The ultimate goal of the oral presentation is to showcase novel findings and inspire further discussion of the topic with other researchers. Oral presentations are often accompanied by a digital display or other visual component (e.g. PowerPoint slides). This is often followed by a question-and-answer session. A moderator will be present to aid you in set-up, relaying questions, and ensure that events proceed in a timely manner. One can generally expect to present for 10-12 minutes with an additional 3-5 minutes for questions.

What Makes a Good Oral Presentation?

  • Adjust the presentation to your target audience.
  • Implement a clear delivery of your ideas and results.
  • Use visual aid as an effective compliment to your oral presentation.
  • Make the text clear and large enough to be viewed from a distance.
  • Ensure that the theme and color schematic of the visual component are practical and pleasing to look at.
  • Include references in the appropriate format on each slide or at the end of the presentation in a reference list.
  • Include the names of your research institution, project contributors, and funding sources where appropriate.
  • Ensure that the length of your presentation falls within the specified time limit.


Note: There may be audience members that are color-blind and cannot distinguish certain color differences, such as red and green. Here are some guidelines to making a color-blind friendly presentation:

  1. Choose a color-blind friendly color scheme, particularly for graphs. Avoid pale green and pale red mixtures, purple, and pink.
  2. Beware of high-contrast color schemes. For example, a white background is tiring to the eye and can make it difficult to see colored objects on the slide, especially yellow or green text. Instead, try to use dark-colored fonts on a light-colored background.
  3. When making graphs, avoid differentiating lines by color as matching these colors to the legend can be difficult. Instead, try to use shapes or label the lines. If this is not possible, make the lines a decent thickness.
  4. During your presentation, try to not refer to things by color but by their location on the slide and/or shape instead.
  5. If possible, use a green laser pointer rather than a red laser pointer.


What does a 10-minute talk include?

  1. Title, Authors, and Affiliations 
  2. Background
    • Identify the present issue or need for your research in the field.
  3. Motivation/Importance
    • Explain why the research was conducted.
  4. Methodology
    • Provide a brief overview of the approach used to answer your question.
  5. Results
    • Describe the findings of your research.
  6. Discussion, Conclusion, and Future Directions
    • Interpret the major trends of your results.
    • Outline future areas of study to further the insights yielded by the project.
  7. Discussion, Conclusion, and Future Directions
    • Acknowledge collaborating persons and/or organizations.

Works Cited

Bourne PE (2007) Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations. PLoS Comput Biol 3(4): e77.

Nick. “A Colourblind Guide to Colourful Presentations.” Oxford Protein Informatics Group, 20 Oct. 2013, University of Oxford, Accessed 29 May 2018.