Thank you for your willingness to present at the Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education (#GCSHE). We could not do this without you and are here to help you. Below you can find information on how to plan your presentation, tips and tricks for presenting an engaging live session, and answers to some common questions or concerns. If you still have questions or would like to chat with an AASHE staff person, sign up to attend one of our Presenter Training sessions (or watch the recordings).


These 45-minute sessions include a live presentation and discussion which can include video Q&A, breakout groups and/or polls. They are broadcast at a specific date and time during the live conference and will be available for viewing on-demand after the live broadcast has concluded.

Key Responsibilities

  • Attend the presenter training on using live functionality and designing an engaging session (or watch the recordings).
  • Design your session keeping in mind best practices for creating an engaging session.
  • Log in to our virtual conference platform no less than 10 minutes prior to the start of your session.  
  • Facilitate an engaging session with attendees via Zoom in the conference platform. You may use features such as breakout rooms and audience polls.
  • End your session at the scheduled time to allow the next session to start on time and enable attendees to get to their next event on time.
  • Check back daily during the live portion of the conference (Oct. 18, Oct. 26, & Nov. 3) and every few days during the on-demand time (Nov. 3 – 15-Dec. 31) to respond to any questions or chat messages submitted by on-demand viewers.
  • Planning Your Presentation
    Develop Your Session

    • Use AASHE’s Get Interactive resource to design an engaging session.
    • Review your goals for the session and develop your presentation around them.
    • Decide on a format that would best support these goals: debate, interview, short individual presentation, case study presentation, etc.
    • Build your session taking into account your time limitation and best practices for online engagement. Live sessions are 45-minutes long and will need to end on time to allow the next session to begin on time. Please be sure to allow plenty of time for interactive activities and questions.
    • Practice your planned scenario at least once or twice to make sure the session flows well and addresses your goals.

    Prepare Your Slides

    • Slides should be widescreen format 16:9.
    • Download the #GCSHE Slide Templates and enter your title and presenter(s) information in the spaces provided.
    • As you draft your slides, if you are the only presenter on your presentation, be aware that a small window featuring your webcam video will be overlaid on the top right of your slide. Avoid putting key information in the top right-hand corner of your slides. If multiple presenters are included, the entire right side of the slide will be covered by the webcams.
    • Minimize the amount of text on slides.
    • Describe and read everything on your slide. This will help people who are blind or have limited vision understand what is on the slide.
    • Using PowerPoint or Google Slides, you can turn on live transcriptions to create captioning of your spoken word. Live transcriptions of your words help accommodate individuals in the audience who may be deaf or hard of hearing.
    • If presenting with other presenters:
      • Combine your slide decks
      • Confirm who will be screen sharing and advancing slides
      • Write up a short timeline of who will be speaking when to avoid presenters speaking over one another
    • Be mindful of your language:
      • Practice using gender-inclusive language (e.g., instead of terms like “ladies and gentlemen” or “hi guys”, consider “folks”, “everyone”). Learn more.
      • Avoid generalizations and stereotypes.
      • Avoid using jargon, idioms and acronyms, and if you do, explain what they mean in plain language. Keep in mind that your presentation may be watched by people from all around the world and avoid expressions that may not be understood by all members of the audience.
      • Offer verbal or written notice (in your session description) before sharing potentially sensitive content – these allow participants to prepare themselves to engage or disengage for their own wellbeing.

  • Preparing to Present Live
    Hardware Needs

    • Earbuds with built-in microphone or USB microphone. Avoid cell phones and speakerphones.
    • Hardwired internet connection
    • Webcam (internal or external)

    Prepare Your Space

    • Background:
      • Ensure your background is visually appealing and not too distracting. A plant or two in the background allows for visual appeal without being distracting. Scan behind you to ensure there aren’t any books, posters, or decorations you would prefer not to share with the #GCSHE audience. The more visual clutter or movement that is behind you, the more likely your video recording quality will be poor or a much larger file size.
    • Lighting:
      • Ensure your face is well lit. Natural light from a window is preferred, but you can also move lamps behind your webcam to brighten up your face. Avoid having the only light source come from one side of your face.
    • Height:
      • Make sure your webcam is at eye level. This makes it feel like you’re making eye contact with the audience and keeps them from looking up at your nose. You can raise your laptop up on books or boxes. Tape a picture of a beloved family member or pet next to your webcam to remind you to smile when you look in the camera. Frame your full head and shoulders in the camera picture. The bottom of the video frame should come to the middle of your chest.
    • Noise:
      • Pick your presentation spot carefully, where you will not be interrupted by family, friends or pets. Mute all cell phones, doorbell alarms, and notifications on your computer such as email chimes or meeting reminders. Close the door to your recording space.


    • Choose attire that you would wear if you were attending an in-person conference. Plain-colored shirts and pants are optimal; tight patterns or stripes may not display well on screens. Avoid bright white or black tops as they mess up lighting.
    • Wear clothing that is the opposite of your background’s tone. Your webcam will work best if it can find a good contrast between you and your background.

    Test and Practice

    • Record a short rehearsal to test your audio and video. Review the recording and make sure you are happy with how you look and sound.
    • Do a content rehearsal to practice your presentation and to test your run time.
    • Set up a Zoom layout that allows you to share your screen/slides while still showing the presenters on the webcam.
    • If presenting with multiple speakers, ensure everyone knows how to mute their microphone when they’re not speaking to minimize background noise.

  • During the Live Session

    • Turn off as many programs on your computer as you can to increase bandwidth and minimize the risk of pop-up notifications from other applications during your recording.
    • Mute all cell phones, doorbell alarms, and notifications on your computer such as email chimes or meeting reminders. Close the door to your presentation space.
    • Speak slowly and clearly to ensure attendees can hear you. 
    • Provide a short introduction to attendees to let them know what will happen during your session. Let the audience know how and when they will be able to engage with you and other attendees. Encourage the audience to submit questions and comments through the session chat window.
    • Watch the clock: Please keep a close eye on the timer and make sure your session does not exceed your allotted 45-minute time limit.

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