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Guidelines for speakers in a webcast event

Streaming media technologies or webcasting enable people to follow conferences via the Internet from any remote location (office/home). Combining digital audio and video with slide presentations (e.g. PowerPoint) given in the room and Internet chats (IRC) provides a memorable experience for remote participants and allows them to react.

Conferences via the internet

An example of how a speech would appear on the Internet.

Please look through these general guidelines for speakers using slide presentations in webcasts; some of the suggestions may not apply to every event because of the specific technology used.

Preparing slides.

Please follow these guidelines carefully when preparing a slide presentation for a conference which is also webcast:

1. Slides are normally shown on the web in a format of about 320 x 240 pixels. This means that the slide will occupy about 1/9 of the total surface of a 17 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Make sure your smallest font is readable at this resolution.

2. Even if you are going to use PowerPoint (or similar software), please prepare at least one announcement slide in electronic format that will remain online during your presentation. The slide should contain:

  • name of speaker,
  • name of organisation,
  • title of speech
  • date and time of the conference.

3. Use common fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Times, etc. and be sure that all images are embedded in the file (and not just links to a file on your hard disk), otherwise they may not be displayed correctly. If you have any specific requirements, for example if you absolutely must use uncommon fonts, then please contact the organiser to check the feasibility of what you need.

4. Name the presentation you provide to the conference organisation using your family name; if you provide more than a single file, please number it adequately (i.e. "smith.ppt" or "smith1.ppt, smith2.ppt")

Slide presentations on the web can be made in a number of different ways. The most common are :

1. Slides are streamed at a low frame rate directly from the computer used for your presentation. This technology allows you to make changes up to the very last day and to include fancy visual effects (presentation sounds, however, are not broadcast on the web).

2. JPEG or GIF static files created in advance from a PowerPoint (or a similar program) presentation; this is the technology most commonly used: it consumes less bandwidth and provides a better picture quality. Please follow these rules:

a. Do not use any animation effect or sound;

b. Use different slides to have objects appearing progressively;

c. Simple slide transition effects are possible, but only people in the actual conference room will see them;

d. You may be asked to convert the slides into "JPEG" or "GIF" format, 320 x 240 pixels (normally the organiser takes care of this conversion): from the File menu in PowerPoint, choose "Save as" and then the jpeg format (some versions of PowerPoint let you also set the slide dimensions): a folder containing all slides, named "Slide1",.."SlideXX", etc. is then created.

How slides usually appear:

(The following examples are taken from previous events.)


  • Font used in title: Times New Roman 36pt
  • Font used in text: Times New Roman 20pt
  • Comment: this slide will be difficult to read on a screen set at 1024 x 768 (and even in the conference room)

  • Font used in title: Arial 44pt
  • Font used in text: Arial 24pt
  • Comment: sufficiently clear when viewed on the Internet.

Giving the presentation

Think of the interpreters !

If simultaneous interpretation is provided during your speech, please follow the caveats in general tips for speakers.

Please do not forget to provide an electronic copy of your presentation before the deadline. Remember also to send everything you are going to read during your speech to the conference organiser. This material will be forwarded to:

  • the interpretation service (interpreters need to know the subject in advance to give a better performance during your speech);
  • the provider of the streaming on Internet/intranet;
  • the PC in the conference room where you will physically perform your presentation.

Follow these simple suggestions in order to make a better webcast:

  • Always look at the audience and do not walk around: you are on camera; excessive movement dramatically decreases the quality of the image (more pixels to transmit on the Internet, possible loss of frames);
  • Show each slide for at least a couple of minutes: local and virtual participants should have time to read the text and listen at the same time (unless you wish just to show a photo);
  • Even if simultaneous interpretation is provided, your slides will not be translated, so please choose an appropriate language for them.
  • Avoid wearing white or light colours: these cause the video camera to under-expose the image.
  • Wear solid colours: patterned or striped clothing can cause undesirable visual effects.