Oral Presentation Guidelines

Change in Speaker or Cancellation

As a courtesy to the audience, please let us know as soon as possible if there is a change in your presentation. If there is some last minute difficulty, please arrange for someone else to present your poster rather than canceling it. For changes in speaker or program prior to the meeting, please call the ASP Secretariat, (703) 790-1745, FAX (703)790-2672 or email Jennifer Rosenberg (jrosenberg@burkinc.com).

In-Person Guidelines for Oral Presentations

Projection Computer
The projection computer contains 8 GB Ram, runs Windows 10 Pro, has MS Office 2016 Standard installed, displays in 16:9 Slide Format, and is not connected to a sound system.

File Requirements
Please use only one file per presentation. Files must be self-contained and in .pptx format. In other words, do not link your presentation to other files, the Internet, or audio/video content (special requests must be made).

Speaker Preparation
Some versions of Office for Mac have proved troublesome when used on a Windows PC. Users of Office for Mac should submit their presentations ahead of time online so that it can be checked in advance.

Presentation Guidelines
The rule of thumb is 1 slide per minute. A 15-minute presentation allots only 12 minutes for talk, 3 minutes for questions. In the “File->Page Setup” window, specify:

  • Slides sized for: “On Screen Show”
  • Slide orientation: Landscape
  • Slide format: 16:9

Design Guidelines

Each slide should have a title. Use Short phrases, not long sentences. Use Arial or similar sans serif font. Titles should be in 40 points, text in 28 points, and subtext in 24 points.

High contrast is very important so use light lines/text on a dark background. For example, the foreground could be white, yellow, or light cyan while the background could be black, dark blue, dark brown. Note of caution: Red, orange or blue lettering and lines can become unreadable when projected.

Slides should display instantly. Do not distract the audience with slow transition effects or special animation when changing from one slide to another. Use only sparingly as a special attention getter. Default settings should be:

  • Effect: No transition
  • Speed: Fast
  • Advance: On mouse click

Transitions between lines, however, can be highly effective. Focus attention on a specific line of a slide. Dim previous lines for more emphasis on current line. Transitions should be instantaneous and consistent.

Diagrams and Graphs
Keep diagrams and graphs simple and easy to view. Ensure text is readable and use all the space within the rectangle. Eliminate or subdue distracting grid lines. Use large font sizes.

Common Problems

  • Make sure the audience is focused on the speaker and not the slides.
  • Do not use every feature PowerPoint has to offer.
  • Avoid overuse of slow graphics, fonts and special effects. Overused transition effects can be highly distracting to the audience.
  • Avoid unreadable visual aids such as charts and graphs. Do not have too many words on a slide, and do not reduce font size to make room for more words. If you can’t read your lettering from 10’ away from a laptop display, then your audience may have problems.
  • Be aware of bad color contrast when projected, especially red. Special fonts such as symbols and bullets may not be on the projection computer so avoid Wingdings, Monotype Sorts and scientific symbol fonts such as Asian language fonts or MS Line Draw. (If you can embed TrueType fonts in file, Select “Tools->Save Options->Embed TrueType Fonts” from the dialog box when saving.)
  • Do not overuse CAPS, Italics, Underlines.