Montana State University

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department

P.O. Box 173800
Bozeman, MT 59717-3800
Tel: (406) 994-2203
Fax: (406) 994-6292
Location: 220 Roberts

Contact for Writing Toolkit:

Dr. Laura Stanley

Engineering Communications TOOLKIT

Tips for creating stunning oral and poster presentations!

When delivering an oral presentation, the main goal is to inform, influence, and/or entertain the listeners. With practice and technique, anyone can do this well.

A meaningful and successful presentation, no matter the occasion, follows these general guidelines:

  • Identify a primary message and stick with it.
  • Maintain eye contact with your audience to help keep them engaged and interested.
  • Ensure that proper body language is maintained throughout the presentation.
  • Grab your audiences attention in a unique and appropriate way.
  • Ideas should be presented in a simple and direct way, remember your audience.
  • Never apologize.
  • End your presentation strong. No "That's it..." or "Any questions?"
  • Practice, practice, practice. It really helps!

For further reading on presentation delivery visit,

Scientific Poster Design (PDF) by Cornell Center for Materials Research

Adobe Acrobat icon You will need Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader to view PDFs.

Here are some additional tips for putting together either a PowerPoint or poster presentations.

Tips specifically for PowerPoint presentations:

  • Never EVER read directly off your slides (unless reading a quote). Use the slides to enhance, not script, the presentation.
  • Pace your presentation so you go through one or two slides a minute.
  • Title slide:
    • Orient the reader to the presentation topic
    • Introduce yourself
    • Include the date
  • Second slide:
    • Grab the audience's attention!
    • Why should they care?
  • Third slide:
    • Outline the body of the presentation
  • Presentation body:
    • Use simple backgrounds
    • Readable fonts are a must
    • Use bulleted lists but limit bullet points to one or two lines
    • Make sure illustrations are simple and readable

For additional resources on PowerPoint presentation delivery:

A humorous collection of what not to do during a PowerPoint presentation is located here.

Tips specifically for poster presentations:

  • Find a way to draw you audience to your poster
  • Identify key points that outline and describe your message in detail
  • The more illustrations the better
  • Keep graphics simple
  • An attractive color scheme can make all the difference

For additional resources on poster presentations: