General Speaker Tips
- As a courtesy to your audience and the other speakers, stay on time.
- Acknowledge the moderator when he or she gives you the time warnings.
- When presenting, one key thing to remember is that you are there to tell a story about your work, a story that you know better than the audience.
- You want your audience to focus on listening to you and not on reading your presentation slides. Therefore, don’t read from your slides or talk to the screen. Use PowerPoint to reinforce your message and not as a crutch. Keep yourself center stage and keep PowerPoint as background.
- Do not read from notes or a script. It is a good idea to have notes on hand, but use them sparingly.
- Sometimes, international presenters for whom English is not their first language include all the text they will say on their slides. This is not necessary. If you are worried about the audience understanding your English, consider handing out notes for your presentation.
- Get to your main point right away. Don’t get bogged down in providing background or explaining methodology and then run out of time before you get to the main idea. If people are interested in hearing more about background or methods, for instance, they will ask.
- When asked questions, answer them directly and keep your response short so additional questions can be asked. If the room is large, or there is poor sound quality, make sure the audience hears the question by repeating it before responding.
- Be animated in your speaking and modulate your voice.
- Make eye contact with your audience.
- Use stories and anecdotes to illustrate your points.
- Avoid the use of lingo and acronyms.
- Use graphics and photographs as opposed to text. Most people are visual learners. Moreover, this will help the attention on you and on your presentation slides.
- Don’t read your slides or talk to the screen. Use PowerPoint to reinforce your message and not as a crutch. Use PowerPoint as a background instead, and keep yourself center stage.
- Practice your presentation for both timing and content. Practice on your own in front of a mirror or with someone who can provide you feedback. Also consider audio-recording your talk to get a better idea of how you “sound” and to catch superfluous words so you can adjust your talk accordingly.
- Turn off your cell phone before presenting (even seasoned presenters sometimes forget to do this).
- Arrive in the speaker room before the session begins, so you have time to test the remote, if one will be used to advance slides.
- Plan to bring business cards, so people can follow up with you.
- Above all, enjoy yourself! Your enthusiasm for your topic will be contagious.
- As a rule of thumb, assume one slide per minute of your presentation (although this can vary depending on the presentation).
- If you have to apologize for a slide (“bad picture,” “can’t read it,” “too complicated,” etc.), don’t use it.
- Your PowerPoint slides should provide only key words or images around which you tell your story. When proofreading your presentation, delete unnecessary words, i.e., extraneous words or ones that do not keep the focus on your topic.
- Avoid slides with long lists and a lot of text. Remember, slides are there simply to reinforce your message.
- A good rule of thumb is to have no more than three to four bullets on a slide and no more than eight words per line.
- Limit each slide to one major concept or idea.
- Use font sizes that are at least 18-point, but 24-point font is ideal.
- Avoid complex graphs or tables on a slide. It will be very difficult for the audience to learn anything from them. Instead, pull out the major point of the graph or table and show just that. If you must show the entire graph or table, however, consider making hard copies as handouts.
- Use high-contrast colors such as white on dark blue, blue on white, etc. Keep use of brightly colored font, particularly red, to a minimum. They distract the audience, and their focus will be directed towards your PowerPoint slide and away from you.
- Keep special effects (e.g., bullet points flying in) to a minimum as well, so they do not distract from your presentation. For example, have all content appear in the same manner, as opposed using several different animations.
- Make sure your presentation is not set on “automatic timing” (meaning slides forward at equal intervals), unless you are prepared for this.
- Have someone else proofread your slides to avoid typos.
1) YOU MAY PRESENT YOUR TALK ONLY WITH POWERPOINT COMPUTER PROJECTION FORMATTED FOR PC.
- You may not use your own laptop computer.
- VHS, DVD, slides and overhead projection are not available and will not be permitted or provided.
- You may not switch from PowerPoint to “QuickTime” or other video players. However, a video may be IMBEDDED in your PowerPoint presentation.
- If you use a Mac system, you must save ALL portions of the PowerPoint to PC format. Photos must also be saved to PC format through Photoshop or similar format. All portions of your Mac PowerPoint presentation must be saved in PC format so that the onsite PC computers will be able to open your files.
FORMATS NOT PERMITTED:
- You may not use “QuickTime” or other video formats unless it is imbedded in your PowerPoint file.
- You may not use PowerPoint slides that open to a video player.
- You may not bring your laptop, CD or memory device directly to the session room.
2) SAVE YOUR POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ON A STORAGE DEVICE THAT YOU CAN TURN IN AND LEAVE WITH OUR STAFF (ie: CD or memory device). Do not have any other files on it because the preparation staff will need to keep the storage device until after your presentation is finished. It is highly advised to save a backup copy of your presentation on a separate device.
LABEL YOUR STORAGE DEVICE. Attach a label or write directly on the device the following:
- your name
- your session date
- your contact phone number (so we can contact you if there is any problem with your file).
EXAMPLE: “N Park, May 22, 302 5553838”.
NAME THE FILE ON THE STORAGE DEVICE AS FOLLOWS:
- your name
- your session name
- your session date
- the time of your talk.
In this way, the preparation staff can easily identify the file. If you are presenting more than one talk, name EACH file on the storage device accordingly.
3) The SPEAKER PREPARATION ROOM will be located in Room 208 of the BEXCO.
PLEASE TURN IN YOUR POWERPOINT PRESENTATION TO THE SPEAKER PREPARATION ROOM 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF YOUR PRESENTATION TIME. This preparation time is very important so that the program can proceed smoothly. You may not take your CD or memory device directly to your session room. If you arrive less than 24 hours in advance, please take your memory device to the Speaker Preparation Room as early as possible - do not delay!
THE STORAGE DEVICE MUST BE READY TO LEAVE WITH THE PREPARATION STAFF. You cannot edit or download your PowerPoint file in the Speaker Preparation Room. Computers will not be provided for editing purposes.
You can pick up your memory device after your presentation or at the very latest by 15:30 on Friday, May 23. (If you are scheduled at 15:30 or later, you can pick up your device before your talk.)
CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEFT OF, LOSS OF, OR UNCLAIMED STORAGE DEVICES.
TCS acknowledges the assistance of Jan Kucklick of NOAA and TCS Board of Director Laurie Jodice in developing these PowerPoint and speaker guidelines. A portion of these guidelines was adapted from the Coastal Zone Conference presentation guidelines.