Instructions for NCFR 2017 Annual Conference Presenters

A well-prepared presentation is crucial to a quality NCFR conference. This means you must be ready before the conference. Below, find information to help you prepare your presentation and know what to do and expect at your presentation.

All presenters must upload their presentation file with NCFR by Nov. 6, 2017! Your presentation file will be pre-loaded onto the laptop in your presentation room.

Audio-visual (AV) equipment: A multimedia/LCD projector, microphone, and laptop patched to an amplification speaker is provided in all presentation rooms. You will not be able to use your own laptop for your presentation; bring a backup copy of your presentation to the conference on a flash drive. Reserve any other necessary AV equipment through NCFR by Nov. 6, 2017. Email Judy Schutz by Nov. 6 with any AV questions or needs. 

With additional questions about your NCFR conference presentation, email Cindy Winter or call her at 612-759-8580. You may also contact the NCFR office at [email protected] or 888-781-9331.

Find more instructions below, and also see these resources:

Follow these links to jump to instructions about each presentation format:

Paper Presentations

Paper sessions are 75 minutes long and feature 3-4 paper presentations, as well as audience participation following the presentations. Thus, each presenter has approximately 12 minutes of actual speaking time.

How to Prepare in Advance

  • Send a copy of your presentation to your session discussant or facilitator by Nov. 6! All presenters must do this! Send your biographical information to the session presider. A reminder notice will be sent to you in September that lists the email addresses of the people to whom you are to send this information.
  • Remember that hearing is different from reading. A paper delivered orally is different in style from an article meant to be read in print. Use your printed paper as a source, and prepare an outline from which you present your speech. Attendees do not like to hear papers read. Talking off the top of your head, however, can also be annoying.
  • Get the beginning and end right. Critical to the success of your speech are the first two and the final one-minutes. Start with an attention-getter (e.g. a story), and end with the one point you want your audience to remember about the talk.
  • Structure your presentation thoughtfully. The structure of a paper presentation requires thoughtful planning. State your objectives and how you will meet them. In the first few minutes, place your topic into historical or developmental context. Summarize key points at the end of each segment of the presentation. Emphasize the direction your research has taken, and the results and interpretation rather than techniques. Try to present some practical applications of your work. The audience prefers to receive both practical applications and theoretical material at a session.
  • Practice to your time limit. You will have approximately 12 minutes to orally present your paper. Sessions are on a tight schedule and there are others presenting in your session. You must adhere to the time limit specified by your Section chair. As a rule of thumb, six pages of typed, double-spaced pages with one-inch margins equals 12 minutes of speaking time.
  • Practice your presentation in front of a small group of supportive colleagues to ensure an effective performance.

Preparing and Using Visuals/Slides

  • Put only your key points on PowerPoint slides or flip charts. PowerPoint slides and handouts are to be used into your presentation only to enhance and support it – not supplant it.
  • Use a minimum 24-point font on all visuals. To test your slides, print them out on standard paper and drop them to the floor. If you can easily make out the words while standing, the audience probably will be able to read your slides.
  • Remember that you — not PowerPoint — are the presenter. Use your slides to emphasize a point, keep yourself on track, and illustrate a point with a graphic or photo.
  • Keep it simple, clean, and concise. Use consistent wording. One item per line works best, so use key words rather than complete sentences. The optimum display on a slide is 6 to 8 lines and 30-35 words.
  • Present numbers selectively. For processing ease and better recall of information, do not overload the screen with numerical information. A chart or graph showing differences between conditions, ages, etc. is easier for the audience to process than a table full of numbers indicating the same differences.
  • Use only two levels of bullet points.
  • Keep the background simple. Colors should be sharp and in strong contrast without being unsettling.
  • Keep graphs simple. The most effective graphs are pie charts with 3 or 4 slices and column charts with 3 or 4 columns.
  • Double space between each line of text.
  • Text should be bold, sans serif, and a combination of upper- and lower-case letters.

