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7 Tips for Presenting at a Conference

Supporting the Profession New Professionals and Graduate Students Graduate New Professional
August 6, 2020 Anastasia Chaky

Congratulations! You have made it to the day of your presentation at the conference. You get to share your knowledge with anyone who attends your session and practice your public speaking skills. While this can be nerve-racking, here are seven tips for presenting at the conference. 

1. Get to the room early to check for any potential technology concerns. This will allow you the opportunity to ask for assistance from tech support. You can also pull up your presentation using different methods – saved to your laptop, saved on a flash drive, and saved to an online drive. It is good to have your bases covered.

2. Eat a snack prior to presenting. You definitely do not want your stomach to be growling while presenting.

3. Have water handy to drink as your present. Having water will allow you to take breaks and think on your feet as needed. It will also help you stay hydrated and ensure you do not get a dry mouth during your presentation.

4. Remember, you are the expert in the room. It can be nerve-racking to present a topic. However, the people who are coming to attend your session want to expand their knowledge over the respective topic area. You are the expert, and the attendees want to learn from you.

5. Track your time. This can be done through asking a coworker to watch your time, enabling the timer on your cellphone, or keeping a stopwatch. All of these methods will allow you to see how much time you have left and if you should expand on a certain area of the presentation.

6. Read the audience as you present. If the audience seems ready to move-on from a specific topic, they probably are. If the audience also drifts from the conversation, if it relates to your topic, let it go for a little bit then reel the conversation back to the topic. The non-verbals your attendees provide will allow you to see if there is any confusion or any other potential concerns.

7. Have a sign-up sheet or business cards ready at the end of the presentation. If you want to send your presentation or handouts to the attendees, the best way to do so is to have a sign-up sheet. If you forget a sign-up sheet or want to provide a way from attendees to contact you after the fact, providing business cards will allow people to reach out as they see fit. 

Presenting to your peers can be nerve-racking but also fun. It is an experience like no other because you are teaching people from different areas and not just student staff. Attendees will be able to take the information from your presentation and decide how that can potentially be used at their institution. 

Author: Anastasia Chaky (she/her/hers) is a new-professional working as a Hall Director at Morehead State University. She is responsible for overseeing approximately 900 residents and 19 student staff members. She is especially passionate about assessment, student success, and leadership development, and strives to provide opportunities to grow and learn for her students. Originally from Warrensburg, Missouri, Anastasia earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Central Missouri. Additionally, Anastasia earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education with a Leadership and Administration focus from Old Dominion University. Before working at Morehead State University, Anastasia held positions at the University of Central Missouri, Georgia Southern University, and Old Dominion University while working in the following departments: multicultural and inclusivity, housing, admissions and recruitment, and the student success center. Anastasia likes to spend her free time reading, exploring nature and new places, trying out new restaurants, and playing with her dog, Sinatra. Anastasia can be found on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agchaky/