Speaker Resources

Have you been asked to speak at an education session?

There are more opportunities than ever before to share our knowledge with others. Whether you are speaking to a large group at an in-person conference, presenting virtually to a live audience, or pre-recording a lecture, it can be a challenge to feel prepared, tackle a new technology, prepare for interaction, and engage your audience.

To assist you in navigating these challenges, we have compiled a few tips, outlined below. This list is not exhaustive. There are lots of great resources online – search for additional tips and find something that fits your style.

If you come across anything you think should be included here, email us at FacDev@Dal.Ca to share.

Creating Content

Know who your audience is expected to be and what their base knowledge on the topic may be. Anticipate questions that may arise.

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives are simple statements identifying what you can expect to learn. Tailor your presentation to your audience - try not to cover everything on the topic. State your objectives at the beginning and reference them again at the end to reinforce what was taught.

For resources on writing action verb learning objectives please see the following:
Writing Learning Objectives (CFPC)
CPD Activity Toolkit (Royal College)
Action Verbs for Learning Objectives

Evidence-Based Approach:
As you prepare your presentation, please consider that we would like our speakers/presenters to set a high standard for evidence based CPD and have the following suggestions for presentations involving therapies:

Consult evidence-based sources such as:
Cochrane Library: accessed via Kellogg Library home page 
National Institute for Health Care & Clinical Excellence
Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health

  • Present a balanced view of relevant therapeutic options available. Sometimes balance may not be possible, in which case the rationale for the inclusion of a one-sided presentation should be explained to the audience (e.g., the discussion of a new product within a class of drugs, or in the instance of research presentations which focus on only one drug within a class and for which there is no drug class evidence).
  • Use generic names wherever possible. If trade names are employed, use of those of several companies is preferable to that of a single company. 
  • If presenting recommendations from guidelines, give the level of evidence and strength of the recommendation so the audience is aware of any uncertainty about the recommendations. Present recommendations from more than one guideline in areas of uncertainty or controversy.
  • Include absolute as well as relative measures of treatment effect (i.e., absolute risk reduction and number needed to treat as well as hazard ratio, odds ratio, or relative risk reduction)

Copyright and Privacy:

  • Dalhousie University is obliged to comply with the provisions of the Copyright Act of Canada. Violations of this act have serious financial implications and can lead to criminal proceedings.
  • In addition, speakers must protect the privacy of patients when using information related to their care for educational purposes. 
  • Slides used must not include the logo(s) of supporting or other pharmaceutical companies. 
  • Dalhousie Fair Dealing Guidelines

Potential Conflict of Interest Disclosure:    

  • Speakers are required to disclose any involvement with industry or organizations that may potentially influence the presentation of the educational material.
  • If there are none, please make a simple statement to the audience at the beginning of your presentation.
  • If there is something to disclose, disclosure to the audience must be done verbally and using a slide at the beginning of your presentation. 
  • The disclosure must include what steps have been taken to mitigate the potential conflict of interest.

Bias and inclusivity:
Dalhousie University CPDME is committed to the principles of inclusion and diversity in all that we do. We recently made changes to our evaluation survey to capture learner’s perceptions of bias in addition to commercial bias (i.e., implicit bias, expression of personal opinion) and perceived inclusivity of our programs.

As you prepare your lecture(s), we ask that you consider ways to promote a respectful learning environment with attention to physical, cultural, social, and emotional safety. This may include using culturally appropriate case examples, incorporating evidence from diverse and/or varied populations, naming your pronouns, and using best practices for teaching that consider different learning styles and ways to support retention of information (e.g., case-based learning, summary of key pearls).  

See The Doctor's Bag for Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Medical Education for more information.

Land acknowledgement:
Consider leading your presentation with a land acknowledgement. Seek to understand why these are offered and important. Reflect on how you feel when speaking a land acknowledgement. Speak with sincerity, mindfulness and openness.

What is a Land Acknowledgement
Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing
Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples & Traditional Territory

Preparing your presentation

Preparing Your Slides:

  • Most presenters use PowerPoint or a similar slide presentation program.
  • Keep slides simple and concise, and don’t use too many. A good estimate is to include 1 slide per minute of your presentation.
  • Use slides for images and topic/key point headings. Don’t just read your slides to your audience.Use a readable font size (at least 20).
  • Consider having PDF handouts available as well as references and additional resources. You may also include a QR code to provide a direct link to additional resources.
  • Images: Be mindful of copyright vs open source. Reference appropriately. Pixabay is one option for free and shareable images (consider referencing origin of images regardless).

Dalhousie's Brand Guidelines offer useful information to ensure consistency across platforms and presentations. Using common components in your presentation from the guidelines, such as the logo, colors and font, identifies you as a member of the Dalhousie community.

Delivery of Your Presentation:

  • Moderate your speech speed and use inflection – try to be conversational with good pronunciation. Pause when you want viewers to reflect on something you have said.
  • Don’t panic when you stumble or stutter over a word. This is normal.
  • Limit hand gestures, movement and body language as well as distracting clothes/jewellery.
  • Attempt to maintain eye contact with your camera/audience.
  • Remember you are speaking to others, consider having someone in the room with you behind the camera that you can “speak to”.
  • Know your slides and content but if a script is helpful to keep on track, try not to sound like you are reading and try to use it as reference so you can maintain as much eye contact as possible with camera (audience).
  • Humour: Is in the eye of the beholder – use with caution.


  • Plan for a minimum of 25% of your presentation to be interactive. This can be you interacting with learners (show of hands), learners interacting with others (pair-share), or learners interacting with your content (reflection).
  • When presenting virtually, discuss what interactivity options are available to you well in advance. This could include a chat function, breakout rooms, or a polling feature. Be sure to include online learners in discussion!
  • Include quiz and reflective questions to consolidate learning. Allow sufficient time for Q+A (with guidance from hosts).  
  • MS Teams whiteboards can allow for more audience participation in a live presentation.

Tips for Presenting Virtually

  • We are here to support you when preparing a virtual presentation.
  • Reach out to the Centre for Learning and Teaching for advice from Educational Developers for creating online course material.
  • If you are a Dalhousie faculty/staff member, reach out to IT support (MedIT) for advice and support in using MSTeams, VC equipment and creating podcasts. They are a tremendous resource.
  • Become familiar with the format of the presentation and what you will be using (Adobe Connect, MSTeams, AV recording team etc.).
  • Check for compatibility issues between your formatting and the webinar presentation program.

Don't forget the moderator!

  • When planning a conference that will include both in person and online participants, it is best to include a moderator who can field questions and ensure all participants have a chance to participate.
  • See our recommended Moderator Strategies for Success [pdf 682 KB].

And finally, Practice, Practice, Practice!



Send us a quick email (cpd@dal.ca) and we'll direct you to a helpful resource.