At the Conference

  • Arrive at your assigned room 10 minutes early. This will allow you to check in with the presider/facilitator and coordinate last-minute details. Familiarize yourself with the audio-visual equipment. If there is a problem with the AV equipment, contact NCFR staff.
  • Do not change room set-ups or move to a different room even if you feel it is not satisfactory. If there is a problem, contact Judy Schutz on the NCFR staff. There will be written instructions on the podium that list Judy's cell phone number.
  • Be ready to speak before the session begins. As you begin your presentation, please speak directly into the microphone.
  • Be flexible. When speaking assume that whatever catastrophes can happen will happen, so be flexible in preparing your speech. If catastrophes do happen, (i.e. a fire drill) use a little humor.
  • Be enthusiastic. If you are not passionate about your work, don't expect the audience to be. Tell stories to illustrate your points.
  • Avoid reading your handout or PowerPoint verbatim. Simply refer to them, and rather engage participants in developing the outcomes.
  • Establish eye contact with the audience; vary your presentation styles. Never read your paper. Prepare an outline from which you present your speech. Relax and enjoy yourself as you present your paper, and your audience will respond accordingly.
  • Stay within your allotted time. Stop your presentation on time to be considerate of the other speakers’ times. Seven minutes is about the limit of audience absorption of a topic.

Symposium or Workshop

A symposium is a discussion by experts on a particular topic in which opinions are gathered. The chair leads the discussion and introduces the panelists. A discussant summarizes and integrates the papers as they relate to each other and the topic. He/she also develops implications for policy and practice from the research.

A workshop is a training session in which the speaker leads participants through exercises or skills development in a given field. Workshops should present material that applies theory to practice.

  • Send a copy of your presentation to your session discussant or facilitator by Nov. 6! All presenters must do this! Send your biographical information to the session presider. A reminder notice will be sent to you in October that lists the email addresses of the people to whom you are to send this information.

At the Conference

  • Arrive at your assigned room 10 minutes early. This will allow you to check in with the chair/facilitator and coordinate last-minute details. Familiarize yourself with the audio-visual equipment, if necessary. If there is a problem with the AV equipment, contact NCFR staff.
  • Do not change room set-ups or move to a different room even if you feel it is not satisfactory. If there is a problem, contact Judy Schutz on the NCFR staff. There will be written instructions on the podium that list Judy's cell phone number.

Responsibilities of the Chair/Facilitator:

  • Start the session on time even if people are still arriving.
  • Briefly introduce each panelist and his/her topic.
  • Keep the presentations and discussant comments to the specified time limit (12 minutes each for presentations, and 5 minutes for discussant comments).
  • All panelists must be given an opportunity to speak before discussion between panelists or questions from the audience begin.
  • After all presentations are completed, try to tie the papers together and bring one to two ideas for implementation of the research to practice. Have a couple of questions prepared in advance to evoke discussion of all sides of the issue. Ask for questions from the audience and keep the discussion moving. Give time to everyone who wishes to talk or ask questions. Keep questions and discussions to a specified time limit of 1 minute each and tactfully intervene if a person does not heed this.
  • End the session on time.

Roundtable

Attendees will be at one roundtable for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, the presenter will close their presentation and allow attendees to move to another roundtable for an additional 25 minutes.

  • The roundtable leader begins with a 10-15 minute overview of the topic.
  • Following the overview, the leader(s) will engage all attendees in an interactive discussion.
  • No audio-visual equipment can be used in roundtable sessions.
  • Do not read your handouts verbatim. You may refer to them, but allow the group to engage in the discussion.
  • Bring 10 copies of a double-sided handout. See full instructions for handouts.

Posters

A poster is a graphical, instructional display containing a short abstract, headlines, charts, graphs, pie charts, and other illustrative information. It provides an opportunity for in-depth discussion between presenters and attendees. Posters were scored using the same criteria as and are equal in merit to all other formats.

Poster sessions are 90 minutes in length, except for the Saturday-morning session, which is 45 minutes. No audio-visual equipment can be used in poster sessions.

A winning poster is readable, eye-catching, and attractive, and it communicates information effectively and economically. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money having your poster laminated on a large sheet. Here are some suggestions for preparing your poster attractively, but less expensively.

