In the previous post about presenting at conferences and teacher’s events, ten experienced conference presenters gave tips on ways to plan and prepare a presentation. In this follow-up post, they give advice to help you on the actual day of your presentation.

Vanessa Esteves1. Know your room – Vanessa Esteves

“Take some time to find out where the room is that you are speaking in and how you can get there. This will help calm last minute nerves and make sure that you are able to start on time in a calm and confident state of mind.”

2. Check your technology - Jon Hird

“Check and double check the technology half an hour before the session and again immediately before it.”

3. Be prepared for tech failure – Penny Hands

“Be prepared to give your talk without access to the internet. Also, make sure you have your presentation on a USB stick in case your laptop isn’t compatible with their system. This last one actually happened to me a few weeks ago. Fortunately, someone else had their laptop and I plugged my USB drive into that instead.”

4. Change the layout of the room if necessary - Sue Kay

“The worst talk I ever did was in a huge room where my laptop was quite some distance behind me, and the podium I had to stand behind was clothed in darkness, so I couldn't read my notes. If this happens to you, rather than soldiering on, pause the presentation and rearrange things so that you can continue with everything in place.”

5. As your audience comes in - Ben Goldstein

“Chat away to the audience while you’re waiting for people to file in. This is a good way of developing rapport and makes you feel less edgy. I also like to put music on through my computer; there’s nothing worse than silence and you standing there in front of the audience just getting more nervous. Some Brazilian, quiet bossa nova style tunes go down quite well with most nationalities I find! Again, this helps feel everyone relaxed.”

6. Starting off the presentation - Adrian Underhill

“For starters, I like to ask the audience a few simple questions, answered by hands up or not, and inviting everyone to look round. That builds up a response, a connection and maybe some humour.”

7. Deliver what it says in the programme – Louis Rogers

“Make sure what you deliver accurately matches the abstract. So if you are planning a predominantly theoretical or research based talk this should be made clear. Otherwise, teachers may leave your talk disappointed that they were not given lots of practical activities to use in their lessons.”

8. Take your audience on a journey – Paul Dummett

I think the most useful thing I learned along the way (and from working with TED talk material) is that it is important to take your audience on a journey. In other words, to think of the talk as a narrative in which events unfold (or information reveals itself), leading to an interesting conclusion. This offers the best chance of keeping the audience's attention throughout. If you want to see a brilliant example of this, look at Dan Barber's How I fell in love with a fish

9. Questions - Evan Frendo

“Leave time for questions, but be prepared to keep speaking (have a Plan B) if nobody asks anything. If someone does ask a question, repeat it in case the other people in the audience couldn’t hear it.”

10. Don’t overrun - Vanessa Esteves

“Stick to your time deadlines. Remember that there will be a speaker after you who is just as nervous as you are and who needs to start and end on time too. If you don’t have time left for questions, then include your email on the last slide so people can email you any questions they may still have.”