VSS Talks: Presentation Rules and Instructions

Presentation Rules

First authors are required to register and present their talk in their assigned session. VSS policy holds that if the first author is unable to attend the meeting, the abstract must be withdrawn. See Abstract Withdrawals for more information.

If the first author is unable to attend due to circumstances connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, substitute presenters (a different author) may be considered (see Abstract Submission Policies). Substitute presenters must be approved by VSS. Contact VSS immediately if the first author is not able to present.

Presentation Instructions

The process for giving talks at VSS has changed. Please read carefully.

VSS talk presentations will be given by in-person presenters (in the talk room) and remote presenters (via Zoom). To facilitate this, the process for giving talks has changed.

All talk sessions at VSS 2022 will be recorded and made available to VSS and V-VSS attendees. The talk session recordings will be posted after the VSS meeting, but before V-VSS begins on June 1.

Each presenter will present their slides from their own laptop. As in the past, each in-person speaker’s laptop will be connected to a switch box that controls sending the video feed to the projector. Remote speakers will present via Zoom. A ‘Zoom laptop’ will also be connected to the switch box in the talk room so the Zoom session can be displayed on the room’s projector and recorded. Remote presenters will be emailed instructions for logging in to their Zoom session.

New this year is that a video camera will be pointed at the lectern to capture video of you speaking. The video of you speaking will be inset into the upper right corner of the video from your laptop. This “picture-in-picture” video is what will be recorded and made available on the VSS website after VSS. It’s important that speakers remain at the lectern while presenting so they remain within the frame of the inset recording.

Important: You should leave some open space in the upper right corner of your slides so the video inset (picture-in-picture) does not overlap your slide content.

Also new this year, we will have a large (70 inch) comfort monitor on the floor in front of you as you present. This monitor will display the same content as is being displayed on the screen in the room. The purpose of this monitor is two-fold. First, this makes it easier for speakers to present while facing the audience (not looking at the projection screen), which will result in a better picture-in-picture recording. Second, for many presenters, moving your laptop to the lectern may not be necessary.

If you require ‘Presenter View’ on your laptop screen while you present, then you will need to move your laptop to the lectern. If not, you can leave your laptop on the table and control the advancing of your slides using an ‘air mouse’ connected to your laptop via a USB dongle. If you don’t have an air mouse, we can provide one.

Because we are recording the display from your laptop merged with the inset of you speaking, we want to discourage the use of using a physical laser pointer to point to locations on the projection screen as this will not be visible in the recording. Instead, you should use your on-screen mouse pointer. You may also wish to use words or slide animations to clarify where the viewer should focus their attention on your slides.

Prior to Your Talk

You must arrive at the talk room no less than 30 minutes before the start of your session to check in, receive final instructions, and test your presentation on the projector.

Presentations are made from your Mac or PC laptop. Laptops are connected to the projector through a switch box via a numbered VGA cable, where the number on the cable corresponds to the presentation order.

The Setup Process

  1. The technician will connect your laptop to a VGA switch box in the presentation order. If your laptop does not have a VGA port, you will need an adapter. If you did not bring an adapter, check with the technician in the room. A limited number of adapters are available.
  2. If you are playing audio, plug the audio cable into your headphone jack and test it.
  3. Test the microphone at the lectern. Ensure that you can adjust the height correctly. A Lavaliere (wireless lapel microphone) is also available. See Tips for Using the Lavaliere below.
  4. The technician will control the switch box that sends your laptop’s video to the projector.
  5. Perform a quick test of your slides. Verify the following:
  • Slides project onto the screen correctly, fill the screen, and do not extend off the screen.
  • Slides are legible and not missing any text or graphics.
  • If color is important, verify how colors are projected.
  • Test embedded videos to verify that they play correctly.
  • Test audio. The technician in the room can make volume adjustments.
  • Test the remote control used for forwarding your slides.

Tips for Using the Lavaliere

If you cannot adjust the lectern microphone to your height, you may want to use the wireless lapel microphone. Ask the technician in the room to help you with the Lavaliere. For best sound pickup, mount the Lavaliere as high as possible on your shirt/blouse, positioned to face your mouth. Turn the Lavaliere off when connecting/disconnecting as handling it while on makes a lot of noise.

