Recommendations for talks

Recommendations for talk presentations

Please keep in mind that your presentation should not exceed the predefined duration that will be later communicated.

Acceptable formats for Presentations:
MS Windows: Microsoft PowerPoint, Acrobat PDF.   
Macintosh: Microsoft PowerPoint, Acrobat PDF.

  • Graphics must be well designed, simple, and legible to everyone in the audience.
  • Use as few graphics as possible for the time allotted. As a general rule, use one graphic for each 1 or 2 minutes of presentation time.
  • It is helpful to step 8-10 feet back from your computer screen and make sure your slides are legible. Avoid using small fonts that will be illegible from the back of the room, and break up a complex slide into a series of slides.
  • Devote each graphic to a single fact, idea, or finding. Illustrate major points or trends, not detailed data.
  • Avoid long or complicated formulas or equations. Each graphic should remain on the screen for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use the minimum number of words possible in titles, subtitles, and captions. Standard abbreviations are acceptable.
  • Use bold characters instead of fancy fonts.
  • Table preparation: Use not more than three or four vertical columns or more than six or eight horizontal rows. Information is hard to read with more columns or rows. Avoid vertical or horizontal rules as they distract the eye and clutter up the tables. Whenever possible, present data using bar charts or graphs instead of tables.
  • Graph preparation: Avoid to show more than two curves per diagram; a maximum of three or four curves may be shown, but only if well separated. Label each curve; Avoid symbols and legends. Avoid data points unless scatter is important.
  • Colored graphs are very effective. Color adds attractiveness, interest, and clarity to slides and viewgraph illustrations and should be used whenever possible. Contrasting color schemes are easier to see.
  • Examine every graphic and test it's legibility under adverse light conditions before presenting it at a meeting. Often, it is not possible to provide excellent lighting conditions at meetings.
  • An introductory and a concluding graphics can greatly improve the focus of your talk.
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