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Seton Hall University
Physics lecture in McNuley Hall.

Presentation Assistance

Oral (PowerPoint™) Presentations

Poster Presentations

Help With Oral Presentations

Click here and here for PowerPoint templates you may feel free to use to deliver your presentation remotely, and click here to view a video with instructions on how to create voiceover PowerPoints, how to export as an .mp4 file and how to post that video to YouTube for sharing.

For an oral presentation you will be required to present an oral overview of your work to a small audience. Oral presentations are usually 10-15 minutes, the last 3 - 5 minutes may be reserved for questions from the audience. Simply reading a draft of a paper that you wrote for a class or for an independent study project is not an appropriate presentation.

In an oral presentation you will be highlighting your work, limiting your topic to 2 or 3 main points in a format that is interesting to your audience. You are encouraged to use audio-visual equipment (PowerPoint ™slides and/or video) to capture the audience's attention. All oral presentations must be reviewed by a faculty sponsor prior to the day of the Petersheim Academic Exposition.

If your presentation is based on an empirical study such as survey work or an experiment:

  1. Give a brief introduction indicating why you did the work. Although you have an educated audience, some may not be familiar with your specific topic of interest so you may need to define some basic terms and concepts.
  2. Identify your research aims or hypotheses and make predictions (even if the predictions were not confirmed by your results).
  3. Highlight the major method of your work. If you have a multi-step method or a somewhat complex design it helps to provide a diagram or summary outline.
  4. Highlight the major results. You should have at least one graph or table of summary statistics. Do not present too much, however . The audience is unlikely to absorb many details crammed into a 10 to 15 minute presentation.
  5. Close with the conclusion/discussion that includes your interpretation of the results. The Discussion should relate back to the Introduction. Also consider some alternative explanations, especially if they cannot be ruled out by your data. If space permits try to contrast your results with those of similar studies. Mention the implications of your work and your recommendations for future work.

One strategy in preparing an oral presentation is to compile your content as a brief PowerPoint™presentation. Create graphs and charts, add images, convey your message in brief text and organize the slides in a logically sequenced order. You can then go back and edit, add, or remove slides to complete your presentation. Consider using the notes section of a slide to include your major speaking points. You do not want to simply read the text from your slides, so minimize the text in the slides that the audience will see and rely on your notes to remind you what to say for that slide. Print out the slides with notes so that you can have them with you during your presentation.

Ask for help. Meet with your faculty sponsor to discuss your presentation. All oral presentations must be reviewed by a faculty sponsor prior to the day of the Exposition. Do not hesitate to approach other faculty and students for comments on early drafts of your presentation.

Attend a presentation workshop.

The Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) offers a series of workshops on different topics throughout the year, including on presentation skills. A workshop titled "Academic Poster Design Tips and Tricks" will be offered monthly leading up to the exposition. View the schedule and attend upcoming session.

As you develop your poster presentation, take advantage of the TLTC's Open Labs to receive direct support from an instructional designer. Open Labs allow you to explore and leverage available technology, such as the Adobe Creative Cloud, to maximize effective storytelling and visual design. View upcoming Open Lab sessions »

Practice your presentation more than once. This will allow you to time it (trim it down in necessary) and increase your familiarity with the main points that you need to make. Nervousness is a common experience for presenters. Try to remain enthusiastic and keep in mind that several members of the audience are also nervous presenters. The audience knows how you feel and is empathetic. Practice helps! Practice may not eliminate nervousness but you will be better prepared and more confident.

When do I give my oral presentation?
If your application for an oral presentation is accepted, the day and time will be determined by the committee and posted on this Web Site. You should be prepared to present on any of the days of the Exposition.
Help With Poster Presentations

Click here and here for PowerPoint templates you may feel free to use to deliver your presentation remotely, and click here to view a video with instructions on how to create voiceover PowerPoints, how to export as an .mp4 file and how to post that video to YouTube for sharing.

Pinning a written paper on a poster board is an inappropriate poster presentation. Posters are intended to outline a piece of work (they are not complete works). A well-prepared poster is visually pleasing and stimulates question and answers, as well as an exchange of ideas, between the viewer and poster presenter. Not everyone who stops by your poster will want to chat, so posters should be self-explanatory. Text should be kept to a minimum because most viewers will skim long text passages anyway. As with oral presentations, your audience will be educated but not necessarily familiar with your topic. Define terms and concepts; do not use jargon unless it is explained.

