Speaker Tips

BUILDEX Edmonton’s Conference Program includes a dynamic mix of speakers, panel discussions and presentations. Below are tips that speakers, moderators and presenters may find useful in preparing for the Conference.

TIPS FOR SPEAKERS

The following few speaker tips have been created as a reference to help you feel comfortable with public speaking and to assist you in preparing for and delivering an effective and engaging presentation.

  • As a speaker you are registered automatically for the entire conference and may attend any session.
  • Each room will be equipped with a LCD projector, table, microphones and computer operators.
  • Upon arrival at the registration desk – your name badge will be waiting for you. Please ask for this and request to meet with the conference coordinator that you have been working with by name.
  • If you plan to attend your session only, we strongly recommend that you arrive onsite no later than 30 minutes to your session.

SPEAKING

  • Talk at a natural, moderate rate of speech; pause between thoughts to allow the audience to think about the information you are sharing with them.
  • Project your voice and speak into the microphone to be heard, do not touch the microphone head during your presentation.
  • Engage the audience by making eye contact. Make direct eye contact with a number of people in the audience, glance at the entire audience or to the back of the room while speaking.
  • In a large room, speaking to the back of the room will help project your voice when you speak.
  • Lift your head away from the podium and your notes.
  • Repeat critical information.
  • Always leave time for a few questions at the end of the presentation.

MATERIAL DISTRIBUTION

Should you choose to distribute handouts and should you require assistance in distributing this material, advise the conference organizer or coordinator in advance of the Conference.

  • Educational information is acceptable.
  • Corporate marketing material is not.

TIPS FOR MODERATORS

The role of the panel moderator is important to the success of the panel presentation.

The following moderator tips have been created as a reference to help you feel comfortable with public speaking and leading a panel, and to assist you in preparing for an effective and engaging panel presentation.

Ensure that the panel is organized and well-prepared in advance of the conference. We will assist you in this regard by arranging a conference call that will enable you and your co-panelists co-ordinate and discuss the panel session. As an alternative to a conference call, we can provide a speakers list containing the information to enable you to contact your co-panelists directly.

Details of your topic for discussion can be found in the Planning Guide or under the Education menu.

PANEL PRESENTATION FORMAT

There are two different ways to organize a panel; one is more presentation-oriented, the other more discussion-focused. The conference organizer may inform you in advance of which panel format we wish you to take.

With a presentation-oriented panel each panelist is given about 10-15 minutes for their own individual presentation, followed by a discussion amongst the panelists led by the moderator, and, finally, questions from the audience.

Alternatively, in a discussion-focused panel, the moderator would lead off the discussion by putting questions directly to each of the panelists. In this case, the questions would be pre-determined and provided to the panelists in advance so they have the opportunity to think about the questions and their answers.

It is essential for panelists to be aware of exactly how much time each has to present. It is challenging to squeeze a full presentation into 10 minutes, so as Moderator you need to choose carefully the points you want the panelists to cover and communicate this with them.

On the day of the conference, you will act as the time guardian, ensuring that all panelists have an equal amount of time to speak.

When each panelist finishes his/her presentation, you should initiate applause.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

  • Manage the time effectively to take as many questions as possible.
  • Be aware of the level of experience and expertise of the audience.
  • At the conclusion of the panelist presentations, if questions are not immediately forthcoming from the audience, break the ice by putting the first question to one of the speakers.
  • We also encourage you to contribute additional comments or analysis throughout the panel discussion. This will serve to tie the various presentations together as well as offering delegates further information and insights.
  • If a question period with the audience is possible, then repeat the question aloud to the room when it’s asked.
  • To stop the rambling questioner, answer the question and then let the questioner know that you will be available for further discussion after the conference.

TIPS FOR USING POWERPOINT

FONTS

  • Select fonts such as Arial or Helvetica.
  • Avoid fonts such as Times New Roman or Palatino as they are difficult to read on a slide.
  • Keep your variety of fonts to a minimum as it becomes distracting if there are too many different fonts used.
  • Font sizes must be large enough to be easily read from all angles of a room. We recommend that titles be 40pt. and bullet points be a minimum of 18 pt.
  • For bullet points, use the 6×6 rule; no more than 6 words per line and no more than 6 lines per slide.
  • Communicate a single idea with each bullet point.
  • Upper and lower case should be used throughout with the exception of titles in which case ALL CAPS can be used.
  • To test the font, stand back six feet from the monitor and see if you can read the slide.

BACKGROUND

  • Keep the background consistent and subtle. Backgrounds should never distract from the presentation.
  • Using the default white background is hard on the viewer’s eyes. A dark background with white or yellow font reduces glare.
  • Colors appear lighter when projected. Pale colors often appear as white.
  • Some vibrant colours are difficult to read when projected. Don’t use fluorescent green, orange or yellow.
  • Check all colours on a projection screen before the actual presentation. They may project differently than what appears on the computer monitor.
  • Keep the design clean. Leave empty space around the text and graphics.

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

  • The PowerPoint program will delete portions of charts and worksheets that are imported from Excel, keeping only the leftmost 5.5 inches. Save your file, close it and open it anew to ensure all your data is there.
  • Limit the number of graphics on each slide.
  • Avoid flashy graphics and noisy animation effects unless they relate directly to the slide.
  • If you choose to add animation, keep in mind that rental equipment is equipped with standard software only. For example, if you need to use Swiftplayer, you will need to send the software with your presentation and inform the conference coordinator.
  • Use only enough text to explain your chart or graphic
  • Clearly label graphic slides.

EMBEDDED VIDEOS

When embedding videos into your presentation, please ensure you are not relying on wifi or internet to run your video. Seminar rooms are not equipped with internet or wifi capabilities.

NUMBERS

  • Round up your numbers (e.g. don’t say $660,101.83; say $660 thousand).
  • If you have more than 12-15 numbers on a slide, that’s probably too many.

TIMING

  • Practice your presentation and be comfortable with the content.
  • If participating as a panel member, remember that each panelist has roughly between 10 to 15 minutes to speak, although these specifics will be determined by the moderator.
  • During your speaking time, if you need to shorten your presentation, it’s important to carry on with confidence. Look at your key points and know which two or three to cut on short notice and pick-up your pace without rushing. Know your PowerPoint well enough that you can skip to certain slides, eliminating others without your audience knowing.

AT THE CONFERENCE

A remote control will be supplied to you onsite by an audio visual technician. This will enable you to change slides according to your needs. If you wish to do a dry run of your PowerPoint presentation onsite, please ensure to meet your room technician and keep in mind that there may be other sessions prior to or after your session.