Norfolk Waterside Convention Center

November 10-16, 2002
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Author Instructions

Instructions to Authors of Poster Presentations

General Poster Presentation Guidelines

Oral Presentation Instructions

General Oral Presentation Guidelines

Instructions to Authors of Poster Presentations

All posters for both NSS and MIC will be located in the Hampton Roads Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel. The room will be open from 7AM to 9PM each day, starting about noon on Tuesday, Nov. 12th and ending at noon on Saturday, Nov. 16. Posters are expected to be available for viewing by attendees throughout the meeting. Please put up your poster as soon as possible, and take down your poster at the end of the meeting. Posters that are left on the boards after noon on Saturday will be discarded. It is possible this deadline may have to be advanced to 10 a.m. on Saturday. If so, the earlier deadline will be posted in the Hampton Roads Ballroom and announced at the conference.

To allow room for all posters to be up for the length of the meeting, the posterboards will be arranged in a 'portrait' format, that is, 4 feet wide and 8 feet high. The recommended maximum size for your poster is about 3 feet wide and 5 feet high. The posters will be arranged against the walls and in 'kiosks' of 3 double-sided boards (thus 6 posters in each kiosk).

For the MIC portion of the meeting, the presentation order has been arranged so that the posters in each topic area are evenly divided among the 5 poster sessions. This is to allow poster presenters in one session to visit other poster presentations in their subject area at the other 4 poster sessions. The posters will still be grouped by topic area, as in the past. The poster number, therefore, reflects both the session and the location in the Hampton Roads Ballroom, where all posters will be displayed. Posters are sequentially numbered as "Mx-y", where "Mx" is the session in which the poster is to be presented (i.e., when the author is to stand by his or her poster), and "y" is the location in the room. For example, poster M6-22 will be presented in session M6 and is located on board #22.

For the NSS portion, the posters for a given topic area are in a common session (either N9 or N16) and are sequentially numbered within a session. That sequence number will also reflect the geographic location of the poster - so you will pass by NX-11 then NX-12, then NX-13.

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General Poster Presentation Guidelines

Producing an effective poster presentation is more difficult than an oral presentation, as the poster has to attract an audience and speak for you when you are not there. It also should provide an outline and backup for your key points during your explanations in front of the poster. The rewards, however, will be a stimulating two-way exchange of information with knowledgeable experts in your field.

1. Organize the presentation in a logical sequence. Use color, boxes, and coordination of material to produce focal points for the reader. Don¹t leave large areas of space open on the poster--then again don¹t crowd too much on the page that the reader becomes tired. Don't just post your proceedings paper. No one will read it.

2. Place the title of the paper prominently at the top of the poster board.

3. Use a sans serif font. Helvetica is great. The font must allow the reader to read the information fairly quickly. Use a minimum font size 16-20 point for your text; titles should be very distinct (much larger than 30 point.)

4. Be fairly conservative with color selection. Use nothing that takes away from the presentation. Keep color schemes simple. For more exhaustive guidance on presentations, we recommend reading Edward Tufte's books, especially his classic "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information".

5. Provide titles. Pictures, diagrams, graphs, and tables should be titled appropriately and axes labeled clearly.

6. Highlight important points.

7. Consider having handouts available.

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Oral Presentation Instructions

A Windows-based PC equipped with Acrobat Reader, PowerPoint 2000 and the latest versions of Quicktime and Microsoft Windows Media Player will be available for computer-projector presentations. Overhead projectors will also be available. Please note, however, that slide projectors will NOT be available unless you have specifically requested them in advance.

Well before your session, please bring a CD or Zip disk with your presentation to the speaker ready-room (James Rooms 1-3 on 4th floor of Marriott) to verify that your presentation is okay and to allow time for it to be loaded on the presentation file server. Your presentation will be placed on the presentation computer from the networked file server, which is located in the speaker ready-room. We request that you use this procedure instead of trying to hook your own laptop to the projector.

Prior to the start of the session, please identify yourself to the session chairs and familiarize yourself with the presentation tools. The time allocated for each oral presentation varies according to session but is typically 15 minutes plus 3 minutes of discussion time. Please check the program for the time alloted to your talk, and end your presentation at least three minutes before the next talk is scheduled in order to allow time for discussion. Session chairs will be requested to adhere to the times, so please do not run the risk of running out of time and therefore missing the opportunity for questions and discussion. Other general guidelines are listed below.

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General Oral Presentation Guidelines

A useful reference is 'The Visual Display of Quantitative Information', by
Edward Tufte (

1. Know your story. Rehearse or review your presentation so you can make a clear and logical progression of ideas. Try to avoid situations where you have to go backwards through the slides. This will distract from the flow of your ideas.

2. Slides should be readable by everyone in the audience. This includes a careful choice font type and size and use of color contrast. Sans serif fonts such as Helvetica work well. Do not use dark text on a dark background. Thin lines should be bright or white colors against a dark background.

3. Be critical of 'background layouts': Don't use graphic elements that are not really needed as they can only distract from the important material. The best slide 'background layout' is to avoid repeating graphic elements such as lines or institutional logos. Be fairly conservative with color selection and keep color schemes simple. Use nothing that takes away from your presentation.

4. Use as few words and slides as possible to convey what is significant about your work. This will improve the likelihood of people remembering what you said after your talk. For a 15 minute talk this may be 10-15 slides at most.

5. Do not waste time with slides of generic lists, such as:

i. Introduction
ii. Methods
iii. Results
iv. Discussion
v. Conclusion/Future Work

Each of these points may well be suitable for a title of an individual slide, but grouped together like this they do not convey 'new' information and use up a slide.

6. Present enough details to be convincing, but do not be afraid of leaving out, or using one-line references to, areas of detail that can be answered/raised in the question/discussion period.

7. Highlight important points.

8. Avoid, if possible, large tables of numbers where you only want to 'point out' a few key values. A warning for this is when the speaker starts the slide by saying "This is a busy slide, but I just want to draw your attention to this number...". The un-referenced values are distractors at best. These tables are okay if you are prepared to spend a large amount of time on the slide, or otherwise should be saved for posters, handouts, or publications.

9. Provide titles. Pictures, diagrams, graphs, and tables should be titled appropriately. Graphs should be labeled with clear (not cryptic) legends and axis labels. It is good practice to avoid legends and instead label curves directly where possible.

10. Avoid extensive mathematical derivations. For short talks it is generally better to just present a result and then spend time explaining the meanings of the terms and the significance of the result. Extensive derivations should be saved for handouts or publications.

11. Pay attention to the preceding talks. If the previous speaker(s) outlined the same background material you were planning to present, then skip over repeated material and instead spend more time on your results and possibly even finish early. The audience will appreciate it. An exception is where you have to clarify your notation and/or terminology.

12. Highlight (and possibly repeat) important points.

13. Consider having handouts available.

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