Sizes for Posters
Posters are usually created by mounting text, illustrations, diagrams and charts with colored poster board backing to a poster frame with push pins. The poster frames at the Petersheim Academic Exposition are 4 ft high and 6 ft wide. Typically two posters are presented per board. In some cases, two posters are presented per board (that is, the poster frame is shared by two presenters). If you are sharing a poster frame you should prepare your poster to take up no more space than 40 inches high and 36 inches wide. If you are using a full poster frame, the poster should be no more than 40 inches high and 64 inches wide.

Poster content can be prepared with page layout programs programs (e.g., PowerPoint™) and spreadsheet programs (e.g., Excel™). There are two formats for preparing posters:

  1. Professional Quality Large Single-Sheet Posters - A large single-sheet poster can also be created with PowerPoint™and a wide-format printer. See below for details, including size and printing options.
  2. Individual Panels Pinned to a Poster Frame - Consider using this method only if creating a Large-Single Sheet Poster is not possible. Prepare your poster presentation by first compiling the content as a brief PowerPoint™presentation. Create graphs and charts, ad images, convey your message in brief text and organize the slides in a logically sequenced order. You can then print each slide to serve as a panel that will pinned to the poster frame.

Do not use the usual text font size (10 to 12 pt.) when preparing the text for either format. All text should be sufficient to be read from approximately 4 feet. Here are some recommendations:

  • Title should be about 1 inch high (Typically a 72pt font is 1 inch tall)
  • Use a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman) for most text - easier to read
  • Use sans serif fonts (e.g., Arial Black or Helvetica) for titles and headlines.
  • Point size of body text font should be no smaller than 32pts, for best readability.
  • Use no more than 2 fonts in your layout. 1 for your titles and 1 for the body text.

You need not fill the entire poster frame space. If possible, about 30-40% of the space should be empty. White space within your layout allows items to "breathe" a bit more and help the readability of your poster. Be sure to allow proper spacing between items. The poster should contain some combination of headings, text, illustrations, charts, tables and diagrams. Check with your faculty sponsor to determine the best layout of your poster. Templates are provided below. The best posters are the ones which are the most dynamic. A combination of all these items will help you draw in your audience. Be sure to use images to your advantage and to help catch the eye of your readers. It's tough to get your audience to read a 56" x 40" wall of text.

Ask for Help. Meet with your faculty sponsor to discuss your poster ideas and design.

For more assistance and tips on preparing posters, visit these web sites.

Large Single-Sheet Posters

  • Use these PowerPoint™templates to create a professional quality poster. The PowerPoint™file has 5 slides, each of which is a different poster template. Choose which slide you wish to use, and use it as a basis to create your own poster. Download the file and replace the content with your text and figures. You can change the look and feel of the poster (moving text boxes around, pasting or inserting images and graphs, adding color, etc.). There are three templates for different size posters.
  • Instructions: Download the zip file to a folder that you have made on your computer to hold the templates. Extract all by right-clicking on the zipped file. Each PowerPoint file contains five different styles.

    If you are having a problem seeing all the slides in the PowerPoint file, click on the View tab on the top ribbon and choose the Normal view (on the left top)

    Choose the style you want to work with, deleting the other slides in the file. Save your file with a different name so you will always have the templates to go back to if needed. The zip file contains these sizes:
            36 wide x 24 tall
            36 wide x 48 tall
            56 wide x 40 tall
            56 wide x 40 tall - SHU branded
  • Printing:
    There are three places where you can get your poster printed. The cost and time need to print your poster will vary.
    • Print Shop at Seton Hall - will provide help and printing services (located bottom floor of Mooney Hall). Posters must be submitted for printing one week before the Exposition. See website for details and call for pricing.
    • Outside printing shops - Outside printing shops are the most expensive; however, they will usually print your poster within a day.

Poster Setup & Presentation Times

When do I set up my Poster?
All posters (except Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry posters) are usually on continuous display through all or most of the Exposition. All students presenting posters are asked to arrive a half hour prior to the start of the poster presentations to mount their posters on the boards/easels located in the University Center. Students are asked to remain by their posters during a scheduled time that they are assigned. A poster presentation involves standing by your poster and describing your project and/or answering questions for the people that stop by. The scheduled times will be posted on this Web site.

All Posters must be reviewed by a faculty sponsor prior to the setup and display time. The use of presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint ™) is necessary. Posters should be professional, organized and detailed with the information as provided in the poster abstract.

When can I pick up my poster?
You may pick up your posters on the last day of the poster session.

Additional Presentation Resources