Presenter Tips for Engaging with All Audiences

Planning Your Presentation

  • On each slide, balance text and images.
  • Keep text at least 36-point font size.
  • Always have high contrast between colors (e.g. background and text).
  • Avoid "busy" slide backgrounds.
  • For maps, charts, and graph labels use 20-point or larger font. Include the description of the image, chart, or graph.
  • If your presentation includes a video, it should be captioned. 

When Presenting

  • Speakers/presenters should always use the microphone. Never assume that everyone can hear you even when projecting. 
  • Engage your audience and do not ask/expect them to read the slide. 
  • Briefly describe any slide images for those that may be seated in the back or who may have low vision or be blind.
  • The session organizer or moderator will inform you if there will be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for your session. Be mindful of working effectively with interpreters. 
  • ESA will ensure accessible seating (e.g. space) closer to the front of the presentation space. 

For Poster Presentations

Heading: A full title and name(s) of author(s) should be given at the top of your display. These should be the same as that printed in the program, and the font size for these should be legible from 3-6 feet (1-2 meters).

Legibility and Visual Impact: Viewers will usually stand 3-6 feet (1-2 meters) from your display. Text, captions and figure legends should be at least 18-point, but 24-point is better. Graphs and tabular data should be at least 24-point. Use a font that is easy to read, such as Arial. Very selective highlighting of your major points in high contrasting colors or bold print can improve your presentation. Please avoid using red and green hues on the same figure, because 8% of men and 0.4% of women have some red/green impairment. 

Simplicity: To encourage viewers to read your poster, make your display easy for the viewer to understand. Avoid excessive detail in the text or complex graphs and tables with excessive numbers. An effective display is a series of brief statements and supporting illustrations that tell a story. The flow of your story should be clearly indicated with distinct columns, letters, numbers, or arrows. Remember, posters are not manuscripts. Limit text to the essentials. If detailed explanation is required, prepare a handout of this information and have copies available in an envelope attached to the bottom of the poster board. Also, the poster should be self-explanatory. Viewers must be able to follow and understand your display when you are not present.