2020 Presenter Instructions

The following are instructions to help you prepare for and conduct a successful virtual session. These instructions provide overall instructions for every presenter, instructions for specific presentation types, and additional resources to help perfect your presentation. Note that the instructions provided will allow your materials to be ADA compliant.

Specific Session Type Instructions
Things Every Presenter Needs to Know
Instructions for Preparing Presentations In Advance
PowerPoint Instructions
Recording Your Session
Resources For a Successful Virtual Presentation
Submit Presentation Files

General 2020 Presenter Instructions (PDF)


Things Every Presenter Needs to Know

  1. All presenters, chairs, discussants, facilitators, and moderators. must be registered for the conference. Please register, if you have not done so already. Everyone participating in sessions must register before Oct. 23, 2020.
  2. Whether recording or presenting live, control your environment. You will want to have an environment free of noise and distractions. This includes anything that may interrupt your computer audio. We suggest closing out extra tabs, apps, and software programs not needed during the presentation as well as silencing notifications to avoid disruptions during your presentation.
  3. Using a wired headset during your presentation can create a higher-quality presentation and overall conference experience by eliminating extra audio noises. High-quality microphones can also help create more professional presentations.
  4. We recommend using an ethernet cable to connect to the internet rather than Wi-Fi to decrease internet difficulties during your presentation. Wi-Fi can be spotty at times. If you must use Wi-Fi, ensure you have a strong signal to ensure your connection remains stable.
  5. Place lighting at the side or in front of the computer rather than from behind. You will want as much light as possible so that you may be visible without “washing out” your image. Avoid direct sunlight in your shot. It is oftentimes too bright and not controllable.  
  6. Adjust your camera so that you have the proper body positioning. The camera should be level with your eyes. Look at the camera during your presentation to create eye contact with the attendees.
  7. Choose a neutral background and solid colors for clothing rather than plaids, stripes, or patterns. Keep the attire simple and professional.
  8. Your presentation should be on full-screen mode. We recommend printing your notes prior to the presentation to allow for the full-screen mode.
  9. Arrive to your session 15 minutes early to prepare for your presentation and check in with the facilitator.
  10. You can access your session by logging into the conference platform and navigating to your session in the agenda.
  11. Practice, Practice, Practice before you record or present live. Speak clearly and at a natural pace.
  12. Start your presentation off by introducing yourself if you have not been previously introduced.
  13. Refrain from reading your notes. This will increase audience engagement.
  14. The conference software integrates with Zoom for conference sessions. Be familiar with Zoom features prior to your presentation. Check for more details below under your specific session type.
  15. Presenters will be given access to share their own screen while presenting. Be prepared by knowing how to share your screen and how to stop screen sharing. Facilitators can introduce presenters during the transition from one presenter to the next.
  16. After opening your presentation, start the slide show in presenter mode either by pressing F5 or via the Slide Show tab in the menu.
  17. Most sessions have facilitators or moderators to facilitate questions during the question and answer portion of the session. However, presenters may choose to answer any questions in the chat area when they aren’t presenting. We recommend that you discuss with your facilitator or moderator how this will be handled prior to the session beginning.

Instructions for Preparing Presentations In Advance

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 give your presentation. 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 presentation are the first two minutes and the final minute. 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. Various session types have different time limits. See the session type descriptions to know your time limit. Sessions are on a tight schedule and there are others presenting in your session. You must adhere to the time limit specified by your session facilitator. As a rule of thumb, six pages of typed, double-spaced pages with one-inch margins equals 12 minutes of presentation time.

Practice your presentation in front of a small group of supportive colleagues to ensure an effective performance.


PowerPoint Instructions

  • 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.
  • Font sizes should be at least 24-point for the body, 28-point for headers, and 32-point for titles.
  • Text should be bold, sans serif like Calibri, Helvetica, or Arial, and a combination of upper- and lower-case letters for easier reading. Type in all caps should be avoided.
  • 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 no more than 6 to 8 lines and 30 words per slide. Avoid having too many words on one slide or in one bullet. The text is meant to supplement your presentation. Emphasize key points.
  • Use only two levels of bullet points.
  • Double space between each line of text to allow for easier reading by all.
  • 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.
  • Keep graphs simple. The most effective graphs are pie charts with 3 or 4 slices and column charts with 3 or 4 columns. Ensure your tables, graphs, etc. are large enough so that people can view them on their screens. Be sure to describe all tables, graphs, etc. so that the visuals are more easily understood by all.
  • Avoid statements like, “as you can see….” or “do you hear what I’m saying” to ensure inclusivity.
  • Be aware of problematic idioms or expressions with racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive origins (such as grandfathered, “man up”, or peanut gallery), and phrases that use cultural appropriation (such as guru, ninja, or spirit animal).
  • Keep the background simple. Colors should be sharp and in strong contrast without being unsettling. Limit the number of colors used on one slide. Do not only use color to distinguish information. Varying font size is helpful too.
  • You are not required to use PowerPoint. Use any presentation software with which you are comfortable (e.g., Prezi) and follow these same guidelines. Whichever software you use, you must have it downloaded on your own computer to use yourself.
  • When advancing slides, pause for 10 seconds to let people read it before saying anything. Then read the text aloud ensure people who are unable to see the text know what is on the slide.
  • If you use animations, set the speed of the animations to be slow so they can be described fully.
  • Send your material in advance, if possible, in the event that NCFR staff needs to provide alternative text (tagged PDF or braille).


Recording Your Session

We encourage you to practice your session several times before recording, including practicing advancing your slides and using the technology relevant to your session. This will allow you to provide a relaxed and engaging presentation. The following are helpful hints to have a high-quality recording.

  • Submit a high-quality video of your presentation to NCFR by Oct. 23, 2020. Submit your presentation files here.
  • Recording your presentation: There are multiple software you can use to record your presentation. It is your choice to decide which recording software to use. Here are a couple of examples.
  • Recording requirements: The following is a list of requirements to follow when recording your presentation.
    • The videos should be in a MP4 format
    • Ideally the video should be HD quality (1280 x 720 or other "720p" setting)
  • Lighting: Ensure your lighting comes from in front of you or on your side.
  • Position your body so that that your body is neither too close nor too far away. Your eyes should be directly in line with the camera.
  • Record both video and the audio. Position your microphone and camera approximately 6-12 inches away for optimal recording.
  • Presentations are time limited. See your specific session type below for how much time you have to present. Please stay within your time limit. You will be asked to re-record if the presentation is longer than the limit.


Recording With Co-Presenters

  • 12 Zoom Meeting Tips Every Host Should Know: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHLHlelduz8&feature=youtu.be  
  • Record all recorded sessions as one session, if possible. The facilitator of each recorded session will contact presenters to determine a date to record the presentations. Let NCFR staff know if the presentations are unable to be recorded together and staff will help to combine into one recorded session.
  • Practice with the entire group before recording, including your introductions, transitions between presenters, the full presentations, discussion, answering questions, and use of technology.
  • Decide whether the PowerPoints will be all in one file with someone advancing the screen or whether each person will share their screen.
  • It will take time to transition between presenters and sharing screens. This is a great time to introduce the next presenter.
  • See additional instructions below under Session Facilitator, Moderator, and Chair Instructions.

Resources For a Successful Virtual Presentation

Zoom Resources

TED Masterclass



NCFR will be recording all presentations, including PowerPoints, handouts, and any other materials. NCFR will store all recordings, including those provided to NCFR for presentation, so that others may continue to view the materials. Full credit is provided to the presenters.


Download a printable version of these instructions