Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Professional Presentations at Conferences and in the Academic World

This course is offered in cooperation with the Center for Quality Assurance and Development of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Course description

This workshop focuses on how scholars can best convey the value and significance of their work through oral communication, emphasizing not only typical structures of thought and expressions in English, but also an audience's expectations. The focus of the workshop is on the formal conference panel presentation and the question-and-answer session, and includes sections on the presentation structure, attention-getting openers, visual aids, and linguistic cues for the audience (signposting language). We also discuss and practice networking, small talk, the elevator speech, and introduction speeches.

Target audience, number of participants

Doctoral candidates
Maximum number of participants: 10


  • The "golden rules" of structuring a talk and presenting in English
  • Rhetorical strategies for structuring the presentation, handling difficult situations, and answering questions
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication strategies
  • Dealing with nerves
  • Maximizing your conference experience

Learning results

Through successful participation in the course, participants will have...

  • created an attention-getting opener and strong conclusion for your presentation
  • used "signposting" language to structure your talk and maximize your audience's understanding
  • developed a relaxed and personable, yet professional style with which you may better engage your listeners and communicate your ideas
  • held a presentation and defended your research during the following question-and-answer session
  • practiced "small talk" and other informal networking techniques
  • polished a concise verbal overview of your research (the "elevator speech")


Participants need to prepare beforehand a presentation of 8-10 minutes in length on their area of research. (If time permits, exceptions may be made for people with upcoming presentations.) PowerPoint/slides are not necessary.

Next Workshop: to be announced.