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Tips For Paper Presentations

Tips For Paper Presentations

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The explosive growth in the job market and the emphasis being placed on communication and presentation skills made it imperative for engineering students to present papers in seminars, conferences and symposia all over the country. To encourage students, almost all colleges are conducting one student seminar eve-ry year inviting them to present papers. Even the National Board of Accredita-tion (NBA), a body which assesses the quality of the institution allocated some marks in their accreditation process for the student seminars and the presentations by the students. In addition, many companies and premier institutions like IITs and professional bodies like Computer Society of India (CSI) are holding paper presentation contests so as to encourage the students to be innovative, improve their communication and soft skills. All these simply point out to the fact that those students who present papers in conferences and symposia will be well equipped to get placements.

However, most of the students tend to download from the internet some rec-ent topic in the guise of their own presentation. Needless to say that this does not serve the purpose. No one expects an undergraduate student to come up with a research oriented paper. But, at the same time it is unethical and improper to copy and paste. It is nothing but plagiarism. Apart from this, there are points to be noted for presentation. The idea of this article is to make the students understand how to prepare a paper and present it.

Broadly paper presentation activity can be divided into three parts, viz.,
1) Choice of the topic and area
2) Paper preparation and
3) Paper presentation.

Choice of the Topic:
This is a very difficult task because the student will not have any idea about latest technological trends. Normally any conference or symposium will have a theme and a list of areas on which papers are expected. It is advisable to choose one of those areas in which the student has some idea and study some papers in that area. Any simple idea involving the concept studied in any of those papers would make a good beginning. It is not necessary that the idea should be innovative; it could simply be a comprehensive survey of those papers studied in that specific area. Once the topic is formed, a suitable title has to be given to the paper. All the terms in the title should be relevant to the paper. For example, if the title of the paper is " A Search Engine Based on Fuzzy logic ", then the concepts of search engine and fuzzy logic need to be explained briefly in the paper. Most often, the title gets modified after completion of the paper. Once the concept and broad title are decided then we can proceed to the second phase. It is always possible to fine tune the title after assessing the inputs for the paper.

Paper Preparation:
The presentation of the idea as a paper in writing is the crucial part because this will be a major factor in the acceptance or rejection of the paper. There is a standard format to write any paper like IEEE etc. A general structure is discussed below. It starts with the title of the paper followed by the names of the authors along with their affiliations. An abstract describing the concept of the paper in not more than 500 words should be given at the beginning of the paper. The purpose of the abstract is to make the reader understand the essence of the paper facilitating him to decide whether to read it or not depending on his interest. Now, the paper is divided into sections, each section numbering 1, 2, 3,... so on. If there is any sub-section, it will be 1.1 and so on. For example, if there is a sub-section in section 2, it will be written as 2.1.The first section would normally be introduction. In this section, a brief introduction of the idea of the paper is presented. In addition to this, brief review of literature on the proposed work is also presented. The second section would normally be something like "Mathematical Prelimin-aries" or "Preliminary Concepts". In this section, the definitions and the basic mathematical or other concepts being used will be presented. Here it is necessary to provide the references about them. The crux of the proposed work will be presented in the third section. Depending on the work, the name for third section and its sub-sections will be decided. The fourth one will be devoted to the results of the work. This may include tables, graphs and other statistical analysis to illustrate the proposed work. If the proposed work is significantly large, then, this can further be div-ided into more sections. The next section is conclusion. The proposed work is concluded in this section. In addition to this, some people make suggestions for impr-ovement and future directions of the wo-rk in this section. Finally, the references are given at the end. There are two internationally accepted notations for writing a reference i.e., by writing numbers [1], [2], [3] or the first three letters of the authors name. There is a standard way of presenting the references which can be observed from any research paper. The structure is as follows: Name, "Title", Journal name, Volume and Issue numbers, Page numbers, Year of publication.
If the students follow this pattern, then I am sure their paper will be accepted.

Paper presentation:
The third phase is paper presentation usi-ng PowerPoint presentation. Normally a student will be given 15-20 minutes for presenting a paper. So he has to effectively use it to present his work. A maximum of 15-20 slides would be sufficient to present the paper. The first slide should be title, name of the candidate and the institution to which they belong to. The second slide should be a brief introduction of the basics. The next 3-4 slides may be used for presenting the proposed work. Another 3-4 slides will be for the results of the proposed work. Another slide for conclusion and next, the references may also be included. Finally a "Thank You" slide would convey academic etiquette. In all these slides, only points with bullets should be written. Elaborate sentences are not necessary. Every slide could have a title.

Tips for better presentation
  • Never copy. Write in your own English
  • Follow the structure discussed above in terms of sections and sub-sections.
  • While preparing the power point presentation mention only the relevant and important points and avoid long sentences.
  • Write the references in standard form.
  • Do not put too many slides.
  • Avoid sound effects. They will distract the presentation.
  • Use creative slides. Mix them with photos and illustrations. Use good colour scheme. Make the font big and readable. Some of the light colours in slides don't show well in projectors.
  • Keep apart sometime for question and answer session. Whatever, you could not use in the presentation, could be used in this session. You can use and show your extra knowledge here.
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