Presentation Guidelines

Guidelines for Oral Presentations
General Instructions
  1. Presentations should contain: introduction (i.e., research “problem,” objectives, and background information), methods, results, and take -home message. Typically, keep your methods brief and focus on results and conclusions.
  2. Presentations are scheduled for 20-minute time blocks. Plan to allow 1 minute for the speaker introduction, 15 minutes for the talk, and 4 minutes for questions. Expect the moderator to keep the program on schedule even if this means cutting you off. You will not be able to extend your time if you have technical problems during your talk.
  3. Visual aids must be presented as PowerPoint presentations. No other medium (e.g., slides or overheads) or software is permitted. For virtual meetings, this requirement is relaxed, provided the presenter is prepared in the event of an internet outage.
  4. Prepare visual aids in a single file to run on an IBM compatible computer with Microsoft Office (this program will run PowerPoint and all previous versions) and should be saved as a normal PowerPoint file (*.pptx).
  5. Name PowerPoint files with your presentation day, presentation time, your name (e.g., Tuesday_10:00_JohnSmith).
  6. Bring a copy of your PowerPoint file on a USB media storage device (flash drive). Presentations will be run from a laptop computer.
  7. Please bring your flash drive containing your Power Point file to the moderator at least 15 minutes before your session (NOT your presentation) begins.
  8. For virtual format, email or upload your presentation at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled time.
Advice on Preparing a Presentation
  1. Keep visual aids simple and use large font!
  2. Choose text and background colors that have good contrast (i.e., medium to dark background with light-colored text or light background with dark-colored text).
  3. Seek constructive comments on your presentation from peers.
Useful articles for oral presentations
  • Pickett et al. (1991), Fraidenburg (2005), and Smith et al. (2007) are examples of articles that provide useful advice for oral presentations.
  • Friadenburg, M. 2005. Snooze alarm! Avoiding PowerPoint Perils. Fisheries 30(11):34-38.
  • Pickett, S.T.A., B.E. Hall, and M.L. Pace. 1991.Strategy and checklist for effective scientific talks. Ecological Society of American Bulletin 72:8-12.
  • Smith, J., J. Myers, and I. Myers-Smith. 2007. Tips for effective communication in ecology. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 88:206-215.

Guidelines for Poster Presentations
  1. Posters convey less total information than an oral presentation. The purpose of a poster is to convey the highlights of a project in an attractive format that can be easily read and comprehended in 3-5 minutes.
  2. Posters should be easily read from 6 feet away. Keep text to a minimum (e.g., use bulleted phrases rather than complete sentences). Keep graphs simple so they are readily comprehended. Skip the details of the study. Use photographs and colors to entice the audience to read your poster.
  3. The title should fit across the top of poster on one line (72 point font or larger). Authors’ names and affiliations should appear below the title (48 point font).
  4. Font should generally be 36 point-bold for section headings, 28 point for text, graphs, and tables, and 20-24 point for references and acknowledgements.
  5. Abstracts are preferred. Keep them short to avoid taking up too much space.
  6. Methods should be kept to a minimum; use graphics and images when possible.
  7. Results should take up the most space. Figures are preferred over tables.
  8. Limit your conclusion and implications to a few bulleted statements.
  9. References are rarely included; use them sparingly.
  10. Typical size of a poster is 32” × 44” in the landscape format. A 3-column format best fits this size and format poster. Flow of material should be from top to bottom in each column and left to right among columns. Leave about 1.5” between columns.
  11. Using photographs as backgrounds is not recommended because legibility is usually compromised.
The above guidelines were paraphrased from those used by the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference.