Guidelines for #PAA2017 Presenters


2017 Annual Meeting, Population Association of America
Chicago, IL ● April 27 – 29, 2017

Thank you for presenting at #PAA2017! Presenters share their knowledge and expertise through the nearly 900 presentations on the program. Presenters need to prepare in advance and deliver content articulately and concisely. Please note that the guidelines below have intentionally been left broad so that they apply to all session types with the exception of posters sessions.

We are asking all session chairs to connect with the presenters in their sessions, as a group via email, before the conference. Pre-conference, as a presenter, you should:

  • Send your paper to the session chair, discussant(s) and other presenters well in advance of your session: Most sessions this year will have one discussant for four papers. It is imperative that the discussant(s) receive your paper by April 7, 2017, so that the discussant has time to read and think about all the papers. Be sure to send your paper to the session chair and other presenters when you send it to the discussant(s); this will enhance the exchange of new ideas and the building networks that is integral to the success of the PAA.
  • Confirm the time allocated to your presentation: PAA sessions are 90 minutes long. You will have only 10-15 minutes for your presentation. The chair of your session will inform you of the exact time allocated to your presentation; if you have not heard from the session chair, assume you will have 12 minutes for your presentation. Times will vary from session to session because of differences in the number of presenters and discussants. The time you are allotted will not include Q&A unless otherwise indicated by your chair: traditionally, PAA sessions reserve Q&A until all presenters and the discussant have spoken.
  • Post the final paper on the PAA website by April 7, 2017
  • Plan your presentation: Use your time wisely. A good conference presentation provides a clear and succinct overview of the essential contributions of the work. It is not possible to present a paper in its entirety in 12 minutes. Create an outline for yourself of the key contributions of your work and then develop notes regarding what you wish to convey to the audience relating to each key point.
  • Prepare your presentation: Consider the time available and the multiple learning styles of attendees (auditory, visual, etc.) to create a memorable and valuable presentation.
  • Prepare visual aids: The vast majority of presenters use slides as part of their presentation. Each room is equipped with a LCD projector, a computer, and a screen.
    • Type: Use at least 24 point type so that it may easily be read from across the room. Avoid italics and ALL CAPS for more than a few words; they are difficult to read.
    • Do not include large tables in your slides: Inserting tables with full model results is an unfortunately common practice at the PAA. The audience can’t read these! Distill your key results into a few well-described numbers or, even better, words. Use handouts if you want to distribute your detailed model results.
    • Bullets: Limit yourself to 3-4 bullets per slide and 10 or so words per bullet. Describe details verbally and use the bullet points to provide an outline of key concepts.
    • Number: A rough rule of thumb is to prepare no more than one slide for every two minutes you will be presenting. The slides are to complement the presentation, not the presentation itself.
    • Avoid acronyms, jargon, and abbreviations: Past evaluations have clearly indicated that one frustration, in particular for new and international attendees, is the use of ‘insider’ language, acronyms, and abbreviations that make it difficult to comprehend readily a presentation.
    • Liven up your slides with graphics and pictures: Graphics can be very effective in capturing the audience’s attention and focusing them on the point you want to make. Pictures can give the audience a break from the constant stream of words and numbers.
    • Contact information slide: Prepare one slide that you can put up at the beginning and end of the presentation with your presentation title, name, and contact information. In case you do not have enough handouts, encourage attendees to write down this information for follow-up.
    • Proofread and spell check: Please.
  • Practice: Practice repeatedly, alone and then in front of a colleague, to ensure that your presentation highlights key points, your delivery is clear, and you can finish within the time allocated. You may practice onsite in the Private Dining Room #7 on the Third Floor:

Thursday 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

  • Email your slides: Email your slides to the session chair (or another person designated before the session by the chair) to be loaded onto the computer before the session begins.
  • Prepare handouts (optional): If you decide to distribute handouts, you should have 50-100 copies available. Include your name and contact information, including email, for follow-up and a link to the abstract and full paper.

At the session: This is your time to listen intently to others’ presentations and to share your own knowledge and expertise. At the session, as a presenter you should:

  • Arrive early: Arrive at the session early and connect with the other presenters and session chair so that the session may start on time.
  • Give your presentation: You have already practiced and prepared – you are ready! Face the audience, maintain eye contact with the audience, speak clearly, and relax.
  • End on time: You will be warned by the chair as your time draws to a close using written notes indicating the time remaining (typically 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and stop). It is essential that you end on time to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to present their
    work. Stop speaking and refer everyone to the full paper on the PAA website if you have not completed your presentation.