On Presentation Day
- Presentation rooms will have a lectern, a microphone, a projector, and an LCD screen.
- If your laptop does not have a VGA port, please bring an appropriate adapter (e.g., USB-to-VGA, lightning-to-VGA, etc.).
- You will be presenting in a large room. Please plan to arrive 20 minutes before your scheduled start time so you can begin on time. Events are scheduled back to back, with only 10 minutes between talks, so it is critical that your event begins and ends on time. Please adhere to the time allowed so that subsequent events can start on time.
- Please note that all presentation slides should have a 16:9 aspect ratio.
- All presentation screens at the convention will be 16:9; your presentation will look its best at the same ratio.
- To change your aspect ratio in PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, choose the “Design” tab, then choose “Slide Size” and select “Widescreen (16:9)” from the options.
- Older 4:3 slides will work for most projectors, but when projected onto a widescreen LCD, these slides will not fill the screen and there will be black bars on the sides (Figure 1), or your content will be stretched and distorted (Figure 2).
Style and Content
- Your slides are the illustrations for your presentation, not the presentation itself. They should emphasize and reinforce your verbal presentation. Avoid using a “wall of text” on slides.
- Limit content to material directly relevant to your presentation. It is appropriate to include a photo of yourself or your staff, research group, or family at the end of your slides.
- Action or animated text and graphics can detract from content. Limit animations to those that will aid understanding.
- Your slides should have plenty of white or “negative” space to have the most impact.
- If you believe something will be hard to read or understand, don’t use it.
- We strongly recommend using 24-point font for body text. Smaller text is illegible in large rooms.
- Sans-serif fonts for body text are the most legible on presentation screens. Examples include Arial, Helvetica, and Tahoma.
- Limit font colors to one or two for the best legibility. Choose either a very light font on a very dark background or vice versa.
- Italics, underlining, shadows, outlines, etc., are not readable from a distance. Bold can be effective if used consistently and simply.
- Save any “special” fonts that are non-standard. If you’re using and presenting on a PC, save your PowerPoint file by clicking “Save Options” in the "Save As …" dialog window. Then, select the "Embed TrueType fonts" check box and press "OK." Now, your presentation will keep the font file and your fonts will not change if you use a different computer.
- Use high-quality images that will look good on screen (Figure 3). Small images should not be stretched to make them larger. As a rule of thumb, if a picture looks fuzzy on your monitor (Figure 4) it will look far worse from 40 feet away.
- If you take an image from the Internet, be sure it does not have copyright restrictions.
Tables and Charts
- Tables are good for organization, but any table larger than five columns by five rows becomes crowded and illegible on a presentation slide.
- Audiences appreciate charts that illustrate main points and are easy to read. Avoid using small charts with many crisscrossing lines and small type, as the audience will not be able to read them.
Video and Audio
- Audiences love videos, especially as part of intervention presentations, illustrating exactly how a procedure is done and the implications for clients.
- Audio clips (such as interviews) are also appreciated.
- Embed any video or audio within your PowerPoint presentation instead of switching to a different program on your computer to play it; wifi is not guaranteed, so linking to a video on the web is discouraged.
- Make sure that videos and audio clips are clear and easy to hear. Short clips are better than extended samples.
- Avoid using PowerPoint sound effects such as a horn or applause. The use of superfluous sound effects and animations is a sure way to lose credibility with your audience.
Speaking to an Audience
- You are the focus during your presentation, no matter how interesting your slides. Give some thought to your presentation manner—how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the stage.
- Speak as though talking to a colleague, not reading off a display.
- Plan your presentation so just one new point is displayed at any given moment. You can use the remote slide advancer to reveal bullet points or illustrations one at a time as you reach each salient point. (This is one of the best uses of slide animations!) If the next four points you plan to make are on screen, the audience will read them immediately instead of listening to you speak.
- Slide content is for your audience, not you. Avoid reading from your slides.
- Face your audience, not your presentation.
- PowerPoint can display notes on the presenter’s screen (confidence monitor) that are not displayed to the audience. This is the place to put text to prompt your speaking.
Figures 1 and 2 from “What slide dimensions should you use for your presentations?” by Presentitude. Available at http://www.slideshare.net/Presentitude/what-slide-dimensionsshouldyouuse/15-Presentitude_43slides_works_for_most.