Preparing for Your Presentation

As you prepare for your upcoming presentation, here’s a checklist of items to remember:

  • Prepare a brief bio about your professional qualifications and a summary of your presentation for your host to use in promotional materials and in introducing you.
  • Visit the location of your speech, if possible. Pay attention to logistics, including audio/visual needs and room arrangements. If you can’t preview the room, ask your contact for more information.
  • Include personal anecdotes that highlight your connection to the community.
  • Customize your presentation with specific local information that the organization will find interesting or useful
  • Develop an icebreaker to engage your audience; this can be humorous.
  • Include an effective closer summing up your presentation.
  • Practice your presentation in front of a mirror or with a group of friends or colleagues.
  • Brainstorm possible questions and answers related to your presentation.
  • If you are going to be developing materials on behalf of ACS or your Local Section, or plan to promote ACS resources and materials, please review our branding guidelines and materials.
  • Review chemistry facts, talking points and messages that can help you to convey important points about chemistry. [Link to 4.2]


On the day of your presentation:

  • Arrive early. Set up your audio/visual equipment. You may want to have an extension cord and masking tape handy.
  • Introduce yourself to attendees and organizers before the event begins.


During your presentation:

  • Leave time for questions and answers.
  • Be flexible. Every group has its own quirks and each location has its own set of logistical challenges.
  • Keep your presentation moving. If you have a PowerPoint presentation, avoid spending too much time on one slide or taking too much time between slides.
  • Be prepared to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll be happy to get back to you with an answer.” After your talk, make sure to get contact information from anyone you said this to.
  • Be courteous, smile, pay attention to time and thank the audience for their attention.


After the presentation:

  • Bring and distribute your business cards. If you’ve offered to follow up on any audience questions, be sure to get their contact information too.
  • Thank the organizers who helped you schedule and prepare for the presentation.

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Do you have tips you’d like to share about how best to prepare for a presentation?