Oral Presentations

The goal of your oral presentation should be to teach your audience and the judges about a single, original concept or idea that pertains to the sciences, mathematics or engineering and that uses knowledge and information you have gained in a class, lab or other extracurricular activities.

General Guidelines

Each oral presentation will be 20 minutes: five (5) minutes for set-up, ten (10) minutes for presenting with a physical or digital demonstration and five (5) minutes for Q&A. Presenters should consider:

  • rehearsing the presentation to be fully prepared
  • providing only information that is applicable and necessary for describing your subject to a diverse and general audience
  • following a script which allows you to present information in an easy to follow order with strong transitions
  • engaging the audience through body language, slides, stories, questions, handouts or other means
  • speaking loudly and clearly using media, including visuals, that support, highlight or illuminate main conceptual points
  • wearing appropriate attire

Creating a great presentation takes significant preparation. Check out these resources for some guidance:

Conference Participation

Upon submission acceptance (see how to Submit Your Proposal), you'll need to submit an electronic copy of your oral presentation (in .ppt format) at least a week before the symposium to symposium@slcc.edu. Please include in your email's subject heading the submission category and your last name such as "Oral Presentation – Brinton." Include all contact information (name, preferred email, and phone) in your email to us.

On the day of the symposium, participants will need to register during the scheduled time. Participants will then perform their presentation according to the SME Symposium schedule.


Here are the general judging criteria for oral presentations:

  1. Adherence to General Guidelines (see above)
  2. Content
    • Is the purpose and main point readily identifiable?
    • Does the content follow an easy to grasp structure and order?
    • Is scientific, mathematical, or technological content explained clearly for an appropriate audience of academics, students, and lay audiences alike?
    • Are key points supported by evidence, including cited research, graphics/charts, equations, or rhetorical devices such as logic, appeals, or figurative language?
    • Is evidence relevant and crucial for contributing to one's understanding of the subject or argument?
    • Is content student's own work?
    • Do the results or conclusions contribute to the understanding, use, or study of the subject matter?
    • Is there any indication of plagiarism?
  3. Style and Format
    • Are texts and graphics balanced, creating a sense of harmony and stability?
    • Are words and images aligned with each other to highlight structures, create content hierarchies, or improve readability?
    • Are related images and words placed into groups and kept separate from other groups?
    • Are style and format choices used consistently to create a sense of uniformity and cohesion?
    • Does color and contrast help organize or highlight content?
    • Are in-text and bibliographic citations present and correctly formatted?
    • Does syntax, grammar, or punctuation impede coherence?
  4. Presentation & Delivery
    • Did the presenter(s) and presentation engage the audience and draw their attention?
    • Was the demeanor and appearance of the presenter(s) professional?
    • Did presenter(s) avoid jargon, speak clearly, and maintain a good pace?
    • Did the presenter(s) effectively use body language, gestures, and eye contact?
    • Was presenter(s) knowledgeable about subject and respond adequately to questions?
    • Did the presenter(s) stay within the established time limits?
  5. Overall Impression

Winners for the oral presentation entries will be announced during the SME Symposium dinner.