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Oral Sessions

Thursday, April 13, 2023
Session A | 10:30-11:30 am 
Session B | 1:00-2:00 pm 
Session C | 2:15- 3:15 pm 
Session D | 3:30-4:30 pm 

Friday, April 14, 2023 
Session E | 8:30-9:30 am 
Session F | 9:45-10:45 am 
Session G | 1:00-2:00 pm
Session H | 2:15-3:15 pm
Session I | 3:30-4:30 pm  

Saturday, April 15, 2023
Session J | 10:15-11:15 am 
Session K | 11:30 am-12:30 pm  


Oral sessions are 60 minutes in length, comprised of three presentations each. Presentations are 15 minutes in length with five additional minutes allotted to each presenter for questions. This schedule is strictly enforced. Each presentation room will have a computer, projector, projection screen or large format tv monitor, sound system, and teaching station with AV controls and laptop connections.  

The purpose of an oral presentation is to share your research with an audience. It is typically a synopsis of your research. If you've conducted a study, you will probably address the following topics: 

  • Background research on your topic (with citations to past studies) 

  • The rationale for your study (how does your study address a gap in the literature?) 

  • Hypotheses/research questions 

  • Methodology 

  • Results (graphs are more interesting than tables or words) 

  • Conclusions (for example, the implications or applications of your research, limitations, future research directions, a concise summary of your main findings, and concluding thoughts) 

  • References and Acknowledgements (such as grant support, a faculty advisor if he/she is not an author on the presentation, assistance from others who are not listed as authors)   


Professional Courtesy  

NCUR offers an opportunity for participants to observe, learn, and practice professional etiquette common to all disciplines. Presenters should remain in the room until all presentations in their sessions are complete. The other presentations may offer new insights, and all presenters deserve the same audience and respect. Spectators at sessions should enter and exit oral and performing arts session rooms between (not during) presentations.  


Oral Presentation Guidelines

  • Try to visit the location of your presentation ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the space. 

  • You should arrive at your assigned classroom at least 15 minutes prior to the start of your session to transfer your digital presentation material to the computer and ensure that it opens properly.  A room monitor will be available for technical assistance in each room.

  • Use a USB drive or the cloud to retrieve your presentation. It is strongly recommended that presenters have backups of their digital presentation materials.  

  • If there are any difficulties during the presentation, please inform the moderator who will contact the building monitor and the technical support team.   

  • Please use the computer provided in your presentation space.  

  • You may choose to create slides in Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, Prezi, or other programs.  

  • You can save your presentation to the Cloud and/or bring digital presentation materials on a USB flash drive. It is strongly recommended that presenters have backups of their digital presentation materials.   

  • Plan your presentation with your audience in mind 
  • Think carefully about your central message. 

    • What do you want the audience to know by the end of your presentation? 

    • Most people will only remember a few take-home points from your carefully constructed presentation (if that!). 

      • There's no point in getting bogged down in minutia that the audience can't really process anyway.  

    • In general, the overall structure of your presentation should follow this format: 

      • Tell the audience what you will tell them. 

      • Tell the audience. 

      • Tell the audience what you just told them. 

  • The most important parts are the beginning (to draw the audience in) and the ending (to wrap up, to inspire). Put some thought into how to make these parts of your presentation have an impact. 

  • Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse!  

    • Practice without timing yourself first to get comfortable presenting.

    • Then practice timing yourself to see how long your presentation lasts.

    • Make adjustments as necessary to plan for a 15-minute presentation.

  • Notice any idiosyncrasies that may distract your audience. 
    • E.g., fidgeting, pacing, reading, voice too loud, voice too soft 
  • Think about your speaking style. 

    • Can you speak loudly and clearly?

    • Can you modulate your voice appropriately? 

    • Do you tend to sound monotone when you give presentations? 

  • Proofread your presentation many times. 

    • Are terms used consistently? 
    • Are there any spelling errors? 
    • Is anything mislabeled? 
    • Are fonts the correct size? 
  • Plan to attend the entire hour-long session. 

    • You will go in the sequence listed in the conference program. 
    • Refrain from coming late or leaving early. 
  • Show respect for fellow presenters – ask questions, and pay attention when they’re speaking. 

  • Consider planning out the answers to anticipated questions. 

    • Regarding your sample, analyses, future directions, etc. 
  • Avoid colloquial slang, derogatory terms, etc.  
  • Thank your mentor(s) and others for their contributions. 


What to Avoid

It is usually not required that you use visuals for your presentation, but they can often help the audience follow along with your research. If you use Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, Prezi, or other programs: 

  • Avoid the temptation to put too much text on your slides; the audience can get bored or overwhelmed and might not be able to clearly see all the words if you've used a small font (less than 20-pt is considered "small").  

  • Avoid font types that are hard to read or look unprofessional. 

  • Avoid putting words on a busy background that makes the words hard to read. 

  • Avoid using font color that doesn't contrast with the background (in other words, your audience can't read gray text on a black background).  

    • Think about audience members who may be color-blind or visually impaired

  • Avoid tables and graphs that have too much information
    • You can recreate those tables and graphs with just the most important information instead. 
  • Avoid reading your slides to the audience. 

  • Avoid reading from prepared notes; the audience will maintain interest better if you can speak extemporaneously directly to them. It's also hard to make eye contact with the audience if you are reading. 

  • Avoid distracting behaviors or verbal tics (“um,” “like,” and “uh”). 

  • Consider your body language (e.g., arms crossed can come across as you not wanting to be there). 

  • Avoid turning your back to the audience. 


Ways to Stand Out 

  • Embrace a simple (not simplistic) theme. 

  • Have interesting, high-resolution images or infographics on your slides. 

  • Consider ways to involve your audience and make the presentation a little bit interactive so it's not just you talking the whole time. 

    • You could connect your research to recent events (perhaps asking the audience to summarize the recent event). 
    • You could ask specific questions throughout the presentation. 
    • You could poll the audience on a topic relevant to your presentation. 
    • You could insert a powerful quote into your presentation (perhaps at the beginning or end). 
    • You can show a short video to illustrate something important about your topic.  
    • The point is not to be gimmicky; the point is to keep your audience interested and engaged (especially when the audience has been listening to oral presentations all day and might be tired). 
      • Be aware, though, that different disciplines have different conventions regarding what is and is not appropriate for an oral presentation 
      • Be sure to ask your advisor for advice first. 
  •  How do public speakers keep the audience engaged? 

    • Smiling 
    • Showing enthusiasm for their work 
    • Being energetic 
    • Using an emphasis on certain words 
    • Using hand gestures to keep the audience engaged 


Handling Audience Questions 

  • Be sure to leave some time in the end. The moderator will help you with this. 

  • If a questioner is soft-spoken, repeat or paraphrase the question so everyone hears. 

  • Avoid long, meandering answers. 

  • Don’t make something up if you don’t know the answer. Offer to look it up and get back to the person, and be open to someone in the audience knowing the answer. 

  • Give positive reinforcement to questioners (smiling, nodding, “that’s a good question”). 

  • If someone is attacking you or otherwise being rude, remember that this usually comes from someone who wants to show off or appear smart in front of everyone 

    • The other audience members will recognize the rudeness and be on your side! 
    • Stay calm, answer as best you can, and acknowledge it when he/she makes a good point (smiling and nodding can disarm an attacker). 
  • People will often talk to you right afterward 

    • Try to avoid running out right after your presentation if you can help it. 
  • Audience members may email for a copy of your presentation or to ask further questions 

    • Be sure to follow up with them. 


Classroom Information

All classrooms include:

  • PC with a port for a removable USB storage device  

  • Projector and large screen or large format TV monitor  

  • Audio system/speakers 

  • Wireless internet capabilities  

Available PC software includes:

  • Microsoft Windows 

  • Microsoft Office 365 Professional  

  • Browsers: Firefox, Chrome 

  • Adobe Acrobat DC Professional