Giving Your Talk

  1. Speakers typically sit in the front row while waiting for their turn to present. When the previous talk has ended, the technician will put your laptop screen live, displaying the title slide (first slide) of your presentation. The moderator will step to the lectern and announce your talk.
  2. Wait until the moderator has introduced you and started the talk timer, then step to the lectern to begin your presentation. It’s important that you remain at the lectern during your presentation so that you will be within the frame of the video camera.
  3. Use the ‘air mouse’ to advance your slides. The ‘air mouse’ can also be used to point at items on your slide.
  4. When your talk has ended, leave the lectern so the moderator can introduce the next speaker.

Talk Timing

Talk timing is the same as in previous years. Each talk is twelve minutes followed by a three-minute discussion period. A timer is provided to help you keep time. There is no transition time allotted between talks, so it’s important that your talk start and end on time.

VSS has talk timers to help keep talks on schedule. The moderator is responsible for setting/starting/stopping the timers. The timer at the speaker podium has an LCD time display and colored lights that are programmed as follows

  1. Talk Time – From 0 to 10 minutes: The GREEN light is on during your talk time.
  2. Wrap Up – At 10 minutes: The YELLOW light displays and two-short beeps indicate that 2 minutes of presentation time remains.
  3. Discussion – At 12 minutes: The RED light displays and two short beeps indicate that presentation time has ended and the 3-minute discussion period has started.
  4. Talk Ended – At 15 minutes: The FLASHING RED light and two long-beeps indicate that your talk time has ended. You must stop immediately to allow the next speaker to start on time.

To facilitate the next speaker starting on time, we suggest that the next speaker go to the stage and prepare to set up during the previous speaker’s 3-minute discussion period.

Slides Format

VSS 2022 is using widescreen projection (16:9 aspect ratio) in the main talk rooms. To take full advantage of the new larger screens, you should prepare your talk presentation using widescreen slides. The projection screens are 14 feet wide by 8 feet high; the screens used prior to 2022 were 12 feet wide by 9 feet high.

You can still use standard (4:3 aspect ratio) slides. Your slides will fill the height of the screen, but there will be blank space on each side of your slides. We will not be able to make adjustments between speakers to accommodate differing slide aspect ratios; the projection screen will be set only for widescreen slides.

Only the screens in Talk Room 1 and Talk Room 2 will be widescreen. If you are giving a presentation in another room where a pop-up screens is used,  the aspect ratio is 4:3. For the best quality display, set your video resolution to widescreen 1080p resolution (1920×1080). This is the native resolution of the video projector. Other resolutions will work, but the projector will need to adjust the resolution for projection. This can sometimes result in a lower quality image.

Meeting Room Equipment

Each of the main talk rooms is equipped with:

  • Data/video projector with eight-port video switch box.
  • Projection screen (widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio).
  • Audio connection to the room speaker system.
  • Lectern and head table on a 12” riser platform.
  • Wireless Lavaliere (lapel microphone), lectern microphone, and audience microphones.
  • Talk timers (see Talk Timing above).


As a precaution, always bring two copies of your presentation with you to the meeting. Bring a copy of your presentation with you to the talk room on a USB flash drive. Should you encounter a problem using your own computer, this facilitates presenting on another computer. A spare PC laptop is available in each talk room and connected to the projector.

We recommend that no critical information be near the edge of your slide. Alignment of the video projector and screen can vary, which can cause the edge of the projected image to be cut off.

Your laptop must have a way to connect to a standard 15-pin VGA cable. If your laptop  requires a VGA adapter, be sure to bring it and know how to use it; otherwise, connection to the projector may not be possible. VSS has a limited number of VGA adapters, and we cannot guarantee that we will have the one you need.

Insure that you know how to activate the external video port of the laptop. Instructions should be in your operator’s manual. Generally on PCs, a Function Key (or Shift plus a Function Key) activates the external port.

If you use a Macintosh laptop, be sure you know how to keep the external port active. Macintosh computers automatically detect the presence of a video projector when the computer boots and the external port is activated. Unfortunately, if the projector is disconnected while the computer is awake, the port is deactivated and a time-consuming reboot is necessary. To avoid this problem, test your presentation before your session and, before disconnecting the projector from the computer, put the computer into Sleep mode. If you do not wake the computer before the projector is reattached, the external port will stay active.

Technical Assistance

A technician is in each talk room at all times during the talk sessions (and 30 minutes before). If you have a problem of any kind, let the technician and the session moderator know.

To reach the VSS Technical Manager, please call Jeff Wilson at 415-302-4107, or send someone to the Registration Desk. The Registration Desk can also be reached by calling 727.367.6461 extension 7814, or dialing 7814 from a house phone.