The presentation of factual material to an audience has become a routine part of psychiatric training, be it a case presentation, a journal article or original data. It can be seen as an anxiety-provoking task that bears little relevance to everyday practice. But it can become a creative endeavour with its own reward. Organising the material so that it can be easily understood clarifies your own thinking on the subject. The medium of a presentation both passes on information and enables quick and useful feedback. And, most importantly, it provides a deadline to work towards. Over the year a tradition of oral advice about conference presentation technique has been built up among research workers with the Team for the Assessment of Psychiatric Services. This team is evaluating the closure of Friern and Claybury Hospitals and has presented preliminary work at a yearly conference since 1986. This advice has usually been passed on during the frantic weeks that build up to our annual conference. This essay is an attempt to set down in writing some of those guidelines.
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