Avoid reading your paper unless you wrote up something that was specifically made to be read.
Talking from overheads can help you stay on target and helps the audience to follow, even if you have just one or two overheads with a few points.
Too many overheads and too many points and too rapid talking makes for a poor presentation.
In a 10-15 minute presentation it’s best to try to get across only a few (3 or 4) main points.
Try to stay flexible. No matter how much you’ve rehearsed it the time can go faster than you think and the chair tells you your time is up and you have not finished (often you’ll think the chair isn’t timing you right!). Be ready for this and have a 30 -60 second wrap up no matter how far you’ve gotten (otherwise you are not being fair to the other presenters and the audience).
Try to relax, it’s never easy to do, and you’ll get better at it.
If you relax enough you can even try to listen to the other presenters on your panel! (I still find this hard to do, although I try.)
Try to stay around and talk to people who come up to you after your presentation. Watch for them, don’t just talk to your friends.
Remember, this is not a test. Even if you think you blew it, you probably didn’t do as bad as you thought you did, it’s only a conference presentation, and you’ll learn from experience.
Tips for those attending a conference:
Meeting people, finding those who share your interests, networking is as important as (and is a part of) learning from the sessions themselves.
Try to overcome any shyness you may have. Go up to presenters after their presentation or go up to them later on if you are interested in what they do.
Try not to hang out with people you know during breaks and lunch. You can always talk to them.
Meeting new people is the key – conferences offer an unusual opportunity to connect. I always tell students that attending good conferences is so important that you should do so even if it makes you fall behind in your coursework.