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SSA Annual Conference Speaking Information



4/17/17: Provide your topic title and short description.

6/1/17: Student Speakers must submit session outline for review

6/7/17 - Speaker slides due

6/8/17 - Airport Ride Pickup request cutoff (CLOSED)

Please direct any questions you may have to conference@secularstudents.org.

POWERPOINT TEMPLATE - Background and fonts embedded.
GOOGLE SLIDES TEMPLATE - Go to File > Make a copy. A file will be saved in your Google Drive.
Download the Speaker's Guide

Talk Format

Our conferences primarily use a 20-in-30 format, a system of 20-minute presentations in 30-minute blocks on the schedule. Here's the breakdown:

  • First five minutes: Audience settles, MC introduces the speaker, and the speaker takes the stage to begin.
  • 5 - 25 minutes: Presenter has 20 minutes for an engaging presentation of their material, including any Q&A they wish to incorporate.
  • Final five minutes: A five-minute break allows the MC to prep the next speaker's A/V needs, and allows for attendees to move between presentations, hit the restroom, connect with the speaker for later conversation, etc.

So, for example, if your speaking slot is listed as 2:30 - 3:00 p.m., you actually only have from 2:35 - 2:55 p.m. to speak. However, the 20 minutes for your presentation are all yours to use however you see fit. You can use the entire 20 minutes to speak, or you can leave five minutes for Q&A, or speak for five and have 15 minutes Q&A, or whatever, as long as it’s interesting and fits in with your topic.

It's hard to be boring in 20 minutes, and really easy to be boring in an hour. Our format gives you enough time to present your ideas, but not enough time to get bogged down in the details. Those who want the nitty-gritty can connect with you afterwards. If you have a longer prepared talk, you will need to shorten it to this format. You can view talks given last year in this format on our YouTube channel.

Be in the correct room for your talk five minutes before the start of your session. This allows for the setup of any technology needs (such as connecting your personal laptop, pulling up slides, etc.) and for our staff to connect your microphone for filming. You’ll also be able to meet your runner and MC to ensure that any special needs are taken care of.

At the start of the session (on the hour or half-hour), your room’s runner will signal the MC, and the MC will collect the audience’s attention. The MC will provide a brief introduction, and then you will take the stage/podium. The runner will be monitoring the time of your presentation, and will hold up signs indicating your time remaining at the ten-, five-, and one-minute points. The one-minute sign is your signal to wrap up. At the end of your allotted time, the MC will take the stage and wrap up the session. The MCs have very firm instructions to help us keep the conference running on time and will not acquiesce to begging nor bribery for more time.

A/V and Presenter Technology

All conference rooms will offer:

  • Widescreen (16:9) projector and screen
    • We recommend building presentations in widescreen (16:9) format in PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides
  • HDMI and VGA cables, as well as Mini DisplayPort adapters
  • Built-in speakers for audio
  • Free wireless Internet - WiFi@OSU (no password needed)
    • Open up a web browser or go to www.osu.edu once connected to accept the terms
    • Please talk to an SSA staffer at least one hour prior to your talk if you are having difficulty connecting and require Internet for your presentation.

SSA will additionally provide:

  • A Chromebook in each room. These are compatible with Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Prezi. We cannot guarantee that Keynote or other Mac programs will work appropriately on them. 
  • A wireless mic that transmits your audio to our camera for use when we edit and upload your presentation to YouTube. This mic additionally provides amplification in the larger hall. Please wear this mic at all times during your presentation.

Presentation Logistics

  • A runner will be stationed in your conference presentation room. This volunteer will be maintaining communication with other rooms and keeping time during your presentation. The runner will indicate when you have reached the end of your allotted speaking time. This volunteer is also able to get or do anything (within reason) that you might need before or during your presentation. Feel free to ask for their help as necessary.
  • Embed videos into presentations or download them to a flash drive. Pulling up a YouTube window ends in failure more often than not.
    • Google Slides allows you to embed YouTube videos inside presentations without downloading them.
  • You may bring your own Mac or Windows laptop for presentations as long as you also have the appropriate dongles or other connectors to connect to standard VGA or HDMI inputs.
    • Notify us one week before the conference to arrange an A/V test at the event prior to your presentation to make sure your laptop works as intended.
  • All sessions are run identically to the 20-in-30 format, with five minute cushions at each end. Workshop and panel sessions are the only exceptions to this time limit. 
  • Use the slide template provided.
    • PowerPoint
    • Google Slides
  • Stick to font size 42 points (or larger), and the fonts embedded in the template. If you need to download them, we use Roboto and Montserrat font styles.
  • You must submit either your slides or a detailed outline of your presentation by June 7, 2017. This allows us to make sure there is a backup of them on location in case you forget your own copy for any reason.

Quiet room

We offer a quiet room exclusively for SSA Con speakers, volunteers, and SSA staff in need of some time away to prepare presentations, decompress, or just get some private time. We will provide snacks, water, and coffee throughout the day. Additionally, the room has comfy chairs, and is a great place if you need to charge your phone or tablet. It’s located in the Founder’s Room on the 2nd floor of the Ohio Union (up the main staircase and to the right), and will be available on Saturday and Sunday throughout the conference!

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