Before the Conference

  1. Use the online conference program to review the schedule and lineup for your session.
  2. Upload your paper to the online conference program two weeks prior to the event.
  3. As a courtesy, please email a copy of your paper to the chair and discussant(s) for your session. You can locate the email addresses for your fellow panelists by logging in to the online conference platform, navigating to your session, and clicking on the name of an individual chair or discussant. You must be logged in to view email addresses.
  4. For in-person presenters, prepare your presentation on a USB-A flash drive formatted for a Windows-based PC.

The Day of the Session

  1. If you are presenting in-person, arrive at the conference room 10 minutes before the session begins, and bring your USB-A flash drive. If you are presenting virtually, log in to the online conference platform early and navigate to your session. Be ready to enter the virtual Zoom meeting room when it opens. As a reminder, all sessions are being recorded.
  2. Be prepared to speak for no more than the allotted time as determined by the chair of the panel.
  3. Be courteous: set your phone to silent and turn off computer notifications.
  4. For in-person presenters, when it is your turn to present:
    • Stand at the podium at the red “X” on the floor.
    • Project your voice, and never have your back to the camera/rotating mic in the room to ensure virtual attendees can hear you.
    • Speak clearly and look to the session chair for presentation timing cues.
    • Share your screen (in slideshow view).
    • If you notice that you, or another colleague, are not called upon at the designated time to present, speak up so no one is missed and the session stays on schedule.
  5. For virtual presenters, when it is your turn to present, have your presentation opened and ready on your computer. Use the Share Screen feature in Zoom so that in-person audience members can see your presentation. Please remember to stop screen sharing when you have completed your presentation.
  6. The Chair of the session will:
    • Follow the order and timing listed for the session in the conference app or the print program to allow time for all presentations.
    • Introduce the session and all speakers (both virtual and in-person). Inform virtual audience members of the chat feature in Zoom if they would like to submit questions. Alert everyone that the Zoom meeting room will close abruptly for virtual attendees at the scheduled end time, so it is crucial that sessions do not run over the time allotment.
    • Instruct presenters and discussants to go to the podium and stand at the red “X’ on the floor to share comments.
    • If a presenter is virtual, turn the laptop around so they may view the audience.
    • Ensure that all presenters use the Share Screen feature in Zoom while they are presenting. Help the speakers keep their presentations within the allotted time and signal the amount of time remaining toward the end of their presentations.
    • When presentations have concluded and discussants have given their comments, return to the laptop at the podium and monitor the Zoom chat for questions or comments submitted by virtual audience members. Chairs should repeat any questions from the audience so people attending virtually can hear what is being asked.
    • Chairs should also provide a two-minute warning prior to the scheduled session end time to allow participants the time to complete their remarks before the session concludes.
  7. What should I do if my discussant doesn’t show up for the session? All discussants in the conference program have confirmed their participation and are expected to perform their roles. If there is an emergency that requires last-minute cancellation, discussants should make every effort to email the written comments that they would have given, so that the chair and panelists can read and discuss those comments during the session. In the event that the discussant(s) does not arrive for the session, and has not communicated their absence to any of the panelists, panelists should still present their papers and exchange feedback with one another. After the session, please inform the MPSA of the discussant’s absence by emailing the Conference Director (

General Presentation Tips

  1. Prepare your presentation with the time limit in mind. You will not be able to present your entire paper; summarize and focus on the main points.
  2. Prior to the conference, practice your presentation with a timer.
  3. If you are using a PowerPoint presentation, the slides should be used to complement your talk, not to replace it. Avoid placing lengthy blocks of text in your slides, and do not read from the slides during your talk. In general, PowerPoint presentations should be limited to brief summaries of the main points, and to findings that benefit from visual display.

Simplicity over Complexity. Clear, Large Visualizations. Practice Before You Present. Read these tips and more in the MPSA Blog, From Nerves to Knockout: Essential Tips for Conference Presentations” by James Steur, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! 

If you are participating virtually, you can view the virtual conference instructions here.

Looking for additional resources for the conference and/or your visit to Chicago?

View Chair GuidelinesDiscussant GuidelinesLightning Talk Guidelines and FAQsPoster Guidelines and FAQsInstructions for Virtual Attendees, and Tips for Using Zoom.

View Travel ResourcesOnsite DetailsA/V Details and Tech Support information, Local Dining options, Family Resources, and Health and Emergency Services locations and contact information. A Conference Guide can be found here.