The Calusa Herpetological Society
Of Southwest Florida


The Calusa Herp. Society is comprised of an assortment of people with interests ranging from pet-keeping to photography to science to nature in general.  While you can never please every audience member all the time, these suggestions will help gear your presentation toward our typical amateur herp-oriented audience.

--- Limit your presentation to not more than one hour’s duration.  Most people can’t sit for more than an hour and enjoy a talk.  But, they may feel cheated coming to see one shorter than thirty minutes.  Rehearse it before actually giving it to an audience that counts so you know how long it runs. 

--- Use a public address system if you don’t have a loud, clear voice.  People in the audience who can’t hear / understand you seldom speak up to say so, even when the crowd is asked about this.  

--- Introduce your presentation with several spectacular pictures to grab everyone’s attention right away.  Having multiple pics allows the AV person to focus and test without giving away too much before you start.  A title slide at or near the beginning, with your subject and name, is helpful too.

--- Graphs, tables, pie charts, etc. should be kept minimal in a talk to a herp society.  If you use them, don’t dwell on them too long (unless you’re actively pointing out particulars on them).  Those items are great at a scientific conference, or in print when you can zip past them if you wish, but not as ‘infotainment’ expected at a general herp meeting.  

--- Make text large and readable, and keep sentences short and sweet.  More than 2 or 3 sentences in a row is more than most viewers want to read on any single frame.   

--- A black background usually works best to highlight text and pictures in darkened rooms to make them ‘pop’.

--- Make images LARGE and prominent.  Let them fill blank space instead of placing them as small with lots of superfluous background colors and patterns on the rest of the frame.  Don’t waste extra space with fluff that could be used for making the actual images a little larger.

--- Don’t try to put too many small images on one frame because they lose impact.  Limit each frame to 3 or 4 images most of the time.

--- Reduce the number of pics of dull, little, non-descript herps that are boring if you don't have anything more interesting to say about them besides "And then I saw this, and then I saw that....."  Don’t show too many portraits if you have nothing more to say than the name of the animal.

--- Balance each frame so there are no big, blank areas of nothing off in corners.  Fill them with an additional image, stretch other images, or expand a text box to fill the space.

--- Many people dwell too long on each pic, especially the bad ones.  They somehow feel that by talking about bad or dull slides longer, they will be appreciated more.  Wrong!  You've got to flip through them fast to hold people's attention, though if some shots are exceptionally good or interesting, leave them on longer.  If you're making a long-winded discussion, flip through a series of pics while you're talking so everyone isn't staring at only one the whole time.

--- Run through your whole presentation at least once before actually giving it, and time yourself.  Most slideshows benefit by reducing the size down to just the crème-de-la-crème pics, NOT trying to show every LBJ (little brown job) you saw. 

--- Bring PowerPoint presentations on a flash drive at least 30 minutes ahead of speaking so there’s time to load it and get the bugs out of showing it.  Trust me, 99% of PowerPoint presentations involve many frustrating minutes of finagling to get the laptop to actually project what’s displayed on it to the main screen.

--- Save your talk as a ‘PowerPoint Show’ (one of the choices of how to save it in PowerPoint) so it always opens in ‘Slideshow View’.  This saves confusion when someone else opens it, and it keeps from giving away the first half-dozen of your frames as they would normally open up on the side column.

The Calusa Herp. Society looks forward to your visit and your presentation soon!


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