Content

  • Post a brief abstract (50 words) in the upper left-hand corner. (Use 42-point type.)
  • Select only the most pertinent data to report on the poster.
  • Include title, authors, author affiliations, email or other address, an introduction, a description of the methods used, and findings and conclusions. References and acknowledgements may also be included if there is space. Abstracts are essential and should be highlighted.

Text

  • All text should be legible at a distance of 3 to 4 feet. Use a minimum of 42-point type for the main text. The title type should be at least 1.5 inches high (120-point type, double-spaced and bold).
  • Keep the title as short as possible so others can read it quickly.
  • Use upper- and lower-case type throughout the poster. All upper case type is more difficult to read.
  • Serif fonts (such as Times) are generally easier to read in the body of the text. Sans serif fonts (such as Arial or Calibri) are best used in titles, headings, and captions for emphasis.
  • Print all text using a laser printer.
  • Use bold and/or italics and bullets for emphasis.

Graphics and Illustrations

  • The poster is a visual format. Use graphic elements often.
  • Keep graphics as simple as possible. More complex data can be presented in a handout.
  • Photographs should be enlarged to be discernible at a distance of 3 feet and printed with a matte finish. They are more effective when used sparingly.
  • Do not use hand drawings. Prepare them in advance of arriving.

Layout

  • Heading should contain a brief abstract, title, and author(s).
  • Keep at least a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • The main body of the poster should be between waist and shoulder height of the attendees standing at your poster. The title, authors and author affiliations should be at the top of the poster board.
  • Paragraphs should be no longer than 10-20 lines. Break up longer sections of text with graphics or bulleted lists.
  • Use arrows to guide the reader’s eye from one section to another.
  • Use blank space to avoid a cluttered look, and to separate the elements of your poster.

Color

  • Use color to emphasize elements and draw attention to your poster, but don’t use too many different colors.  Using colored borders can increase the poster’s visual appeal.
  • Text should be printed on a contrasting background (dark text on a light background, or light text on a dark background).
  • Avoid harsh colors, such as neons.

Presentation

  • Poster boards are fabric, 4’ high by 8’ wide, and freestanding. The poster material can be mounted with pushpins, staples, or Velcro (presenters must bring their own materials to mount the poster). Velcro is especially effective for easy mounting.
  • All materials displayed should be self-explanatory; eye catching, and quickly communicate your message to the audience.
  • Arrive 20-30 minutes before the session is scheduled to give you enough time to set up the poster.
  • Set up your poster on the board with the number that corresponds to the number of your presentation in the conference program.
  • Stay at your poster the entire time of the session to give attendees a chance to talk with you about your work. Provide a sign-up sheet if you are willing to send people the full paper.
  • Please keep your poster on display for a minimum of an additional 75 minutes after your presentation. Leave some business cards with handouts so that people may contact you if you are not at your poster.
  • Bring copies of a 1-2 page executive brief handout with you to hand out. It is also a good idea to bring a sufficient number of your business cards to hand out. It can also be helpful to bring a clipboard with you so that attendees can write specific questions that they may wish to have you answer after the conference. Encourage people to leave their business cards with you.

Poster Symposium

poster symposium is an extension/mutation of a poster session. You will prepare your material as a regular poster, and during the last 25 minutes of the time period there will be a discussion time around all the posters grouped in the poster symposium.

The purpose of facilitated poster symposia sessions is to enhance the critical dialogue regarding a topic or project. To do so, we are providing an outline of roles and corresponding tasks. See this link for a template (PDF) to use for handouts.

For Authors of Poster Symposia Sessions

For Facilitators of Poster Symposia Sessions

  • Review the papers in advance of the conference.
  • Develop discussion questions.
  • Create up to five discussion questions.
  • Develop a handout using the facilitated poster symposium handout template.
  • Attend the poster session to get a sense of attendees’ views, and hand out the sheet you have prepared to give to all attendees.
  • While at the poster session, invite conference participants to join you and the authors in a facilitated discussion the last 20 minutes of the session.
  • During the discussion time provide an introduction, outlining what is to come.
  • Introduce authors and the presider/yourself.
  • Before closing the session, leave five minutes for you to recap ideas shared. This will close the session.

