How to present a paper at symposiums and academic conferences

Paper presentation is one of the important events at symposiums and academic conferences. Did your paper get selected for academic conference? Do you want to know how to present a paper effectively? Follow this article and get more ideas on how to present a paper effectively at symposiums and academic conference.


Paper presentation or oral presentation is one of the events at symposiums and academic conferences where the participants will present a topic in front of the audience. Presentation is not just reading the contents in the paper or slides in a PowerPoint. While delivering the content, the participants should connect with the audience and should explain their topic in an effective manner. For successful paper presentation, the participants should follow the below mentioned tips on how to present a paper effectively at symposiums and academic conferences.

How to present a paper effectively

In a paper presentation event, a large group of audience from various disciplines will participate and it is the responsibility of the presenter to explain the topic in an understanding way within the given time frame. While presenting a paper, the presentation style should not annoy the audience and the presenter should present a paper in such a way that the audience should not get distracted or diverted from the topic.

Follow the below mentioned tips for effective presentation at academic conferences and symposiums.

Read the paper presentation rules

If the submitted paper got selected for academic conferences or symposiums, then the participants should first read the rules and regulations of the paper presentation event. After reading the event rules, the presenters should be aware of the time allotted for presenting a paper, venue of the paper presentation event and must know whether visual properties and supporting materials such as PPTs, posters, handouts, etc. are allowed to explain the paper. Some academic conferences will publish all the selected papers as proceedings before the day of the paper presentation event. So, the necessary materials should be submitted in an expected format prior to the deadline.

The participants must prepare themselves for the paper presentation event after getting a clear idea about the event rules and regulations.

Organize the key ideas

Depending upon the requirements of the paper presentation event, the key ideas of the paper should be outlined. Skip unnecessary or complicated contents in the paper and organize the core content of the paper in a simple and neat manner. Before jotting the key points, the presenter should read the base paper multiple times, analyse the content and should have a strong knowledge on the content present in the paper. Checking out the reference papers is also an added advantage because it will give a wide perspective about the topic.

Structure the talk

With the main ideas of the paper, the talk should be structured in a clear manner. The structure of the talk should not confuse or divert the audience. In general, the structure of the talk must be organized in a top-down manner from introduction to conclusion. The talk should contain the following sections

  • Introduction

  • Explanation of the core content

  • Demonstration of the work

  • Results of the work

  • Comparison of the work with reference papers or related work

  • Conclusion

Create PowerPoint Presentation and other supporting materials

Most of the conferences and symposiums expect a PowerPoint presentation (PPT) to present a paper because PowerPoint has the power to attract the audience and it also helps the presenter to explain the main content to the audience in an easy way. If visual property like PPT is allowed at the conference then, the slides must be designed effectively. After organizing the key ideas and structure of the talk, prepare a PPT with the necessary key points. Strictly follow the PowerPoint presentation rules, if it is already mentioned in the conference rules of the paper presentation event. If it is not mentioned in the conference rules, then follow the general tips on how to create a PowerPoint presentation effectively, while preparing a PPT for the paper presentation event.

As per the conference rules, if other supporting materials such as posters, handouts, etc is allowed to explain the paper, then prepare such materials in an attractive manner using graphics, images and colorful texts.

Prepare a talk

After creating PPT, prepare the contents to explain. PowerPoint is just a supporting material and it is the responsibility of the presenter to deliver the contents. So, the talk should be organized as per the structure of the talk and it should be presented within the given time frame. Under each section of the structure from introduction to conclusion, all the points should be explained in a detailed manner from high priority to low priority. Avoid confusing contents and sentences while explaining. Prepare a talk considering the order of slides in the PPT because jumping from a first slide to the fourth slide in the middle of the speech will distract the flow of speech and also it will annoy the audience.

Rehearse the talk

Explaining the contents on the spot will not work out properly. Practice before you present it on the stage. Write the contents considering the audience but never by heart the speech, just present the paper casually. Rehearse the paper in front of your family members and friends or stand in front of the mirror and practice the talk using PPT and other supporting materials. While rehearsing, talk louder and also stick to the time limit. Practicing in prior will help to choose the words carefully and it will also give a confidence to present the paper in front of a large audience.

Stick to the time limits

Time is precious. Never waste the time of the audience by elaborating the content in detail. Stick to the time limits and deliver the content to the point in a simple way. If you are allotted 30 minutes, plan your talk for 25 minutes and allot the remaining 5 minutes to question time. Try to finish it within the allotted time. Don't rush to finish the talk.

Reach the venue earlier

Appearance is very important, so wear a formal dress or business attire and reach the conference venue earlier. Identify the room where the paper presentation event is scheduled. Check whether the technology requirements needed for your presentation is available in the room. If it is not available, then inform the organizers in prior to the start of the presentation to avoid last minute tension.

Break the nervousness

Nervousness is natural for a person before a presentation or a public talk. Don't worry about the size of the audience group. Too much anxiety and nervousness may spoil the entire presentation. So, take a deep breath and calm down before starting the presentation. If you forget any point and become blank, look at the slides to get back to the track. Never show your tension to the audience via your body language. Break the nervousness; be cool and confident while delivering the presentation.

Deliver the presentation effectively

Delivering a presentation in front of the audience is one of the most important scenes at the paper presentation event. Addressing a large group of audience in public is an art and the presenter must be aware of the important tips on how to deliver a power point presentation effectively. Start your presentation on a cheerful note and never annoy the audience through a weird body language. The presenter should have an eye contact with the audience and have to interact with the audience to make the presentation lively.

Encourage questions from the audience

At the end of the presentation, encourage questions from the audience. Think of the possible questions from the audience side and be prepared to answer those questions. Clear the doubts of the audience if there are any. Avoid giving lengthy explanations to the questions and try to give short and clear answers. Don't worry if there are not any questions from the audience side. Thank the audience for listening to your presentation patiently.


While stepping out of the room, the presenter should leave with an utmost personal satisfaction because the positive vibe from the audience and personal satisfaction is the real symbol of successful paper presentation. Presenting a paper at conferences or symposiums is a golden opportunity for the research scholars and students. Utilizing the opportunity and effectively participating in a paper presentation event will definitely give a good growth to the career. Considering the paper presentation event as a serious career profiling, the presenters should put a lot of effort and develop their communication skills and public speaking skills to present a paper in front of the large group of audience effectively.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao22 Jul 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

A very good article and author has given many tips to make a presentation successful in the symposiums and seminars. Nowadays the time allotted for papers for presentation is coming down due to many papers and paucity of time. So it is becoming a quick presentation than a detailed presentation. So one should make their presentation more powerful by making less number of slides highlighting the important points and explaining them as short as possible. A paper getting accepted for a seminar is easy when compared to getting published in a journal. So many papers will be coming to these seminars and time will be reduced. Another important factor is your presentation should be in such a way that it will reach the audience very easily. What I mean is the level of your presentation should be of matching wavelengths of the audience. Then the gathering can appreciate your work. Good work by the author in this article.

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