Now Presenting: Your Best Research Part 2 : Prepare the Material & Organize the Talk

by Sanae Ferreira


Now that you’ve had a little time to think about your next opportunity to present your research, we’re ready to dive right in to some handy tips and tricks.


Tips and Tricks

Prepare the material:

  • Know the research that has been done. It could come from prior work of the labs’ metaphorical shoulders, upon which your work stands, or your competition.
  • Thoroughly understand the importance of the research question you (or the authors of the research) proposed. If it isn’t your work specifically, you need to be intimately apprised of enough detail to justify and believe in the importance or impact of the work.
  • Anticipate questions people might have. Even practicing with a friend who is not at all in your field can bring to your attention any basic gap in the story that needs explanation.
  • Know the methods inside and out. Some attend talks to hear about new ways of solving problems, and you’re a resource in this respect and can help facilitate the transfer and sharing of practical knowledge.


Organize the talk:

  • Know who you are speaking to. If it is to people in your group who are pretty well-versed in the pathway you focus on, there’s no need to lean on the background as much and you can go more quickly to the exciting part – the results and conclusions. You can, however, still make such slides to get you warmed up and keep them on hand for the future. It is possible you may need to explain this to someone less familiar soon, and the reference will be useful. It is not a bad idea to put it together when you’re on topic.
  • Framing the slides in terms of Research Questions may also be more appropriate for people familiar with the topic, as they may be more interested in the questions, rationale, and rigor of the study to address the questions.
  • Framing the slides in terms of Conclusions may be more appropriate for a talk with varied audience members, where the goal may be to communicate a new technique or findings that could be translated for a wide spectrum of research.
  • Break the topics up into chunks. Be logical. You want to guide people through the talk, and even through each slide.
  • At the end, bring it back to the original question, reminding your audience, and hit home with the major conclusions addressing it.


Working on preparing your material and organizing your talk are foundational to not missing a beat come presentation day. Focused refinement comes a little later.


Next time: Part 3 of Now Presenting: Your Best Research, Make it beautiful & Edit yourself.

Did you miss Part 1 of Now Presenting: Your Best Research? Access it here.