Information for Speakers

Preparing Your Presentation

  • Most sessions last for 90 minutes. Presentations, panelists’ remarks, and comments should conclude 30 minutes before the scheduled end of the session to allow for discussion with the audience.
  • Presentations should be delivered in an engaging, lively, and timely manner. The role of the presentation, whether describing new research or exploring a professional issue, is to stimulate discussion.
  • All presenters must get copies of their presentations to the chair and commentator a month in advance, to give them sufficient time to prepare their remarks.
  • Presenters should also provide the chair with a short biography.

Whether you are new to presenting or an old hand, we recommend taking a look at Paul N. Edwards's guide, "How to Give an Academic Talk," for suggestions about planning and executing a successful presentation. We also recommend Linda Kerber's "Conference Rules" series, which offers tips for presenting, chairing a session, and commenting on and attending a session.

Sending Your Presentation to the Chair

  • All presenters must get copies of their papers or presentations to commentators and their chair by December 1. A month’s leeway is needed to give commentators sufficient time to prepare to facilitate discussion. This is a crucial deadline.
  • When you send your paper to the chair, please also provide a brief biography the chair may use to introduce you.
  • If your presentation obviously exceeds the time allotted to it, you will receive an email from your chair requesting that you prepare a shorter version.

Observing Time Limits

  • Most sessions last for 90 minutes. Chairs should be sure to leave at least 30 minutes for discussion. It is important that verbose participants do not cut into the time of other participants or into the time reserved for floor discussion.
  • Presenters and commentators should make sure that their presentations can be done in the time allotted. Presenters should practice and time their presentations in advance.


Guidelines for poster presenters, including instructions for requesting access to an electrical outlet, can be found here. Presenters can begin setting up their posters half an hour before the start of the poster session. Presenters are expected to remain with their posters to engage in discussion with the audience.


Speakers should be aware that there may be a raised dais in larger meeting rooms. Please let us know if this would pose an obstacle. The AHA is committed to providing equal access to the meeting to all participants. If you need reasonable accommodations, please contact us with your request by December 15.

For more information please review our Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities. Speakers should engage the attention of listeners, including those with disabilities. Please review our guidelines for making your presentation accessible.

Presentation in Absentia

The AHA does not normally allow presentation via Skype, Zoom, or videoconference, as we find that it detracts from the experience for attendees, due to issues with sound quality and connectivity. It is also more difficult for the audience to interact with presenters who are not physically present. We do, however, allow presentations in absentia.


For AHA Sessions

  • Session organizers were required to indicate if audiovisual equipment would be needed when submitting the session. AHA staff will contact organizers in the fall to confirm orders. As indicated by the Annual Meeting Guidelines, AV equipment cannot be ordered through the AHA after June 1. Presenters may order equipment directly from the hotel at their own expense.
  • Please note that due to the high cost of rental, the AHA cannot provide computers for sessions. Those requesting projectors for PowerPoint presentations must supply their own laptop computers. The process works best if someone on the session volunteers to bring their laptop and allows those who are using the projector to load their presentations on that computer. Please ask presenters to email their presentation in advance. Otherwise, time is lost as presenters switch laptops.
  • Mac users: Because there several different types of Apple display ports, we strongly recommend that Mac users provide their own adaptor for connecting to html.
  • Presenters may wish to arrive at the meeting room half an hour before the scheduled start of the session to check the equipment, which will be placed in the meeting room approximately one hour before the session is scheduled to begin.

For Affiliate Sessions

Affiliates are responsible for ordering equipment for sessions solely sponsored by the organization. Policies vary by organization, and some affiliates do not provide AV equipment for sessions. Please contact the organization sponsoring your session in advance to confirm whether equipment will be available.

Problems Onsite

The staff in the AHA Headquarters Office can help. Workers in AHA t-shirts will circulate throughout the meeting hotels and check each meeting room to make sure that equipment is in working order, that rooms are at a comfortable temperature, and that water is available for the speakers. Feel free to flag them down if you have any problems or concerns.

Recording Policy

The AHA and the press occasionally record sessions for use in broadcast and electronic media. Presenters who do not wish for their session to be recorded can opt out by completing this form by October 31. Presenters appearing on more than one session should fill out a separate form for each session they would like to opt out of recording.

Anyone who wishes to audio or video record must obtain permission of participants. The AHA is not responsible for unauthorized recording but does reserve the right to revoke registration of anyone who records sessions without appropriate permissions.

Live Tweeting

To facilitate virtual conversations arising from the annual meeting, the AHA encourages attendees to live tweet using both the meeting hashtag and the session hashtag, which is simply "s" and the session number: for example, session #1 would be hashtag #s1. Participants are encouraged to share their Twitter handles at the beginning of their presentations. Speakers presenting material that they do not wish to be live tweeted should make a request to the audience at that point, as well.

Last Minute Changes at the Meeting

If a participant is unexpectedly obliged to withdraw from the session for any reason, the chair should handle the problem or enlist the Program Committee chair’s or co-chair’s aid. Changes will be made online and in the meeting app. In addition, an announcement of the change should be made at the beginning of the session.