Guidelines for presenters at the Student Conference on Conservation Science

This guide is to help you give a presentation at the Student Conference on Conservation Science. Note that you will only need the information on how to prepare your talk or poster if it has already been accepted by our organising committee. Do not bring a talk or poster to the conference that has not been accepted in advance. Assignments of talks and posters will be made by the middle of November. If you are reading this later than that and wish to make a presentation, it is almost certainly too late.

If your presentation has already been accepted, please find the appropriate sections below on how to prepare it and read them carefully.

Talk details

Talks are presented in English and we do not have translation facilities. There will be fifteen minutes available for each talk, plus five minutes for questions, making twenty minutes in all. The chairperson of your session will terminate your talk when your time is up. Rehearse your talk beforehand in English to make sure that you have enough time for everything you want to say. It is usually only possible to present an average of about one slide per minute of the talk. Complicated slides take longer.

Audiovisual aids

Speakers can use a Powerpoint data projector, an overhead projector, or 35mm slides. We are currently running Powerpoint 2000 on a Windows XP PC. Nearly all contributors now use Powerpoint, but do not feel discouraged if this is not possible for you.

Powerpoint presentations can be read from 3.5" floppy disk, CD-ROM, 100MB ZIP disks and most memory sticks. Other types of drives and Apple MAC facilities are NOT available. It is strongly recommended that you bring your presentation on two different forms of media, e.g. a CD-ROM and a memory stick, in case one does not work. The size of Powerpoint presentations should not exceed 60 MB. Animations or video clips, if used, have to work within Powerpoint and not rely on additional software (e.g. Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc. which are NOT available on the PC used for projection). We recommend that you consider carefully whether you really need animations, videos or sound as part of your Powerpoint presentation. They often go wrong on a strange machine and this can be very disruptive to your short presentation. If you feel you must have these things, it is a good idea to have an alternative backup plan for presenting the same material if the Powerpoint does not work out. For example, you could bring an audio cassette tape of bird song as a backup for a sound clip.

Speakers should hand over their Powerpoint presentation at the registration desk when they first check in to the conference so that it can be loaded onto our computer's hard disk. Please label your floppy, CD or ZIP disk with your name. Speakers should also ensure that they run through their presentation in advance using the viewing facilities to ensure compatibility with local hardware and software. The conference organisers will try to help if there are problems. However, if you have prepared your Powerpoint presentation on an Apple Macintosh computer we strongly advise you to check that it works correctly on a PC before you come to Cambridge. We often find that there are problems with photos, graphics, colours, layout and symbols when presentations created on an Apple Mac are used on our PC system. We suggest you check for this on (say) a friend's PC before you leave home, correct any problems on the PC, save the presentation and do not alter it again on the Mac.

All speakers should arrive at the lecture theatre 30 minutes prior to the start of their session. Please make yourself known to the chairperson at the beginning of the break before your session and indicate to them how you would like to be introduced. However, please note that you should have handed in your Powerpoint presentation and checked it well before that - if there are problems it will probably be too late by then to fix them.

Preparing your poster

Do not mail your poster presentation in advance - bring it with you to the meeting. In March you will be sent an email about getting your poster printed in Cambridge should you wish to do that.

Please be ready to put your poster up on a display board we will provide in the Elementary Laboratory during the morning coffee break on day 1 of the conference. An A0-sized landscape board will have been allocated to your poster and you will find a label with your name below the board you should use. A helper will be available to advise you if necessary.You should remove your poster on the last afternoon of the conference; we cannot take responsibility for posters left up after this time. There will be poster sessions during the lunch breaks on days 1, 2 and 3 and a special session with wine and food on the evening of day 2. When possible, please stand by your poster during sessions to answer questions. Do make the most of the chance to introduce yourself and discuss your work.

Posters must be clear and easy to read.

Your poster must be designed to fit on an A0 landscape poster board (840 mm vertical x 1188 mm horizontal) and MUST be attached to it with Velcro tape (no pins please). We will supply both board and tape.

Your poster will stand on a laboratory bench, so it will be possible for you to leave handouts, reprints, business cards or some other form of identification on the bench under the poster.



When designing your poster think about how people read posters. You want to grab the attention of people wandering past. There are lots of ways of doing a good poster but below are some key points:

  1. The best posters use images really imaginatively to draw the reader in and communicate the topic of the poster without the reader having to read a word.
  2. Think about your title - an interesting title which gets to the heart of what the poster is about and why it matters is more attractive than a technically correct title with scientific names and lots of jargon.
  3. No text on the poster should be too small to read from a distance of about 1.8m (6 feet). The bigger the better (within reason).
  4. Generally you’ll have to redraw your figures for your poster - not just cut and paste them from a paper or thesis chapter. The rules about being able to read text from 1.8m applies even more so to the legends and axes on graphs.
  5. This is a conservation conference with a very mixed and interdisciplinary audience. Do avoid technical jargon and acronyms.
  6. Do think about the conservation message of your poster. Could someone get to the end of your poster and think ‘so what?’ If so then you need to be more explicit about why this work matters to conservation.
  7. Do consider including a picture of yourself (maybe in the field) so that someone who reads your poster and wants to meet you to learn more can easily find you.
  8. Don’t forget to include names of collaborators and logos of funders or your host institution.
  9. Tell us how to find out more - some people include a web or email address or even a QR code leading to a website, and some people have a sign-up sheet where people can leave their email address if they want to hear more. If you are on Twitter consider uploading your poster to a slide share website such as and tweeting your poster with the conference hashtag (this can attract people to your poster for a chat as well as allowing those following the conference from afar to see your work).
  10. The more creative and imaginative the better!

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