Tips for presenters

One café coordinator commented, “One of the things I tell potential speakers to let them know what to expect is that they can have a microphone in one hand and a beer in the other.”

As a presenter these tips will help you enjoy your café experience—and help the café be a success! You can provide these tips as a handout or just keep them in mind as you talk with the presenter about his/her role in the café.

  • Introduce your topic with a clear, straightforward story. Include personal details whenever possible, such as what attracted you to the topic, a humorous anecdote, an unexpected outcome, and so on. Your audience will appreciate knowing about your connection to the topic.
  • Keep it SHORT. You’ll have about 10 minutes to do your presentation, with lots of Q&A and discussion afterwards.
  • If you want to practice your presentation beforehand, don't do it alone at your desk! Remember, this is not meant to be a formal occasion. The more off-the-cuff your presentation, the better.
  • Consult with your moderator and/or coordinator about using video (he or she may have already selected a clip). Remember, no PowerPoint! A science café is not a classroom or a conference.
  • If you’re not sure about how to approach your topic, talk with the moderator or coordinator to get their opinion. You will also want to bring up the topic beforehand with people unfamiliar with your work and to see which points make for interesting conversation.
  • Come prepared with open-ended questions for the audience. This will help get them audience engaged right away.
  • Use plain language. There is no need to “"dumb down”" your presentation, but avoid jargon and technical expressions.
  • Go with the flow—relax, be yourself, and have fun!

Don’t be afraid to ask the Science Café coordinator about how the Science Café format works.  As a current Science Café coordinator said, “always make sure to have the speaker focus on the SO WHAT of their research.” In other words, why should the audience care about your research? You should present your topic in a personal and engaging ways that allows the audience to develop a personal connection to what they are hearing.