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Visual Design of Your Oral Presentation

Here are some best practices:

  • Less is more (use less text on each screen and more pictures).
  • Make slides consistent in type style, size, and spacing.
  • Limit each slide to no more than 40–45 words.
    • Use type size that will be readable from the back of the room.
    • No text should be smaller than 30-point.
    • Headings should be 45-50 points.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists (as appropriate).
    • Use parallel content and grammatical form.
    • Limit the number of bulleted/numbered items to 5-6 per slide
  • Use graphs/charts rather than tables for data trends (no more than 1-2 per slide)
  • Ensure sharp contrast between text and background (so text is readable)
    • Dark print on light & white text on dark
  • Expect to average 1 slide per 1 minute of your presentation

On the Day of Your Presentation

  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the start of your session.
  • Each room will be staffed by a time keeper and a moderator. The time keeper will be inside the room at the door, and the moderator will be at the front of the room by the podium.
  • When you arrive, check in with the time keeper and the moderator. The time keeper will confirm the amount of time you have for your presentation.
  • The moderator or time keeper will help you load your media onto the computer, if necessary, and answer questions you may have about your session.
  • At the beginning of your session, the moderator will ask you (and the other presenters) to introduce yourself; please state your class year, major, and school.
  • When it is time for your presentation, the session moderator will introduce the title of your presentation.
  • When you are giving your presentation, be aware of the time keeper at the back of the room. This person will keep you apprised of how much time you have to finish your presentation.
    • With five minutes left, the timer will hold up a card with a green square.
    • With two minutes left, the timer will hold up a card with a yellow square. At this point, please begin to conclude your presentation.
    • A red stop sign will be held up when it is time to stop.
  • To ensure that each speaker has the allotted time to present and to allow for Q&A at the end of the session, please respect the time limits.
  • Plan to remain seated at the front of the room for the duration of your session so you can participate in the Q&A that typically follows the presentations, for the last 6 minutes of the session.