a range of subjects, Google says.

Though it is already available on several of Google’s platforms, the company is taking LearnLM through a pilot program in Google Classroom. It is also working with educators to see how LearnLM might simplify and improve the process of lesson planning. LearnLM could help teachers discover new ideas, content and activities, Google says, or find materials tailored to the needs of specific student cohorts.  Read more

Quiz master

what is presentation in conference

Speaking of education, new to YouTube are AI-generated quizzes. This new conversational AI tool allows users to figuratively “raise their hand” when watching educational videos. Viewers can ask clarifying questions, get helpful explanations or take a quiz on the subject matter. 

This is going to be some relief for those who have to watch longer educational videos, such as lectures or seminars, due to the Gemini model’s long-context capabilities. These new features are rolling out to select Android users in the U.S. Read more

Gemma 2 updates

what is presentation in conference

One of the top requests Google heard from developers is for a bigger Gemma model, so Google will be adding a new 27-billion-parameter model to Gemma 2. This next generation of Google’s Gemma models will launch in June. This size is optimized by Nvidia to run on next-generation GPU and can run efficiently on a single TPU host and vertex AI, Google said. Read more

Google Play

what is presentation in conference

Google Play is getting some attention with a new discovery feature for apps, new ways to acquire users, updates to Play Points and other enhancements to developer-facing tools like the Google Play SDK Console and Play Integrity API, among other things.

Of particular interest to developers is something called the Engage SDK, which will introduce a way for app makers to showcase their content to users in a full-screen, immersive experience that’s personalized to the individual user. Google says this isn’t a surface that users can see at this time, however. Read more

Detecting scams during calls

what is presentation in conference

Tuesday, Google previewed a feature it believes will alert users to potential scams during the call. 

The feature, which will be built into a future version of Android, utilizes Gemini Nano, the smallest version of Google’s generative AI offering, which can be run entirely on-device. The system effectively listens for “conversation patterns commonly associated with scams” in real time. 

Google gives the example of someone pretending to be a “bank representative.” Common scammer tactics like password requests and gift cards will also trigger the system. These are all pretty well understood to be ways of extracting your money from you, but plenty of people in the world are still vulnerable to these sorts of scams. Once set off, it will pop up a notification that the user may be falling prey to unsavory characters.  Read more

what is presentation in conference

Google Photos is getting an AI infusion with the launch of an experimental feature, Ask Photos, powered by Google’s Gemini AI model. The new addition, which rolls out later this summer, will allow users to search across their Google Photos collection using natural language queries that leverage an AI’s understanding of their photo’s content and other metadata.

While before users could search for specific people, places, or things in their photos, thanks to natural language processing, the AI upgrade will make finding the right content more intuitive and less of a manual search process.

And the example was cute, too. Who doesn’t love a tiger stuffed animal/Golden Retriever band duo called “Golden Stripes?” Read more

All About Gemini

what is presentation in conference

Gemini in Gmail

Gmail users will be able to search, summarize, and draft their emails using its Gemini AI technology. It will also be able to take action on emails for more complex tasks, like helping you process an e-commerce return by searching your inbox, finding the receipt and filling out an online form. Read more

what is presentation in conference

Gemini 1.5 Pro

Another upgrade to the generative AI is that Gemini can now analyze longer documents, codebases, videos and audio recordings than before.

In a private preview of a new version of Gemini 1.5 Pro, the company’s current flagship model, it was revealed that it can take in up to 2 million tokens. That’s double the previous maximum amount. With that level, the new version of Gemini 1.5 Pro supports the largest input of any commercially available model. Read more

Gemini Live

The company previewed a new experience in Gemini called Gemini Live, which lets users have “in-depth” voice chats with Gemini on their smartphones. Users can interrupt Gemini while the chatbot’s speaking to ask clarifying questions, and it’ll adapt to their speech patterns in real time. And Gemini can see and respond to users’ surroundings, either via photos or video captured by their smartphones’ cameras.

