Presenter Tips for Seminars

Background | Conclusion/Summary | Handouts | Visuals | Do's and Don'ts

Seminars and instructional courses are 1- or 2-hour courses intended to provide in-depth, clinically-oriented continuing education for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Emphasis is on clinical applications backed by appropriate levels of evidence.


  • Provide any background information necessary to ensure understanding of key points
  • Place your topic in context
  • Key points
    • Identify the priority topics that you want to present - refer to advertised abstract and learner outcomes
    • Present each key point as an "argument"; only share the largest, latest, or most important data
    • Create a list of the 5 key points that should be remembered; under each main topic, write out the main message you want to convey
    • Organize points from most to least important
    • Determine what supporting data is required to reinforce those points (evidence)
    • Information should be concrete, specific, practical, and relevant
    • Candidly include pros and cons
    • People remember groups of 3 ideas or points


  • Draw conclusions - where are we? What does it all mean? What do we do now?
  • Summarize the presentation:
    • Review, highlight, and emphasize your 3-5 key points
    • Make a call to action (consider your information, do something, use on Monday morning, etc.)
    • Re-convey your key message
    • Acknowledge collaborators
    • Thank your audience


  • Create at least a 1-page handout which includes a note-taking outline, pertinent information, as well as any references and contact information for presenters.
  • Remember to post your handouts to ASHA's Web site before you leave for the Convention so attendees can print them out beforehand.
  • Keep in mind, some people will decide to attend your session at the last minute, so make sure to bring copies with you as well.


  • Using visuals can communicate ideas faster and more clearly, as well as reinforce your spoken message. Using visuals to reinforce your ideas also helps your audience retain your information.
  • Keep it simple! Make sure your visuals are large and easily readable - viewers should get the point within 5 seconds, and use consistent font, colors, and format
  • One key idea per visual
  • Interpret visuals, don't just report them
  • Give visuals a headline that helps increase comprehension - think newspaper headline
  • Visuals should illustrate your verbal points clearly

Do's & Don'ts


  • Alternate moving and standing still
  • Dress appropriately, use good grammar
  • State your objectives at the start of the talk
  • Practice! It is the single most important factor contributing to a good presentation.
  • Go to the room prior to your presentation so you are familiar with the room/AV/lighting
  • Utilize the speaker ready room to preview your visuals and make any changes
  • Choose a natural, moderate rate of speech
  • Have notes, but use them sparingly - Don't write out your presentation on your slides and then read them
  • Keep an eye on your time
  • Give credit to others who contributed
  • Take care with body language
  • Pause during your presentation - it gives the audience time to catch up with you and digest what you are saying
  • Give of yourself - use personal examples and stories in your speech whenever possible
  • Stay relaxed


  • Hide behind the podium
  • Make jokes
  • Exhibit habitual behaviors - fidget, jingle coins, twirl hair etc.
  • Read to your audience
  • Run overtime
  • Apologize for any aspect of your presentation
  • Criticize aspects of your trip, the facility, city, etc. during your talk
  • Use profanity
  • Use jargon