Pro-Seminar Presentation Techniques

Lecture content:

Oral presentation of scientific results in meetings, on conferences and to the general public is an integral part of scientific work. While the contents of a presentation are of course of central importance, the form also has an impact on how well the message is received by the audience. The same is true for posters and extended abstracts which often are presented at conferences.

The best way to improve one's presentation technique is to practice and to get feedback from a friendly but critical audience. Consequently, this pro-seminar will consist of short presentations (15 minutes plus discussion each) given by the participants followed by detailed discussion in the group. Each participant will give his or her presentation twice, the second version of the talk taking into account the results of the discussion of the first round. The topics for the presentations and supporting material will be provided and are taken from the lecture on Atmospheric Physics. Students can also suggest another topic from the field of Environmental Physics.

As the second component of the course, you have the choice to convert your talk to either an extended abstract of 4 journal pages or to a poster. Both will be available to and discussed by all participants.

At the end of the seminar, you should have improved your presentation technique by both practicing and learning from other presentations.

How the seminar works:

To work out together how to give good presentations, orally, in an extended abstract or on a poster. Your activity is required:

  • Give short practice talks.
  • Prepare posters and extended abstracts.
  • Listen to the talks, take notes, and give detailed & constructive feedback to the speaker.
  • Bring in your ideas in group work & brain storming.

Rules for passing the seminar:
Your presence is required not only for your own presentation, but also to analyse the presentations of others. Hence, you will pass the seminar, if

  • You do your talks.
  • You submit a poster or an extended abstract on the topic of your talk.
  • You do not miss more than 2 sessions without excuse. Valid excuses are medical (sick-leave signed by a medical doctor), or professional (meeting, conference, or measurement campaign confirmed by your thesis advisor).

Rules for the talks:
You have two iterations of the talk, a first try, after which you will get feedback from the lecturer and from the other participants and one final run.

  • Time: 15 minutes + discussion
  • Viewgraphs: Use the PEP Beamer
  • Software: Powerpoint, LaTeX, OOimpress, kPresenter… are all okay. (Powerpoint is easiest for those without prior experience.)

Rules for the extended abstracts:

  • Size: 4 journal pages including all figures and references. A Word template is available below.
  • Software: LaTeX, Word, OpenOffice… are all okay.

Rules for the posters:

  • Size: A0. A PowerPoint template is available below.
  • Software: LaTeX, PowerPoint, OpenOffice… are all okay.


  • Some points to consider when preparing an oral presentation are listed here [129 KB]
  • Some points to consider when when preparing a poster presentation or an abstract are listed here [155 KB]
  • A template for your extended abstract can be found here [105 KB]
  • A template for your poster can be found here [138 KB]