2021 Best Practices for Presenters

2021 Evergreen Conference
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Program Descriptions
Best Practices for Presenters
Platform Accessibility
Code of Conduct
Event Photography Policy

Tips and Best Practices for Professional Virtual Presentations


Using Hopin

  • Usually up to five people may be presenting in a session at once.  Some sessions may vary in size and allow more.
  • A screen being shared counts as a person for the limit of people participating.
  • You may request to join the presentation group by using the Request button.  That will alert moderators in the session.
  • Sessions will be moderated by volunteers who can add a person to the presentation group and will do so as a scheduled event begins.
  • Moderators can also add audience members to the presentation group for discussions but to avoid confusion with having to leave presentation mode moderators should usually read questions to presenters if they need help.
  • Presenters should turn off their camera if not in use to save on bandwidth and CPU.  Those on low power devices will thank you.
  • When you are done participating, use the Stop Participating button.


Quick Tips1

  • If you choose to turn your camera on, make sure your background is not distracting (roommates, posters, pets).
  • Reduce glare from lights and windows.
  • Use headphones, preferably a headset with a mic, to cut out background noise.
  • Consider using an extra monitor to view your audience and presentation on different screens.
  • Have a physical clock to help keep track of time, since your computer clock may be hidden when in presentation mode.
  • Consider standing up if it is more natural for you to present like this, though avoid bouncing around as it can become distracting.
  • Focus on the intonation of your voice rather than hand gestures.


Accessibility Considerations2

  • Presenters should strive for presentations that are visually accessible to attendees in an online environment. See “Formatting the Presentation” below, as well as pages from the Digital Library Foundation3 and Code4Lib4.
  • For supplemental materials, when possible, do not use PDF. Make materials available in their original format (Word, txt, Excel, etc.) to ensure their accessibility.
  • Share your slides – note that it’s easier to make your original presentation slides accessible than it is to produce an accessible PDF of your slides.
  • Be inclusive in your presentation:
    • If your presentation is interactive, tell the audience at the start what you will be doing (“I will ask you to write down some thoughts multiple times during the presentation, so please get a pen and paper now,” or “I’ll give you 1 minute to fill out this poll”), and actually give them enough time to complete the work.
    • Please speak slowly and clearly, like a newscaster, to make it easier for the captioner (and audience) to understand you.
    • If you are answering questions from the chat, read the question out loud and credit the person asking it (unless you are taking anonymous questions).
    • If you are using acronyms or jargon, please state the full name, followed by the acronym spelling (for example, “American Broadcasting Company, ABC”) or definition the first time you reference it. Describe images to the audience as you present, and give a brief description of a video before you play it if it has no captions.
    • Instead of asking your audience to read a slide, read it aloud to them instead (the audience may have a very small screen, or may not be able to see the slides).
    • Read aloud any URLs to the audience. Use a URL shortener like tinyurl or bit.ly to make it easier.
  • If possible, please email the Conference Committee by Friday, May 21st at evergreen-conference@list.evergreen-ils.org with any jargon, acronyms, or technical terms that you intend to use in your presentation. The Committee will be sharing these terms with the captioning team.


Formatting the Presentation5

It’s important that your presentation is easy to read and easy to follow. Keep these tips in mind when you design the background and format of your slides:

  • Use a simple, solid colored background throughout the presentation
  • Make sure that the font color contrasts with the background
  • Limit how many colors you use
  • Use a standard text like Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri
  • Capitalize words and phrases only for emphasis
  • Include keywords on your slides
  • Stay away from long, informational sentences


Engage your Audience6

If it’s live, open your presentation with a question or poll to interact with the audience.

  • Find your voice: Use an energetic, active voice to grab and maintain attention
    • Avoid using filler words such as “like” and “um”
    • Use an accessory microphone for clearer sound
  • Consider your body language: 
    • Set a neutral position; sit up straight with feet shoulder width apart and weight evenly distributed
    • Use hand gestures to highlight your words 
    • Maintain eye contact to convey sincerity, place a sticky note near the camera as a reminder
  • During interactive elements, tell the audience at the start what you will be doing (“I will ask you to write down some thoughts multiple times during the presentation, so please get a pen and paper now,” or “I’ll give you 1 minute to fill out this poll”), and actually give them enough time to complete the work7


Evergreen Event Code of Conduct

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Evergreen Event Code of Conduct and Evergreen Event Photography/Audio/Video Policy prior to the event.

1 Adapted from: https://mitcommlab.mit.edu/nse/commkit/virtual-presentations/
2 Adapted from https://2021.code4lib.org/general-info/accessibility#presenters
3 https://wiki.diglib.org/Creating_Accessible_and_Interactive_Online_Presentations
4 https://2021.code4lib.org/general-info/accessibility#presenters
5 https://humtech.ucla.edu/bestpractice/your-next-academic-presentation-a-success/
6 Adapted from https://www.unmc.edu/facdev/_documents/presenter-forms/Virtual_Presentation_Tips.pdf
7 https://2021.code4lib.org/general-info/accessibility#presenters