Talk Presentation Instructions

Presentation Rules

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 If the first author is unable to attend the meeting, the abstract must be withdrawn.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

Presentation Format

Important: VSS is using widescreen projection this year. VSS will be projecting in widescreen format (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 new projection screens are 14 feet wide by 8 feet high; the old screens 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 video 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, your screen will remain a 4:3 aspect ratio screen.

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, 11’x14’).
  • Audio connection to the room speaker system.
  • Lectern and head table on a 12” riser platform.
  • Wireless Lavaliere (lapel microphone), lectern microphone, and audience microphone.
  • Laser pointer.
  • Talk timers (see below).

Talk Timing

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.

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.

Here is the setup process:

  1. Connect your laptop to the appropriate VGA cable based on your 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.
  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. Press the appropriate number on the switch box to send 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.

Tips for Using the Lavaliere – If you cannot adjust the lectern microphone to your height or you like to move around during your talk, 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. If you tend to look at the screen during your presentation, mount the Lavaliere on the side nearest the screen so it will pick up your voice when you face the screen. Turn the Lavaliere off when connecting/disconnecting as handling it while on makes a lot of noise.

Giving Your Talk

Speakers typically sit in the front row while waiting for their turn to present.

  1. When the speaker before you reaches his/her discussion period (light on the timer turns red), make your way to the stage.
  2. As soon as the previous speaker has removed their laptop from the lectern, pick up your laptop, with video cable still attached, and walk it over to the lectern. The technician will help you with the cabling.
  3. Push the appropriate numbered button on the switch box to put your presentation live onscreen.
  4. Wait until the moderator has announced your talk and started the timer, then begin your presentation.
  5. As soon as possible after your presentation (during your discussion period if possible) remove your laptop from the lectern so the next speaker can set up. You can disconnect the VGA cable and drop it on the floor. The technician will reorganize the cables for the next session.


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 via cable #8.

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 computer requires a VGA adapter, be sure to bring it and know how to use it; otherwise, connection to the projector nay 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.