At first glance, Live doesn’t seem like a drastic upgrade over existing tech. But Google claims it taps newer techniques from the generative AI field to deliver superior, less error-prone image analysis — and combines these techniques with an enhanced speech engine for more consistent, emotionally expressive and realistic multi-turn dialogue. Read more

Gemini Nano

Now for a tiny announcement. Google is also building Gemini Nano, the smallest of its AI models, directly into the Chrome desktop client, starting with Chrome 126. This, the company says, will enable developers to use the on-device model to power their own AI features. Google plans to use this new capability to power features like the existing “help me write” tool from Workspace Lab in Gmail, for example. Read more

what is presentation in conference

Gemini on Android

Google’s Gemini on Android, its AI replacement for Google Assistant, will soon be taking advantage of its ability to deeply integrate with Android’s mobile operating system and Google’s apps. Users will be able to drag and drop AI-generated images directly into their Gmail, Google Messages and other apps. Meanwhile, YouTube users will be able to tap “Ask this video” to find specific information from within that YouTube video, Google says. Read more

Gemini on Google Maps

Gemini model capabilities are coming to the Google Maps platform for developers, starting with the Places API. Developers can show generative AI summaries of places and areas in their own apps and websites. The summaries are created based on Gemini’s analysis of insights from Google Maps’ community of more than 300 million contributors. What’s better? Developers will no longer have to write their own custom descriptions of places. Read more

Tensor Processing Units get a performance boost

Google unveiled its next generation — the sixth, to be exact — of its Tensor Processing Units (TPU) AI chips. Dubbed Trillium, they will launch later this year. If you recall, announcing the next generation of TPUs is something of a tradition at I/O, even as the chips only roll out later in the year. 

These new TPUs will feature a 4.7x performance boost in compute performance per chip when compared to the fifth generation. What’s maybe even more important, though, is that Trillium features the third generation of SparseCore, which Google describes as “a specialized accelerator for processing ultra-large embeddings common in advanced ranking and recommendation workloads.” Read more

AI in search

Google is adding more AI to its search, assuaging doubts that the company is losing market share to competitors like ChatGPT and Perplexity. It is rolling out AI-powered overviews to users in the U.S. Additionally, the company is also looking to use Gemini as an agent for things like trip planning. Read more

Google plans to use generative AI to organize the entire search results page for some search results. That’s in addition to the existing AI Overview feature, which creates a short snippet with aggregate information about a topic you were searching for. The AI Overview feature becomes generally available Tuesday, after a stint in Google’s AI Labs program. Read more

Generative AI upgrades

Google Imagen 3

Google announced Imagen 3, the latest in the tech giant’s Imagen generative AI model family.

Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, Google’s AI research division, said that Imagen 3 more accurately understands the text prompts that it translates into images versus its predecessor, Imagen 2, and is more “creative and detailed” in its generations. In addition, the model produces fewer “distracting artifacts” and errors, he said.

“This is [also] our best model yet for rendering text, which has been a challenge for image generation models,” Hassabis added. Read more

Project IDX

Project IDX, the company’s next-gen, AI-centric browser-based development environment, is now in open beta. With this update comes an integration with the Google Maps Platform into the IDE, helping add geolocation features to its apps, as well as integrations with the Chrome Dev Tools and Lighthouse to help debug applications. Soon, Google will also enable deploying apps to Cloud Run, Google Cloud’s serverless platform for running front- and back-end services. Read more

Google’s gunning for OpenAI’s Sora with Veo, an AI model that can create 1080p video clips around a minute long given a text prompt. Veo can capture different visual and cinematic styles, including shots of landscapes and time lapses, and make edits and adjustments to already-generated footage.

It also builds on Google’s preliminary commercial work in video generation, previewed in April, which tapped the company’s Imagen 2 family of image-generating models to create looping video clips. Read more

Circle to Search

person holding phone using Google Circle to Search

The AI-powered Circle to Search feature, which allows Android users to get instant answers using gestures like circling, will now be able to solve more complex problems across psychics and math word problems. It’s designed to make it more natural to engage with Google Search from anywhere on the phone by taking some action — like circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping. Oh, and it’s also better to help kids with their homework directly from supported Android phones and tablets. Read more

Pixel 8-Call Screen Update

Google couldn’t wait until I/O to show off the latest addition to the Pixel line and announced the new Pixel 8a last week. The handset starts at $499 and ships Tuesday. The updates, too, are what we’ve come to expect from these refreshes. At the top of the list is the addition of the Tensor G3 chip. Read more

