Presentations and posters
During your studies the main focus is on writing for the sake of assignments. Academic writing skills are key ones to develop. But, you may have to write for a variety of other audiences. This page just looks at two different types of writing you may encounter.
Writing for presentations
Writing for a presentation can be quite an art. There are many things to consider. Conveying complex information clearly and concisely is not as easy as it first seems.
Remember that the success of a good presentation lies in the preparation. Before you start anything, take the time to consider:
- The audience – who are they, how many members are there and what do they already know?
- The occasion – is it formal or informal? A lecture, a debate, a speech, job interview?
- The point – what is the purpose of the talk?
- The environment – what is the size and layout of the room, and what facilities will be available (data projector, computer access, microphone, etc.)?
Once these factors have been considered, it’s time to gather, select and structure your material.
Planning the structure of your presentation is very important. Think about the narrative and how you are going to guide your audience through your presentation. Think about the message you want your audience to take away.
Selecting key information and evidence to include can be tough; a well-prepared handout allows.
And it's not just about the writing. A picture can be worth a thousand words, and can help to hold an audience's interest.
As well as practising your delivery, you should plan how to handle questions, control your nerves and manage any props or tools you are going to use.
Take a look at some of the advice in the Imperial Success Guide
Writing for posters
Posters can be another way of presenting information or research findings.
- A poster is designed to be visual.
- Think about the structure and layout. Generally you will still have an introduction, method, discussion/results and a conclusion, but do think about how your reader will navigate through these. Emphasise key messages for the reader.
- The flow and design of the poster can be as important as the text. Think about the graphical design; planning it with post-it notes can be really helpful. Use colour and images to draw your reader’s eye and guide them through.
- Remember to reference and include citations where you need to.
- Remember your word limit. Try not to cram too much onto a poster. Sometimes less is more. Too much text can overwhelm your audience.
These are some useful resources for poster designs:
Communicating Science Successfully series