You have the exciting opportunity to share your research with the public at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. It is important that you create your presentation in a way that best represents the information you want to share. See below for tips.
- What is a presentation session?
A presentation session is often utilized in the scientific community as part of a conference session in which professionals discuss the objectives of the research project, the research itself, and any results obtained so far. Presentation sessions provide researchers the opportunity to concisely summarize their research to publicize it and generate discussion on the topic. Presentations should be created in PowerPoint and should include text in bullet form, a good mix of graphics, the experiment purpose, hypothesis, and a visual representation of the experiment in a way that the general public can understand. At the presentation session, all team members are expected to be prepared to speak about a portion of the experiment and specifically speak to the slides that the team submits before their arrival at the Youth Launch Event.
- What makes a good presentation?
- Important information should be readable from 15 to 30 feet away.
- The title should be short and should draw interest. It should not contain chemical names.
- The text on slides should be in bullets. Each slide should have no more than four bullets. Words should be minimal, clear, and to the point. Use fonts that are easy to read such as Times New Roman, Garamond, and Arial. Headers should be 35-40 pt and text should be 22-24 pt.
- Organize your content in an order that makes sense as you describe your experiment.
- Be sure to leave empty space (“white space”) between bullets.
- Use graphics, color, and fonts effectively. Do not use more than two font styles. Use a color scheme to attract attention but be aware of some common pitfalls. Red-green color blindness affects a significant number of people, so try to avoid using these colors next to each other (for example, do not use red and green for adjacent slices in a pie chart). Yellow can be a “weak” color that is unsuitable for thin outlines and lines on a graph. Your presentation should contain an equal amount graphics, pictures, and text.
- Aim for a clean and consistent layout. Choose colors carefully. Dark print on a light background is usually best. For formatting, left-justify text within text boxes or fully justify blocks of text.
- Include acknowledgements (e.g., your names(s) and school, your program leader/mentor, the Space Station Explorers logo, the name of the scientist that you are working with, etc.) on your last slide.
- Edit your presentation carefully for typographic or grammatical mistakes and image quality before the final presentation.
- Practice your slides with your team members multiple times before your presentation. Be comfortable with the material. It is ok to have index cards or a paper with you, as long you do not read from them the entire presentation. Making eye contact with your audience is very important.
- Interacting With Your Audience
You should know your slides well and be well prepared to present them. Your slides should include a very brief summary of your project, the objectives, how the experiment will be done, how long the experiment will be on station, what you will do while your experiment is on station, and how you will evaluate the data. Start with an introduction, then discuss your experiment, and then highlight the results you expect to get.
The audience may ask a question or two after the presentation. Here are five questions you should be able to answer easily:
- Why are we doing this and what do we hope to add to this field of research?
- What are the methods we will use?
- What conclusions might we come to from the data we collect?
- What recommendations might we have based on results from this research?
- Why did we choose this experiment to send to the ISS?
If you do not know an answer, admit it, provide a speculation, and ask what the person asking thinks. Be sure to check to see if your listeners understand the technical aspects of your explanation and if what you are saying makes sense.
Practice your delivery to a group of friends, your parents, your youth group leader, or a teacher. Be sure to speak loudly enough to be heard, slow enough to be understood, and without fillers like “um,” “uh,” “like,” “you know,” and “okay.”
Good luck, we know you will do a great job!