Pixel Slate

what is presentation in conference

Google’s Pixel Tablet, called Slate, is now available. If you recall, Brian reviewed the Pixel Tablet around this time last year, and all he talked about was the base. Interestingly enough, the tablet is available without it. Read more

We’ll be updating this post throughout the day …

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How to Stream the Google I/O 2024 Keynote Live

Google's annual developers conference kicks off today. We expect updates about everything from AI and Gemini to Android 15 and Pixel phones.

what is presentation in conference

  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

Arriving at Google IO 2023 at Shoreline Amphitheatre

Google is scheduled to host its I/O keynote at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

Google's I/O developers conference starts soon, and we expect to learn more about Android 15 and upcoming  AI updates . The event kicks off with a keynote presentation at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Google's hometown of Mountain View, California, followed by breakout sessions over two days.

You can watch the keynote event at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on  Tuesday, May 14 . Google is set to stream the session live here .

There's also a livestream option with American Sign Language, which you can catch here .

In the leadup to I/O, Google has unveiled the Pixel 8A , its more budget-friendly phone that shares many of the same features as the flagship Pixel 8 . It costs $500 and will be available May 14, the same day as Google I/O. 

Last year, Google unveiled the Pixel Fold, as well as features like  Magic Editor  in Photos and  Immersive View  for Maps. So it's safe to assume we'll see a mix of hardware and software announcements during this year's keynote event (though rumor has it the company may wait to debut the next generation of the Pixel Fold until later this year).

Our staff will be on the ground at Google I/O, sharing live updates on everything announced, so be sure to follow along here at CNET. 

The Google Pixel 8A Looks Slick in All These Colors

what is presentation in conference

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Google I/O 2024: Everything revealed including Gemini AI, Android 15 and more

Google has fully embraced its gemini era..

At the end of I/O, Google’s annual developer conference at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that the company had said “AI” 121 times. That, essentially, was the crux of Google’s two-hour keynote — stuffing AI into every Google app and service used by more than two billion people around the world. Here are all the major updates from Google's big event, along with some additional announcements that came after the keynote.

Gemini 1.5 Flash and updates to Gemini 1.5 Pro

Google announced a brand new AI model called Gemini 1.5 Flash, which it says is optimised for speed and efficiency. Flash sits between Gemini 1.5 Pro and Gemini 1.5 Nano, which its the company’s smallest model that runs locally on device. Google said that it created Flash because developers wanted a lighter and less expensive model than Gemini Pro to build AI-powered apps and services while keeping some of the things like a long context window of one million tokens that differentiates Gemini Pro from competing models. Later this year, Google will double Gemini’s context window to two million tokens, which means that it will be able to process two hours of video, 22 hours of audio, more than 60,000 lines of code or more than 1.4 million words at the same time.

Project Astra

Google showed off Project Astra, an early version of a universal assistant powered by AI that Google’s DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said was Google’s version of an AI agent “that can be helpful in everyday life.”

In a video that Google says was shot in a single take, an Astra user moves around Google’s London office holding up their phone and pointing the camera at various things — a speaker, some code on a whiteboard, and out a window — and has a natural conversation with the app about what it seems. In one of the video’s most impressive moments, the correctly tells the user where she left her glasses before without the user ever having brought up the glasses.

The video ends with a twist — when the user finds and wears the missing glasses, we learn that they have an onboard camera system and are capable of using Project Astra to seamlessly carry on a conversation with the user, perhaps indicating that Google might be working on a competitor to Meta’s Ray Ban smart glasses.

Ask Google Photos

Google Photos was already intelligent when it came to searching for specific images or videos, but with AI, Google is taking things to the next level. If you’re a Google One subscriber in the US, you will be able to ask Google Photos a complex question like “show me the best photo from each national park I’ve visited" when the feature rolls out over the next few months. Google Photos will use GPS information as well as its own judgement of what is “best” to present you with options. You can also ask Google Photos to generate captions to post the photos to social media.

Veo and Imagen 3

Google’s new AI-powered media creation engines are called Veo and Imagen 3. Veo is Google’s answer to OpenAI’s Sora. It can produce “high-quality” 1080p videos that can last “beyond a minute”, Google said, and can understand cinematic concepts like a timelapse.

