Helpful Presenter's Guidelines
This guide has been designed to help you prepare for your presentation. Below are some guidelines, tips and advice to follow in preparation for a successful presentation at the 2018 SME Annual Conference & Expo and 91st Annual Meeting of the SME-MN Section. You can also download a copy of these presentation guidelines.
Download the Presenter's Guidelines and PowerPoint® template.
Tailor Your Presentation to the Audience
For example, you would not use the same style when presenting to a group of elementary students and to a board of trustees. Don’t talk down to your listeners. Try to empathize with the audience’s areas of interest and their specific concerns whenever possible.
- Prepare your slides/PowerPoint® – Uncomplicated slides, simply drawn with heavy lines and large letters are a welcome sight. Swatches of color for contrast are easy on the eye.
- A dark background (blue, green or purple) with a light type face (white or yellow) may offer the greatest contrast and visibility under a variety of lighting conditions. The key is to test your slide format before going too far to make sure it projects well under a variety of conditions.
- Make sure your slides are readable from the back of the room. Don’t make your font size too small or fine, and limit the amount of information on a single slide.
- Overuse of glitzy transitions, multiple typefaces, and large or inappropriate graphics is distracting and dilutes your message. Less is more! Use special effects sparingly.
- Consistency makes your presentation more professional. Keep like items in the same place on each slide (i.e. title, subtitle, bullet points, graphics, etc.). Use the same transitions and animations throughout. Copying a slide and then editing it makes it easy to be consistent.
- Follow the 6 x 6 rule: no more than 6 bullets per page and no more than 6 words per bullet. Do not use paragraphs of text and do not read your presentation.
- Crop photos to eliminate unnecessary backgrounds. Make sure your photos and graphics are big enough to be seen and well placed on the slide.
- Do not add pictures just for the sake of adding something. Be sure the image enhances the point you are trying to make.
- If you use sound clips, do not over do it! Sounds can be very distracting! If you use sound, make sure it is appropriate for the topic.
- Be prepared to work without sound. Not all computers have sound cards and speakers.
- Save your presentation as a PowerPoint® Show. This will enable you to run your slide show on a computer that doesn’t have the specific software (PowerPoint® application) installed on it.
- Load your show onto the computer’s hard drive to run it. It will run faster, and your slide transitions will be smoother than if you run it from your CD or thumb drive.
- Be sure to test it in advance! Something almost always goes wrong.
- Print a copy of your slides (or speaker’s notes) to take with you to the presentation. This can be a back up in the event of technical difficulties and it will make it easier to locate a specific slide, in case you have to refer back to it during Q & A time.
- A well-prepared and enthusiastic presentation will help you convince the audience that you are an expert on the topic and maintain their attention.
- Proof your presentation and practice presenting.
Suggestions for Oral Presentations
- Make sure the people in the last row can hear you, ask them before you begin. The microphone is your instrument of communication. Use it.
- Don’t read your paper! Your listeners can do that at home. A talk is not a paper. The success of your presentation will depend to a great extent on how well you recognize this. The reader can go back over a point he has missed – the listener cannot. The listener must be introduced to the subject and brought along, step by step.
- Rehearse your talk. Time your talk in rehearsal and regulate the modulation in your voice. For novices, it will help to memorize your introductory remarks. This will enable you to familiarize yourself with the audience and surroundings.
Specifics for SME Speakers
- SME does not collect presentations. Please bring it with you to the conference on a flash drive.
- Unless otherwise notified, each presentation is 20 minutes long.
- A template is provided on the website for your convenience. It is not mandatory to use it.
Audio/Videotaping, Digital Recording and Photography
- Because all presentations and associated materials are the speaker’s intellectual property, please obtain the speaker’s permission before recording their session or activity in any medium. Recording for commercial purposes is allowed only with prior permission from both SME and the speaker. SME reserves the right to ask any attendee to move within or to leave a session venue if their use of technology is disruptive to speakers or other attendees.
- PLEASE NOTE: By registering for the conference, participants agree that images, audio, and video recorded on-site may be used for educational and promotional purposes by SME.