ACT - Academy for Creative Teaching

WACRA® - The World Association for
Case Method Research & Application

Guidelines for Presenters

Congratulations to the acceptance of your paper and thank you for registering for the ACT-WACRA® conference. We and the colleagues who participated in the blind peer review process of all papers submitted, are excited about the up-coming conference and the excellent selection of high quality papers which are going to be presented.

But there is more to a successful meeting than good papers - the presentation of these papers. Your performance as a presenter at the conference is critical to its success. To help you prepare a presentation that matches the quality of your paper, we are offering the following set of guidelines.

  1. You Owe Your Audience a Good Presentation
    Acceptance to an ACT-WACRA® conference program is recognition of the value of your research/scholarship activity, but it has a price. The work you have done already in conducting your research and preparing your paper is a major part of it. The task is not done, however, until you have presented your work and your ideas. You should take the same care in preparing your presentation as you did in preparing your paper. You owe it to yourself and to your audience at the ACT-WACRA® conference.
  2. Start Preparing Early
    Preparing a good presentation takes time. Don't wait until the last few days before the conference. Instead, prepare your presentation a few weeks ahead of time, then set it aside and come back to it. What seemed like a clear, logical presentation the first time around may look quite different after you gave it a rest.
  3. Your Presentation Must Be Summarized
    During a regular session at the conference you will have about 20 minutes to make your presentation. Of the allotted 30 minutes, some time is used for introducing you and questions and answers at the end of your presentation.

    This is not nearly enough time to go into all the details of your work. You must summarize in order to have time to communicate to your audience the most important points of your paper.

  4. Prioritize Topics and Allocate Your Time Accordingly
    Decide which topics of your presentation are most important and allocate the limited time you have accordingly. Keep your audience in mind when your are prioritizing topics. Ask yourself what the audience is most interested in and what the audience already knows. You can assume some degree of audience familiarity with your topic/problem setting and/or the literature relating to it. Don't waste time telling the audience what it already knows. Divide your topic into equally-weighted main points (typically 2 to 5 for most presentations). For example:
    Time - "The Four Stages of Truman Capote's Career."
    Sequence - "The Three Steps of Learning How to Juggle."
    Spatial - "The Location, Exterior, and Interior of ‘Beaver'Stadium"
    Prepare a distinctive Introduction, Body and Conclusion for your presentation. Develop the Body first, so that the Introduction and Conclusion fit appropriately.
    Introduction: Gain the attention of the audience with your opening statement.
    Body: Deliver your main points enthusiastically and spontaneously.
    Conclusion: Summarize your main points and conclude on a high note.
  5. Your Insights and Your Conclusions Are Critical
    You have had much more time than your audience in analyzing, interpreting and understanding your topic/problem. Share your insights, your understanding and your conclusions. Don't just present data or summarized results without proffering your conclusions and interpretations.
  6. Support Your Presentation with Appropriate Visual Aids
    Many presenters use overhead transparencies (slides, flip charts, handouts, videos). This is a good way to help reinforce and clarify a verbal presentation. To use transparencies effectively, they must be well designed and used properly. Here are a few tips:

    Use high-quality fonts (produced by a laser printer) at least 1/4 inches high. Avoid hand-written and low resolution dot-matrix print.

    Limit the number of transparencies. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 1-2 minutes per transparency. If you go beyond 15 slides, you are likely to lose your audience.

    Don't overload the transparencies with information. Limit each transparency to 3-5 points.

    A picture (a good one!) Is worth a thousand words. A well-designed diagram or chart can often make your point more quickly and more effectively than words.

    Avoid visual clutter - don't over-use fancy graphics which might distract your audience and diminish the impact of the transparency.

    Have a good reason for showing each transparency. If you are properly prepared, your transparencies should give you the cues you need to keep your presentation on track (without memorization or without reading it).

  7. Practice Your Presentation
    The time you have for your presentation is limited, and if you don't practice, you are likely to have difficulty fitting everything you want to say. Practice also gives you a chance to try out your transparencies. Are there too many? Do they fit logically?

    In a lecture hall, place your transparencies on an overhead projector and find out ‘what the audience sees' by physically moving to the back of the room.

  8. One way to practice is to set up a "dry-run" session before a group of colleagues 2-3 weeks before the conference. This approach can provide valuable feedback in time to make changes and adjustments before the conference.

    Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid colloquialisms. This is good advice for any presentation, it is critical for international conferences where for many in the audience your mother tongue is a foreign language. Remember, one of the main themes of ACT-WACRA® conferences is "Interactive Teaching and Learning."

    While presenting, speak from your outline (do not use your manuscript) so that your wording will be spontaneous. Flip charts, transparencies, etc., which represent your outline, work better than notes, since they allow you to move freely without being tied to your notes (which should never be held). Speak to your audience, keep eye contact. Engage your audience, to the extent possible, in your presentation. Do not read to your audience. Reading your paper to your audience is not only boring, but a waste of valuable time.

We trust that you will find these guidelines helpful in preparing a high quality, professional presentation.