In 2016, I gave a talk at the annual Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists, CSRT, Conference. At that time I was working six days a week, running a blog, and was trying my best to prepare for the presentation. I was excited, nervous and driven. My presentation was far from perfect, however, I learned a lot in the process and from the self-reflection after it was completed.
Here are my top three pieces of advice for first time presenters at CSRT:
Know more about the topic than most people in the room. Do your research but don’t invest all your time on the research component. There will always be individuals who would know more about the topic than you would, however gather enough information so your talk would be beneficial to most people in the room. Presenting at CSRT requires quality and professionalism. Do your research, deliver the quality, but don’t spend the whole time sharing your research.
- Keep It Simple.
Collect all the relevant information, process it and present it in few key points. A 45 minutes long talk is a short time to discuss all your findings. It is best to summarize or select only 3 to 5 key ideas/points, and then focus on the delivery of those points. Keep it simple. Present the key points without relying too much on technology. There seems to be always some technical issue during talks (happened during mine).
- Practice… Practice… Practice.
Get to know your material. I would encourage practicing enough to memorize. Practice in front of friends and individuals in the field. Use the feedback from the practice runs and modify your presentation until it is smooth and simple while delivering the main ideas. I videotaped my practice runs so I would identify areas that required more attention. Don’t be afraid to connect with your audience. Get to the room that your will be presenting early or during breaks. Stand where you will be presenting, look around and get to know the room. During your presentation don’t forget to breathe.
Here is the link to CSRT’s Call For Presenter’s page:
Farzad ‘Raffi’ Refahi HBSc RRT CRE