Guidelines for Speakers

The following are general guidelines for speakers making presentations at ASIS Meetings. We ask that all speakers comply with them as far as possible to ensure a professionally rewarding and enriching experience for all attendees.


a. Language: All presentations are to be in English followed by questions in English.

b. Meeting with your Session Moderator: Speakers should plan to meet with the Session Moderator near the main door of the room in which the session is to be held fifteen minutes before the session is due to commence. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss general session arrangements. Your moderator has been encouraged to contact you prior to the meeting, and will probably request that you forward a copy of your presentation and some biographical information with which to introduce you.

c. Length of Presentation: The length of time allotted for each presentation depends on the overall length of the session and the number of Speakers in the session. Most sessions have been planned for 90 minutes and 4 Speakers. This would allow for presentations of approximately 20 minutes each. The Moderator may vary presentation times, at her discretion, in consultation with the Speakers.

d. Order of Presentations: Your Moderator has been directed not to deviate from the published program order in the meeting session, because, often, attendees want to hear specific presenters in simultaneous sessions and rely on the accuracy of the program. If a Speaker listed in the program fails to appear, the Moderator may attempt to "stretch" the remaining time slots. Moderators have been advised not to rearrange the published order of presentations to accommodate an individual Speaker's preference or scheduling conflict.

e. Audio Visual Equipment: An overhead projector and screen will be available for all sessions.  A monitor will be available in each session to assist with dimming lights. All speakers are asked to complete an Audio/Visual request form so that we can confirm any additional equipment you need, accurately. Before the session begins, be certain to verify how to operate the audio visual equipment that you will require in your presentation. Notify the Room Monitor if you will require him/her to dim the room lights.

f. Present a Speech -- Do Not Read a Paper: As a meeting attendee you have probably experienced presenters who recited their papers without lifting their heads. Generally this is a disappointing experience. Conference attendees can read the Proceedings to review the paper, but they cannot glean additional insights into the material unless the speaker makes a point to use this face-to-face opportunity to highlight the critical issues raised by the material. The highest rated presenters at ASIS meetings are those who have tied their presentation to the needs of the audience by relating the critical issues to current problems and giving practical applications of their material. Experience suggests that 100-150 words per minute is a reasonable rate of speaking. If you plan to use visuals, allow 30 to 60 seconds for each.

g. Questions from the floor: Depending on the amount of time used for making each presentation, a few questions may be asked following each presenter. After all of the presentations in the session have been concluded, the Moderator will invite additional questions from the floor (time permitting).


According to a study done by the University of Minnesota and the 3M corporation, Speakers who use visuals in their presentations are 43% more persuasive. Below are some simple rules to follow when preparing visuals: the "6-foot rule" - you should be able to read your overhead non-projected transparency from 6 feet away (35 mm slides should be readable from 12 inches).

  • Each visual should convey a single idea.
  • No more than 6 words per line. No more than 6 lines per visual.
  • Change visuals every 45 - 60 seconds.
  • Avoid using vertical lettering
  • Use bullets not numbers when presenting a list of items
  • Use no more than 2 typefaces in any visual
  • Use UPPER and lower case letters
  • If using color - use blue backgrounds
  • Include related graphics wherever possible


ASIS conferences are unique opportunities for attendees and speakers to interact and learn from each other. This network that is nurtured at conferences can prove an invaluable sources of information, professional contacts, and friendship. We urge you to make yourself fully available to attendees throughout the conference (and particularly immediately following your session). Many speakers find that these contacts are the most valuable benefit of their meeting attendance. If you have any questions, please contact your Session Moderator or Session Organizer.

If you have any questions please contact:

          Vanessa Foss
          ASIS headquarters
          (301) 495-0900
          (301) 495-0810 fax

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© 1998, Association for Information Science
Last Update:July 13, 1998