Imagen 3, meanwhile, is a text-to-image generator that Google claims handles text better than its previous version, Imagen 2. The result is the company’s highest quality” text-to-image model with “incredible level of detail” for “photorealistic, lifelike images” and fewer artifacts — essentially pitting it against OpenAI’s DALLE-3.

Big updates to Google Search

Google is making big changes to how Search fundamentally works. Most of the updates announced today like the ability to ask really complex questions (“Find the best yoga or pilates studios in Boston and show details on their intro offers and walking time from Beacon Hill.”) and using Search to plan meals and vacations won’t be available unless you opt in to Search Labs, the company’s platform that lets people try out experimental features.

But a big new feature that Google is calling AI Overviews and which the company has been testing for a year now, is finally rolling out to millions of people in the US. Google Search will now present AI-generated answers on top of the results by default, and the company says that it will bring the feature to more than a billion users around the world by the end of the year.

Gemini on Android

Google is integrating Gemini directly into Android. When Android 15 releases later this year, Gemini will be aware of the app, image or video that you’re running, and you’ll be able to pull it up as an overlay and ask it context-specific questions. Where does that leave Google Assistant that already does this? Who knows! Google didn’t bring it up at all during today’s keynote.

WearOS 5 battery life improvements

Google isn't quite ready to roll out the latest version of it smartwatch OS, but it is promising some major battery life improvements when it comes. The company said that Wear OS 5 will consume 20 percent less power than Wear OS 4 if a user runs a marathon. Wear OS 4 already brought battery life improvements to smartwatches that support it, but it could still be a lot better at managing a device's power. Google also provided developers with a new guide on how to conserve power and battery, so that they can create more efficient apps.

Android 15 anti-theft features

Android 15's developer preview may have been rolling for months, but there are still features to come. Theft Detection Lock is a new Android 15 feature that will use AI (there it is again) to predict phone thefts and lock things up accordingly. Google says its algorithms can detect motions associated with theft, like those associated with grabbing the phone and bolting, biking or driving away. If an Android 15 handset pinpoints one of these situations, the phone’s screen will quickly lock, making it much harder for the phone snatcher to access your data.

There were a bunch of other updates too. Google said it would add digital watermarks to AI-generated video and text, make Gemini accessible in the side panel in Gmail and Docs, power a virtual AI teammate in Workspace, listen in on phone calls and detect if you’re being scammed in real time, and a lot more.

Catch up on all the news from Google I/O 2024 right here !

Update May 15, 2:45PM ET: This story was updated after being published to include details on new Android 15 and WearOS 5 announcements made following the I/O 2024 keynote.

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OpenAI's big event: CTO Mira Murati announces GPT-4o, which gives ChatGPT a better voice and eyes

  • OpenAI's "Spring Update" revealed new updates to ChatGPT.
  • OpenAI CTO Mira Murati kicked off the event.
  • She announced GPT-4o, its next flagship AI model, with improved voice and vision capabilities.

Insider Today

OpenAI just took the wraps off a big new update to ChatGPT.

Cofounder and CEO Sam Altman had teased "new stuff" coming to ChatGPT and GPT-4 , the AI model that powers its chatbot, and told his followers to tune in Monday at 1 p.m. ET for its "Spring Update" to learn more.

Also ahead of time, Altman ruled that the event would reveal GPT-5 or a new OpenAI search engine, which is reportedly in the works. OpenAI is reportedly planning to eventually take on internet search giant Google with its own AI-powered search product.

But the big news on Monday was OpenAI's new flagship AI model, GPT-4o, which will be free to all users and "can reason across audio, vision, and text in real time." It was CTO Mira Murati who delivered the updates with no appearance on the livestream from Altman.

There were a ton of demos intended to demonstrate the real-time smarts of GPT-4o.

OpenAI researchers showed how the new ChatGPT can quickly translate speech and help with basic linear algebra using its visual capabilities. The use of the tech on school assignments has been a polarizing topic in education since it first launched.

