Presentations at professional meetings: notes, suggestions and tips for speakers

Eur J Intern Med. 2004 Oct;15(6):358-363. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2004.07.007.


Professional meetings are an important way of educating, communicating and sharing updated information. After having attended dozens of medical and scientific meetings and conferences, the authors realized that many lectures are not appropriately presented due to a lack of proper speaking skills or inadequate facilities. Although the art of speaking is, to some degree, an inborn talent, speaking skills can be learned, exercised and put into practice. The current article summarizes the authors' thoughts and opinions about what makes a medical or scientific lecture a good or bad one, and it provides suggestions for improving a speaker's performance. Common mistakes are discussed, along with tips and recommendations on how to prepare and provide an interesting, professional, entertaining and attractive lecture. Guidelines are given on how to structure and balance a lecture. A special segment is devoted to speaker-audience relations. A detailed chapter emphasizes rules for preparing good slides. Finally, some recommendations are made regarding facilities in the lecture hall. The authors believe that if the proposed suggestions were applied, more presentations would be successful.