Presentation guidelines

These guidelines are for preparing PowerPoint presentations for SfAM events. They also represent useful principles for any PowerPoint supported presentation.

Length of your talk

  • Refer to the letter you were sent by the Events Organiser or see the event programme
  • Allow 5 minutes for audience questions within your allotted time
  • Keep to time on the day - the Chair will help you


Uploading your presentation

Ideally you should bring your presentation on a memory stick well in advance of your talk and upload it during the tea/coffee or lunch break before you are due to speak.

Your letter from the Events Organiser will contain a time that you are requested to arrive at the venue in order to liaise with the AV technician and run through your slides before your talk, giving plenty of time for any problems to be rectified.


The Events Organiser will tell you which version of Microsoft Office that the venue is running and whether the computer is a PC or a Mac, so please bear these in mind when you prepare your presentation - save in a format that will be compatible with the venue's setup.

Text and fonts:

  • Use a font that is easy for everyone to read (Arial or another sans serif font) and that you know will be visible on all types of computer/versions of PowerPoint. If you are using a Mac to create your presentation this is especially important as not all fonts that are on a Mac can be seen on a PC.
  • Use the same font throughout the presentation.
  • Headings should be larger than the rest of the text on the slide – maybe 36 point for headings.
  • The body text should be around 24 point for everyone to easily read it.
  • Ideally don’t use too many capitals or italics.
  • Please use a dark font on a light background, or a white font on a very dark background, as that is easier for delegates to read.
  • Remember that your slides should be an aid to the presentation and not contain every word of the presentation. List the key points only.
  • Most people can’t concentrate for longer than 15-20 minutes so try to avoid too many slides and too many words, and break up the content somehow in the middle.
  • Ideally there should be only 5 bullet points per slide.
  • Avoid abbreviations that may be un-familiar to many.


Images and other graphics:

  • Images are a great way of breaking up the text, and should be high quality images or illustrations. You must ensure you have permission to use them.
  • Graphs and charts are a great way of presenting data but the font needs to be large enough for delegates to see.
  • If you are preparing your presentation on a Mac please insert pictures only as JPG files (TIF, PNG or PICT files won’t be visible on PowerPoint on a PC).


Video and audio:

  • Embedding a video into your presentation can be very worthwhile, but only if it works properly.
  • The Events Organiser will make you aware of the version of Microsoft Office that the venue is running on their computers, so you can ensure your video will display correctly.
  • Most venues do have a sound system and you will be made aware if it is not possible to play audio.



Sections of the presentation could be:

  •  Title
  •  Introduction
  •  Overview (what you are going to talk about)
  •  Main content
  •  Conclusion (summarise the important points)
  •  References and acknowledgements


If you have any questions please feel free to contact:
Sally Hawkes
Events Organiser
Tel: +44 (0)1933 382 191