International presentation guidelines

Medical Presentations, International presentations

Guidelines help your presentation become clear and influential.

Most guidelines can be found on the conference website that you are attending.


  • Use 12 point Arial font, BOLD CAPITALS for titles.

  • Follow the recommendations for referencing from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) if the conference providers have not issued guidelines.

  • Spend 1.5 to 3.0 minutes per slide (for slides with tables or graphs this may be longer).

  • A maximum word limit of around 200 to 300 words usually applies depending on the conference (excluding title, headings and references).

  • Specify all abbreviations in full at the first mention, followed by abbreviation in parentheses.

  • Number of references may be specified by conference organisers (usually 2 references).

  • Do not include tables, graphs or pictures.

(Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2013)



- Reduce to less than 15 words.

- Identify the study type using words: clinical effectiveness, clinical projection, comparison, utilisation,

economic evaluation, association, prediction, influencing and effects.


Original research or analytical study

Background: introduce and explain relevance of the problem.

Aim: use a one sentence statement of the study’s specific objective or hypothesis tested.

Methods: methodology or approach.

Results: a summary of data but not tables, graphs or pictures.

Conclusion: describe main outcomes of the study.

Case report

Background: introduce and relevance of the problem.

Reason: statement why the case is important.

Report: should include relevant medical history, presenting problems, diagnosis and outcomes.

Reflection and recommendations: highlights from the report and recommendations.

Clinical topic

Background: introduction and relevance of the problem.

Aim: state why the topic is being presented.

Discussion: briefly outline of information to be presented.

Conclusion: state salient points learnt from the topic.

Structure with the following subheadings:

Separate the body of the presentation into 3 to 5 main points

Paragraph 1: What the problem is and why is it important? Introduce the context of your study,

Describe issues or questions your study addresses.

Paragraph 2: Your approach and results Outline your project.

Describe theoretical or practical techniques you used.

Identify experiment or resource materials.

Answer the question you outlined in paragraph one.

Remember to explain with your evidence.

Paragraph 3: Why should the audience listen to you? Discuss your discipline, and why it is relevant and exciting.

References: Approximately five to ten references

Include questions in your presentation (you can ask every 10 minutes to engage the audience or leave until the end of the presentation).

The final slide can contain messages thanking the audience, your contact details, and information about the availability of speaker notes, materials, and feedback tools.


  • Simple​.

  • Make your most important slide a little more unusual.

  • Spend about one minute per slide.

Use only enough slides that the audience can remember.

  • Try to avoid bullet in slides with less text.

  • Use 5 or less bullet points.

  • Simplify images with most relevant labelling.

  • Try to include a visual image on every slide​.

  • Do not overload slides with text (8-12 lines of text, 30 words per slide, fewer if a graphic is used).

  • Use graphic images that help memory recall of topics.

  • Connect slide content with a theme using colour, images or text.

  • Recommended font for slide title is San Serif, and font size should be 44.

  • Font size for subtitles should be 28 to 36, with bold font.

  • Content font size is between 18 to 36.

  • Lines should have a thickness of at least 2 points.

  • Avoid CAPITAL LETTERS in content.

  • Use no more than two lines in a text block.

  • Use easy reading fonts like Arial, Comic Sans, Trebuchet and Tahoma (SANS SERIF FONTS).

  • Descriptive title on each slide with the main message.

  • Use short phrases that expand and emphasise key points of the presentation.

  • Use colour to focus attention on key points.

  • Fill the space, leaving enough white space so the slide doesn’t look crowded.

Title slide

Title of your talk with importance in scope:

-your name and affiliation

−location and date of the talk

−for journal club presentations, your title should be the title of the journal article

−include the full citation for the article on your title slide

(authors, year, journal name, volume, page numbers).

Outline slide

  • Outline each of the main points of your talk.

  • Avoid using “Introduction”, “Results”, or “Conclusions” unless the conference organisers have asked for this format.

  • Choose an appropriate presentation structure: topical, chronological, classification by categories, problem and solution, or cause and effect.

  • Each bullet point on your outline should be a phrase or sentence that gives the main message for that section of your talk.

  • Re-phrase your outline slide to make your “Summary“ or “Conclusions“ slide.

Content slides

  • Welcome the audience.

  • Introduce a topic that outlines a problem where people are in need.

  • Get their attention with:

-short, simple lists

-body language

-slow speech

-interesting handouts

-questions...encouraging interactions


-an interesting emotional story

-thought-provoking questions.

Best charts


Used to show percentages.

Limit the slices to 4-6 and contrast the most important slice either with colour or by separating the slice.


Used to demonstrate trends.

Vertical bar

Used to show changes in quantity over time. Best if you limit the bars to 4-8.

Horizontal bar

Used to compare quantities.

Reference writing

List alphabetically.

Use conference guidelines.

Source reference on each slide of data.

Provide a reference sheet

Reference images, tables, charts and figures.

See Best List of Questions for APA

Suggested Reading

Style Guides


American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guidelines Overviews


AMA Style


Council of Science Editors (CSE) Citation Style

U. S. American National Standards Institute / National Information Standards Organization

U. S. National Library of Medicine: Samples of Formatted References for Authors of Journal Articles

International Academic Conferences

Academic Conferences and Publishing International: Abstract Guidelines for Papers

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