Guidelines for Oral/Poster Presentations

Computer Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are highly recommended. No personal laptop or notebook computers will be allowed for oral presentations. All presentations will be made using the conference computer provided. On advanced request only, conventional slide and overhead projectors will be available.
Slides are useful visual aids only if well made and properly projected. The layout for each slide should be planned carefully to fit usable space. Preferably, it should involve only one main subject. The final illustration must be fully legible when projected in a large auditorium. For a 15-minute presentation, generally a maximum of 10 - 15 slides is recommended.


Poster sessions will be held Tuesday through Thursday afternoons for about 75% of the Conference papers. This method of presenting papers has the advantage that it allows participants with a particular interest in a paper to have detailed discussions with the authors around the poster. Each author will be provided with a display board 2 m (high) by 1.2 m (wide) on which they will attach the material appropriate to their paper. The working area is approximately 88 inches high by 44 inches wide. Time will be provided each morning to set up the afternoon poster sessions, and fixing materials will be provided. The authors must attend their posters until 15:00 pm, so that participants can discuss the paper in detail with them.

Poster session layout and presentation should be eye catching and should contain the message. The illustrations and text (including poster title and authors' names) should be prepared by the authors beforehand and subsequently mounted on the display boards. The posters should include a short statement of the object and scope of the work; results: where possible the results should be presented in diagrams, tables, and graphs; a summary or conclusion. For maximum impact, all information should be clearly readable from a distance of 2 meters. Consequently, the lettering should be of an appropriate size; ordinary typewriting does not meet this requirement. Use colors, arrows, frames, flow-sheets, question marks, underlining, and photographs, but do not use pages of typed text or experimental detail or extensive numerical data or tables. The presentation need not be an expensive one. Although professional artwork looks good, handwriting with a felt tip pen is quite suitable. If you use charts, spectra, recorder traces, etc., mark the relevant features with colored arrows or background. Add a photograph of the authors, so that others will be able to identify you readily. The purpose of the poster is to arouse the curiosity of the spectators; details can then be given in response to their questions. Since the full text of the paper will appear in the Conference Proceedings, the poster allows you to elaborate unique points and emphasize the most important results. Providing a printed copy of the poster is recommended, however. Poster boards will be numbered corresponding to the program. Please install your poster by 9 am and remove it after 7 pm on the day assigned to you. Posters will be on view all day. DO tell your story briefly and in a conversational style. State the subject of your paper clearly and directly. Never allow your audience to say, "What's he talking about?" Mention your main points at the outset and develop your message as your talk continues.
DO develop good speech habits. It is not enough that the audience hears your voice, they must understand what you are saying. Be aware of your speech faults and learn to compensate for them. Try not to use an abnormal voice level. Remember to speak at a normal rate (i.e., 100 - 120 words per minute).

DO learn to speak extemporaneously. This will enable you to think on your feet as you proceed through your presentation and allow you to speak directly to your audience. Be thoroughly familiar with your outline and its organization.

DO use graphics such as charts, slides, pictures, etc. They will enhance your presentation and clarify the information presented, provided they are effectively used. The use of slides is very desirable since it gets a point across to the audience in much less time and with much less effort than you can with words alone. Be certain they are well designed and legible.

DO develop a good speaking posture. Walk naturally and purposefully when approaching the podium. Stand comfortably erect and reasonably at ease. Do not begin to speak until you feel you have the self-confidence you require. Make the most of your posture and appearance. It is your first introduction with the audience, and you should plan to make a favorable impression.

DO NOT read your paper in full. Prepare a step-by-step outline and use it when practicing aloud. Incorporate all the gestures you plan to use at your presentation. This will not only assist you in introducing the proper animation but aid you in remembering the correct sequence. You will find that the more you practice the less you will have to rely on the outline. Avoid taking your printed paper to the podium - replace it with your outline. This will remove that last minute temptation. Being free of your written paper, you can watch the audience to gain that self-confidence you are seeking, thus enabling you to modify your presentation as you proceed. The read speech is a hazardous undertaking and unless the speaker is fully experienced in what he is doing, it usually falls flat. Should you select to read your paper, it is worth repeating that you should assign a good bit of your time to the rehearsal. Moreover, in order to sound genuine and to make a favorable impression, your reading should sound as if you were speaking. Know your paper well enough to grasp your thoughts at a single glance. Practice will enable you to master any difficult pronunciations and help you to develop a conversational style. It will give you that feeling of sureness and allow you to become so familiar with your paper that you can pursue visual contact with your audience.

DO NOT waste your time on something that is not part of your paper. The audience has some background and interest in your subject and has assembled because they are specifically interested in your experiences. Wit and story telling are not required although at times prepared techniques are necessary to arouse audience interest.

DO NOT prepare extensive notes. List only the high points of your paper and underscore the important headings. They should provide a condensed picture around which you can build your story. Use no more information than can be comfortably typed on one or two standard index cards.

DO NOT stare vacantly at the audience. Learn to shift your gaze as often as possible. Select individuals in the audience and speak to them in a direct and friendly manner. Try to avoid the "fixed" look at one area of the room.

DO NOT walk aimlessly about the podium while speaking. This not only distracts the audience but prevents them from having the proper feeling for your paper. Move only when your movement tends to enhance your delivery. Properly executed movement heightens attention and tends to improve your presentation.

DO NOT let unconscious gestures such as playing with the pointer, pulling your ear, etc. become chronic habits. Use your hands and arms to emphasize and clarify points and to convey attitudes, but not to distract. Your gestures and facial expressions should be spontaneous. Remember that well planned bodily actions will tend to relax you during your delivery.

DO NOT let your story "run down" at the end. Keep up the interest (and your voice) until you come to the end-then stop! Include a brief summary of your paper and finish with a good concluding statement.

DO NOT overrun your time. Timing is the normal byproduct of your practice session. If the presentation is overtime, it will cut into your discussion period. At times, last minute adjustments may be required. Prepare an accelerated ending so that you can start your concluding statement when you are signaled that your time has expired.

Discussion Periods

Your presentation will normally be planned to allow a discussion period following your talk. After hearing a question, repeat it (using the microphone if one is available) for the audience's benefit. Give a brief answer that will satisfy both the questioner and the audience. Should you not be able to answer an unusual question, invite the questioner to confer with you after the session. By all means don't make up an answer, be honest and to the point. Throughout this article we have intended to bring forth various speaking principles concerning poise, voice, delivery, etc., which will assist you in making your oral presentation one of the highest caliber. Many of the problems that may confront you as you await your turn on the podium can be avoided by making use of the suggestions put forward here. Many speakers will feel apprehensive during the first few minutes of their presentation but will soon overcome their fears after they become accustomed to the audience. If this is your first encounter, we strongly urge you to memorize your opening statement. This will permit you to gain that much needed confidence as you get "rolling along." Organize your paper carefully and deliver it clearly and with sufficient enthusiasm to gain your audience's attention early.