Say hello to GPT-4o, our new flagship model which can reason across audio, vision, and text in real time: https://t.co/MYHZB79UqN Text and image input rolling out today in API and ChatGPT with voice and video in the coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/uuthKZyzYx — OpenAI (@OpenAI) May 13, 2024

OpenAI posted another example to X of how one can interact with the new ChatGPT bot. It resembled a video call, and it got pretty meta.

In the video, ChatGPT takes in the room around it, discerns it's a recording setup, figures it might have something to do with OpenAI since the user is wearing a hoodie, and then gets told that the announcement has to do with the AI — it is the AI. It reacts with a voice that sounds more emotive.

OpenAI also announced the desktop version of ChatGPT, and a new and improved user interface.

In addition to GPT-4o and ChatGPT, OpenAI's other products include its AI-powered image generator DALL-E , its unreleased text-to-video generator Sora , and its GPT app store.

You can catch up on our liveblog of the event below.

That’s a wrap! OpenAI concludes the event without an appearance from Altman.

OpenAI says text and image input for GPT-4o-powered ChatGPT is launching today. Meanwhile, voice and video options will drop in the coming weeks, the company said.

Although Altman didn't step in front of the camera, the CEO posted videos from the audience on X.

He also teases "more stuff to share soon."

GPT-4o can also break down charts

The new AI model can interact with code bases, the OpenAI execs say. The next demo shows it analyzing a chart from some data.

It's a plot of global temperatures. GPT-4o gives some takeaways from what it sees, and CTO Mira Murati asks about the Y axis, which the AI explains.

ChatGPT reads human emotions — with a stumble

what is presentation in conference

For the last live demo of the day, Zoph holds his phone up to his face and asks ChatGPT to tell him how he looks. Initially, it identifies him as a "wooden surface" — a reference to an earlier photo he had shared.

But after a second try, the model gives a better answer.

"It looks like you're feeling pretty happy and cheerful," ChatGPT says, noting the small smile on Zoph's face.

In one of the final tests, ChatGPT becomes a translator

what is presentation in conference

In response to a request from an X user, Murati speaks to ChatGPT in Italian.

In turn, the bot translates her query into English for Zoph and Chen.

"Mike, she wonders if whales could talk, what would they tell us?" she said in English after hearing Murati's Italian.

It's pretty impressive.

The video demo shows how it could help with math homework, including basic linear algebra

what is presentation in conference

OpenAI Research Lead Barret Zoph walks through an equation on a whiteboard (3x+1=4), and ChatGPT gives him hints as he finds the value of x — making it basically a real-time math tutor.

At the beginning, the bot jumped the gun.

"Whoops, I got too excited," it said after it tried to solve the math problem hadn't been uploaded yet.

But it then walked him through each step, recognizing his written work as he tried to solve the equation.

It was able to recognize math symbols, and even a heart.

OpenAI's first demo: Talking to GPT-4o

It's demo time!

The new bot has a voice that sounds like an American female, but no word yet if you can change it.

OpenAI Research Lead Mark Chen pulled out ChatGPT on his phone and asks for advice on giving a live presentation using Voice Mode.

"Mark, you're not a vacuum cleaner," it responds when he hyperventilates, appearing to perceive his nervousness. It then tells him to moderate his breathing.

Some big changes, you can interrupt the AI now, and there shouldn't be the usual 2 or 3-second delay with GPT-4o.

It can also detect emotion, according to OpenAI.

GPT-4o will have improved voice capabilities

what is presentation in conference

Murati emphasizes the necessity of safety with the real-time voice and audio capabilities of the new GPT-4o model.

She says OpenAI is "continuing our iterative deployment to bring all the capabilities to you."

Murati says the big news is a "new flagship model" called GPT-4o.

The new model is called GPT-4o, and Murati says that OpenAI is making a "huge step forward" with ease of use with the new model.

It's free for users, and "allows us to bring GPT-4 class intelligence to our free users," Murati says.

And we're off!

what is presentation in conference

The livestream began with CTO Mira Murati at OpenAI's offices.

OpenAI is going to be announcing 3 things today, she says. "That's it."

For those who want to watch live, you can view the whole event here.

OpenAI will be livestreaming its spring update, which kicks off in less than an hour.

Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company, has a global deal to allow OpenAI to train its models on its media brands' reporting.

what is presentation in conference

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