Final Year Project Defense: Tips to a Successful Presentation

Final Year Project Defense

Why Worry Giving a Good Presentation?

  • First impressions matter!
  • There’s no point doing good work if others don’t know about it or can’t understand what you did.
  • Good practice for a teaching career! Good practice for any career!
  • Helps you sort out what you’ve done, and understand it better yourself.

Types of Presentations

  • Quick 1-minute “what I do” talk
  • 25 minute conference paper presentation
  • Project presentation (defense)
  • Thesis defense
  • Job talk

What they have in common:

  • Never enough time to talk about everything
  • All of them reflect on you & need practice/polish
  • Focus on a clear goal and message.

Top 10 Points for a Good Presentation

  • Be neat
  • Avoid trying to cram too much into one slide
    • Don’t be a slave to your slides.
  • Be brief
    • use keywords rather than long sentences
  • Avoid covering up slides
  • Use a large font
  • Use color to emphasize
  • Use illustrations to get across key concepts
    • You may want include limited animation
  • Make eye contact
  • Be ready to skip slides if time is short
  • Practice !!

A “typical” Project Presentation Outline

  • Title/author/affiliation (1 slide)
  • Forecast (1 slide) Give gist of problem attacked and insight found
  • Outline (1 slide)
  • Background
    • Motivation and Problem Statement (1-2 slides)
    • Related Work (0-1 slides)
    • Methods (1-3 slides) Explain your approach; illustrate algorithm
  • Results (2-6 slides) Present key results and key insights. This is main body of the talk, but don’t try to show ALL results.
  • Summary (1 slide)
  • Future Work (0-1 slides)
  • Backup Slides (0-3 slides) Optionally have a few slides ready to answer expected questions.

Other Important Things to Consider

  • Oral communication is different from written communication
    • Keep it simple and focus on a few key points
    • Repeat key insights
  • Be sensitive to your audience
    • The same talk may need to be adjusted for a different audience
  • Make the audience want to learn more
  • Handling Questions and Answers is as important as the formal talk itself

How to Improve your Presentation?

  • Practice by yourself
  • Practice in front of friends
  • Practice in front of a webcam
    • Watch footage later… alone… as painful as that may be!
  • Take note of effective speakers and adopt their successful habits

Expressing yourself technically helps you make and use professional connections wisely