Scientists and educators travel great distances, spend significant time, and dedicate substantial financial resources to present at conferences. This highlights the value placed on conference interactions. Despite the importance of conferences, very little has been studied about what is learned from the presentations and how presenters can effectively achieve their goals. This essay identifies several challenges presenters face when giving conference presentations and discusses how presenters can use the tenets of scientific teaching to meet these challenges. We ask presenters the following questions: How do you engage the audience and promote learning during a presentation? How do you create an environment that is inclusive for all in attendance? How do you gather feedback from the professional community that will help to further advance your research? These questions target three broad goals that stem from the scientific teaching framework and that we propose are of great importance at conferences: learning, equity, and improvement. Using a backward design approach, we discuss how the lens of scientific teaching and the use of specific active-learning strategies can enhance presentations, improve their utility, and ensure that a presentation is broadly accessible to all audience members.
© 2018 L. A. Corwin et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2018 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).