Reports and Presentations Final

Steven A. Jones
Biomedical Engineering
Louisiana Tech University
Created for Louisiana Tech’s NSF-Funded
Research Experiences in Micro/Nano Engineering
Jones’ Rules for Presentations
Have a point.
Convey your point in the presentation.
Make your slides readable.
Practice three times.
Prefer pictures to text.
Use text sparingly (bullets rather than
Questions to Answer
1. What is the most interesting aspect of my
2. To whom am I communicating?
3. What does my audience want from my
4. What is the one thing that I want the
audience to remember from my
Common Mistakes
1. Voice is too quiet.
2. Slides are difficult to read.
3. Unnecessary slides are included (data
for data’s sake).
4. Presentation has no clear point.
5. Speaker stutters.
6. Slides are not described – shown for just
a few seconds.
7. Animations are distracting.
Common Mistakes
8. Level of presentation is inappropriate to
the audience.
9. Speaker recites the presentation, as if
reading it from a page.
10. Speaker uses the laser pointer too much
or wiggles it around on the slide.
Basic structure same as a research paper
 Abstract
 Introduction (not literature review)
– Introduction: An organized foundation.
– Literature Review: A chronological summary.
Methods (Theoretical and Experimental)
Conclusion (not summary)
– Summary: repetition of main points
– Conclusions: derived from the points
• Will be submitted 4 to 6 months prior to
the meeting.
• Generally not a part of the presentation.
• Some speakers will have an abstract
slide that summarizes the entire
Introduction (not literature review)
 An Introduction is
 What problem motivated your work?
– The practical problem (e.g. treatment of cancer, diagnosis of HIV).
– The specific question that needs to be answered.
 Briefly, what did you do?
 A Literature Review is
 A chronological summary.
 A happened, then B happened, then C happened (yawn).
 The reason grammar school students hate History.
 Depends on results.
 Anticipate what will be discovered.
 Teaser: will be revisited in the discussion.
Methods: Structure
Diagram of the experimental setup.
Special/innovated equipment.
Sample preparation.
Data to be collected.
Data reduction.
Statistics to be calculated.
Statistical tests to be applied.
Example Setup Diagram
Mixing Chamber
Flow Direction
Experimental setup for the flow rate measurement
Block Diagram
Power Spectrum
Peak Tracking
Methods: Level of Detail
 Describe experimental and theoretical
 Reference methods that are taken from other
 Briefly describe tried and true methods
 Carefully document variations from canonical
 Provide detail for methods you have
• Format with equation editor.
• Use only if absolutely necessary.
• E.g. “Here is the term we added.”
• E.g. “This term explains the difference we saw.”
Take time to describe them.
Allow extra time for questions about them.
Limit them to one or two per slide.
Do not use them to impress your audience.
• If you know the math, your audience will know.
• Inappropriate equations will confuse the
audience and possibly just make them mad.
Results Section
• Presents graphs, images and other data
• All slides will probably be visual.
• Includes results of statistical tests.
• Uses graphs instead of tables whenever
Presentation of Graphs
• Follow “Checklist for Graphs.”
• Include, if appropriate:
Curve fit equation
r2 value
p value
Graphs for Presentations
• You can use color!
• Some colors do not project well.
• Some colors look identical when projected.
• Your fonts may need to be even larger than
normal (not everyone has 20-20 vision).
• Do not show all of your data if you do not
need to (keep clutter at a minimum).
Use of Graphs
• Describe each graph
X and Y axes and their units.
Special scaling (e.g. log scale).
Differences among the curves.
Meaning of error bars (std. dev., std. err.)
• Describe interesting features (e.g. thickness
increases with temperature, nonlinearity,
discontinuity in slope).
• Tell the audience why you are showing the
Error Analysis
Meaning of statistical tests
Potential flaws with the methods
Points not addressed by the experiments
Relationship to other literature
Summary & Conclusion(s)
 Summary
 Repetition of main points
 Can be effective in setting up conclusions
 Conclusions
 Derived from the points
 Drives all sections of the presentation
 Know your conclusion before you create your
 Example: If your final result unexpectedly showed a
nonlinear relationship, include something about
linearity/nonlinearity in your introduction.
Rules of Thumb
Spell-check your slides.
Practice your talk at least three times.
Do not over-practice the talk.
Allow one minute per slide.
Have 2 - 6 bulleted topics per (text) slide.
Use large fonts.
Use simple layout and graphics.
Use phrases as cues (not complete sentences).
Favor pictures and graphs over words.
Problems to Avoid
• Do not apologize for your work.
• Do not overstate your accomplishments.
• Do not insult competitors.
• “We extended the work of Mason et al.”
• “We used a different approach from Mason et al.”
• Do not condescend
• “The excellent work of Mason’s revered group…”
Murphy’s Law: If you denigrate someone’s work, that
person will be in your audience.
Responding to Questions
• Do not become defensive.
• Answer the question you are asked, not the
question you are afraid that someone will ask.
• If you do not understand the question, ask that it be
• If you do not know the answer, just say, “I don’t
know the answer.”
• If a questioner is belligerent.
• Remain calm and courteous/Do not fight or argue.
• Remember phrases like: “Thank you for pointing that out.”
and “I will look into that.”