Lightning Paper

A lightning paper session is a mutation of a paper session. Each presentation is limited to 8 minutes. You will prepare all slides to use during your 8 minutes. The first slide will be the title slide, and the last slide will list two questions for discussion at the end of the session. 

A head table with a podium and microphone will be located in front of the audience. Arrive early to your presentation to familiarize yourself with the presentation room and equipment.

Information for Facilitators

  • The facilitator:
    • introduces and structures the sequence of individual presentations within the session (if multiple authors are presenting);
    • monitors the time limits closely to ensure that the appropriate number of minutes is reserved for open discussion with the audience; and
    • leads, stimulates, and manages the open discussion with the audience. It may be helpful to have some questions formulated in advance in case discussion doesn’t easily flow.
  • Each presenter is allowed enough PowerPoint slides set to advance automatically for a total presentation time of 8 minutes for each presentation. Each slide deck should include one title slide and a final slide contain two questions for discussion.
  • An opportunity is provided for the audience to respond to the issues and questions raised and to introduce additional questions and comments to the presenters.
  • The open discussion will take place after all speakers have presented their slides.

Technical Preparations for Presenters

Crucial for this format: Your slides must be set to advance automatically so that your presentation ends in 8 minutes (see instructions below). Your oral remarks must coincide with your visual presentation. Practice and time your presentation! 

Instructions for setting PowerPoint slides to advance automatically:

  1. First, set up your desired slide transition effects for your presentation. See this Microsoft support webpage for assistance with transitions in your version of PowerPoint.
  2. Then, in the Transitions tab, find the Timing group of commands (to the right near the top) 
  3. Under Advance Slide, select the After: check box (rather than "On Mouse Click"), and enter 60 seconds in the timing box.
  4. Click Apply to All.

Preparing and Using Visuals/Slides

  • Take advantage of the visual format. Research confirms that material presented visually — in addition to orally presented material — increases comprehension by 80% and retention by 30%. This is particularly true for interactive media sessions. Illustrations or graphics on each slide — as opposed to textual content alone — makes your briefly exposed lightning paper slides easier to comprehend.
  • Use a minimum 24-point font on all visuals. To test your slides, print them out on standard paper and drop them to the floor. If you can easily make out the words while standing, the audience probably will be able to read your slides.
  • Remember that you — not PowerPoint — are the presenter. Use your slides to emphasize a point, keep yourself on track, and illustrate a point with a graphic or photo.
  • Keep it simple, clean, and concise. Use consistent wording. One item per line works best, so use key words rather than complete sentences. The optimum display on a slide is 6 to 8 lines and 30-35 words.
  • Present numbers selectively. For processing ease and better recall of information, do not overload the screen with numerical information. A chart or graph showing differences between conditions, ages, etc. is easier for the audience to process than a table full of numbers indicating the same differences.
  • Use only two levels of bullet points.
  • Keep the background simple. Colors should be sharp and in strong contrast without being unsettling.
  • Keep graphs simple. The most effective graphs are pie charts with 3 or 4 slices and column charts with 3 or 4 columns.
  • Double space between each line of text.
  • Text should be bold, sans serif, and a combination of upper- and lower-case letters.

    A Note About Providing Handouts at Your Session:

    Handouts are recommended, but not required. You can allow your presentation slides to be posted online alongside the information about your session.

    If you bring handouts for paper sessions, symposia, workshops, or poster sessions, bring 40 copies of a double-sided handout. Presenters of roundtables should bring 10 copies. You may use both sides of the paper. This should take the form of an executive summary of your main points. Be sure to include implications or practical ideas for one or two areas of policy, practice, or education. Bring a clipboard with a sign-up sheet for names and email addresses of those who want further information. If you run out of handouts, send copies to those who request them. Suggestion: Bring a set of address labels or business cards for colleagues to "sign up" (saves you time later).