Tips for Visual Presentations

Poster Should Be Readable from 5 Feet Away

The message should be clear and understandable without oral explanation.

An Effective Slide Has a Single, Readily Identifiable Principle Concept

Focus on a few key points. Try different styles of presentation. Do an initial sketch, then do a rough layout to get a good idea of proportions and balance. At the final layout stage, ask a friend if the message is clear and if the important points stand out.

Avoid Projecting Slides That Have Only Text

Slides that contain more than a few words per line cannot be read by the audience. Keep slides simple, with plenty of open space.

Make Sure That Slides are Readable

If you can read the information on the slide when it is held at arm's length against a bright background, it should be readable to the audience.

Do Not Present More Than 10 Slides in a 10 Minutes Presentation

The verbal text and the slide material should support each other. Give the audience a moment to become orientated with each slide before continuing.

Check All Technology

Make certain that whatever technology you may need for your presentation will be available - projectors, computers, whatever you need. Be sure you know how to use it, and that you are familiar with that particular setup for the room you are in. If possible, test everything in advance. Leave enough time for setup on the day of your presentation.



Further Information

Two excellent sources on assembling science posters and other visuals are:

  • Envisioning Information, Edward R. Tufte. qQA90.T914 1990 (In the Science Library)
  • Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward R. Tufte q HA31 .T84 (in Science Library and Clapp Library)


Conference Schedule and Locations


The 2015 Ruhlman Conference will be held on Wednesday, April 29, from 9:30 AM to 5:40 PM. Presentations will be held in Pendleton Hall, Jewett Art Center, Science Center, Founders Hall, and the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre. The conference schedule includes five 70-minute blocks, separated by 20 minute breaks and a campus-wide lunch from 12:10 - 1:30. Please check to see when you are scheduled to present by viewing the list of presenters.


Approximately one week before the conference, copies of the conference program (the schedule and abstracts for all presentations) will be delivered to the campus center and will be available near the mailboxes.