Here are some tips from the EPSP Outstanding Student Paper Award organizers in 2014:
Thanks to the judges for their tremendous volunteer effort in the 2014 OSPA program! And thanks to our EPSP student community, you did a great job presenting your science. Here is a round-up of the 2014 AGU OSPA judging comments, which may help for future presentations:
Common judging comments:
- Get people excited about your work. Enthusiasm, liveliness, and spark about your presentation help make a good impression and generally help earn higher scores.
- Be able to answer the question "Why does it matter?" Know how your project will advance the field, how it fits into the already published literature, and your hypothesis. This was one of the most common issues that judges noted, either because it was successfully or not successfully addressed.
- At a poster presentation, try to acknowledge and talk to all visitors. You don't know who might be your judge and don't want to keep them waiting too long! When discussing, it helps to make eye contact to everyone standing at the poster. Try to treat visitors equally and acknowledge them when speaking. When presenting, try to allow time for your audience to ask questions.
- Don't overwhelm your audience with poster or slide text or content. At a poster, if asked for a five minute summary, aim for that and don't give your 15 minute speech. Too much text or figures that are too small are commonly noted by judges.
- Be at your poster when you say you'll be, or leave a note. The judges use your specified time slot to make their schedules. Judges are busy, and if you are not there, you miss out on the chance to be evaluated (and you might make your judge a little agitated.)
Other notes from the judging comments:
- Even if your project is still in the beginning stages, you can make a good impression by knowing the context of your work and your vision for the future of the project.
- Emphasize the summary/take home points early and end strongly on them.
- Phrase things in a positive light (without going overboard), as opposed to saying disparaging or inconclusive things about your findings.
- Try to gauge audience knowledge - don't assume they know all about your technique unless it is extremely common, give appropriate background information.
- Speak loudly enough for judges to hear you.
- Several judges wished there were maps for context of the study.
- If for some reason you cannot attend, withdraw your poster from the OSPA competition.
Ken Ferrier and Leslie Hsu - OSPA coordinators 2014