APS Careers | Careers and Education

Speaker Tips and Guidelines

Published Sep 20, 2006

Presenting your research at a scientific meeting or other event is an exciting opportunity for you to share your knowledge and expertise with the physics community. By following some best practices and advice for speakers, you can ensure a successful presentation that clearly conveys your points and engages your audience.

By following the advice listed in this article, you can prepare for your talk before the meeting, craft an attention-getting presentation, and be ready at the meeting.

Organize your research

Step back from the details of your research and think about what your audience might like to learn from your work. Keep it simple—remember, less is more.

An organized presentation will:

  1. State the hypothesis and purpose of your research
  2. Describe your methods of investigation
  3. Include data collected and what was learned
  4. Give conclusions based on the collected data
  5. Emphasize the significance and highlights of the research

Shape your presentation

Practice and prepare your talk in advance, being mindful of timing, audiovisuals, and equipment needs. We recommend that you:

  1. Prepare notes that highlight the salient points of your talk.
  2. Practice the delivery of your talk, along with your slide sequence. Be sure your talk fits the time allotted.
  3. Use simple sentences. Avoid jargon, highly specialized vocabulary, and unfamiliar abbreviations.
  4. Think about questions you might be asked, and prepare your answers. Be mindful of the limited time for Q&A.
  5. Audiovisuals should amplify your talk, not duplicate it.
  6. Do not include music or film clips or other copyrighted content with your presentation unless it is directly relevant to your research. If you must include music, film clips, or similar content, please ensure that it is either open source or content for which you have copyright permissions to use. Please review the details on the speaker logistics page.
  7. Optimally display your work — don't use words if a picture conveys it more clearly (graphs, tables, charts, etc.).
  8. Use line graphs to show trends; bar graphs to compare magnitudes; pie graphs to demonstrate relative portions of a whole.
  9. Make sure your supporting audiovisuals are concise, uncluttered, and easily read from a distance. We recommend that you use a font of at least 18 points or larger. This is especially important in presentations to a virtual audience because screen sizes vary by user.
  10. Read Logistics for Oral Presenters for a list of provided AV equipment and its use.
  11. Request special AV equipment early or it may not be available. You will have to pay for special equipment. For AV policies and tips, see Logistics for Oral Presenters.

Be prepared at the meeting

During the meeting, you can ensure your presentation is successful by anticipating possible session changes, including the timing, testing your equipment in advance, and being aware of timing during your session. Specifically, you should:

  1. Check the online program of APS Meetings mobile app to see if there are any changes in your session.
  2. Most APS Scientific Meetings have a speaker ready room available. Stop by before your talk and test the equipment that will be available.
  3. If using a laptop and projector, read Logistics for Oral Presenters to know what to expect in your session. The APS March and April Meetings use a presentation management system.
  4. Check the program changes board at the Registration Desk or the APS Meetings mobile app to confirm your presentation time has not changed.
  5. If possible, arrive at your session ten minutes early to set up and introduce yourself to the Session Chair.
  6. Stop your presentation when signaled by the Chair to do so.
  7. Retrieve your computer, flash drive, and any personal items at the end of your talk.


Giving a virtual presentation can be just as compelling and engaging as an in-person presentation.

Your title and abstract are an opportunity for you to catch your audience's attention and give a good first impression of your research.

APS March Meeting attendees pose in front of an APS logo display.

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