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Virtual Speaker Toolkit

Presenting to an audience virtually can be challenging (whether pre-recorded or live) since you cannot see the audience reaction. We’ve put this Virtual Speaker Toolkit together to help you anticipate what to plan for while you prepare your presentation and deliver it.

Preparing Your Content

Engaging Content

Similar to an in-person event, think of ways to keep your audience engaged to discourage them from tuning out. When creating your slides, focus on telling a story.  Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial. Avoid using a lot of words and instead use pictures and graphs to tell your story. Finally, create your presentation using 16:9 aspect ratio.

Respect Time Limits

Practice your presentation to be sure it fits into the talk time limit given in your letter from ASPET so that we don’t have to cut off any of the speakers at the end and we can take questions from the audience.

Be Mindful of your Global Audience

Your content is crossing international borders. Some acronyms can mean different things in other languages, be sure to mention the full word before using an acronym. Be sure to review your slides for any cultural sensitivities.

ASPET Slide Template and Photo Permission Icons

As you prepare your slide presentation, consider using ASPET PowerPoint slide template.

Although EB will be recording the presentation to be made available to meeting registrants through May 31, 2021, we are taking the steps to protect your data by requiring registrants to agree to the Photography and Recording Policy that prohibits capturing your data without your permission. We are also providing you icons to add to your slides to indicate whether or not you give permission for attendees to capture each slide.

As you prepare your slides, we ask that you incorporate one of the photo or no-photo icons in the lower right corner of each slide.

No Photo / Recording

Camera with an X: Photography/recording/sharing/remixing/derivative works of the material are prohibited.  All rights are reserved.

OK to Photo / Recording - Creative Commons License

Camera with a Checkmark/CCBY-NC-SA icon: Photography/recording of the material is permitted.  Sharing and remixing are permitted with appropriate attribution as stated in CCBY-NC-SA 4.0 International, subject to commercial patents and trademarks, when applicable.

Additional advice can be found in the 60-minute ASPET Focus on Pharmacology webinar titled “Designing Science Presentations: Simple Principles that Can Allow for Great Impact on Audiences” available in the ASPETConnect member-only community, Focus on Pharmacology library.

Let's Get Technical

Using Home Wi-Fi?

  • Boost your Wi-Fi strength – sit close to your router, have as few obstructions between you and your router as possible (i.e., walls, microwaves, TVs, etc.).
  • Close everything on your computer that is not being used for the presentation.
  • If sharing internet with other household users, ask them to minimize their internet use during your presentation.
  • Disconnect from your business VPN.

Sound / Microphone

Pick a quiet spot!  Inform other household members about your presentation to get their cooperation. Put a sign on the door to the room you are in reminding them you are “on air.” 

Most computers have a built-in microphone which will work fine. To ensure your voice sounds clear and external noises are kept to a minimum, you could also consider an external USB microphone that plugs into your laptop or a headset with a built-in microphone can also be plugged into your computer.  Whatever microphone you plan to use, be sure to test it in advance.

What if I can’t get my slides to share on the screen?

Upload your final slides to the speaker portal. If you have trouble connecting to your slides during the session, then ask the tech to pull up your slides.   You will have to instruct the tech when you want to advance the slide by saying “next slide.”

Setting Yourself up for Success

Your environment or the location where you are presenting from is just as important as your equipment that you are using.


  • Identify a space where there is minimal to no background noise or distractions in the camera frame.
  • How is the lighting in the room? Take note of the time of day when you will actually present. The natural sunlight could differ if you are presenting during the day or at night.

Your speaking position

For some speakers, standing up while presenting can help make this as real as possible. Consider a standing desk or placing your laptop at a higher position to allow you to stand like you are presenting in a room with attendees.

Desk/camera angle

  • Be sure the camera is at eye level so your image is not looking up or down into the camera.
  • Look into your camera, not down at your screen or keyboard. To remind yourself to look at the camera, attach a post-it note or craft-store googly eyes to either side of the camera to remind yourself where to look.
  • While your head and shoulders should dominate the screen, consider sitting or standing back a little further so that you can move around a little and not appear stiff like sitting in a chair.

Background & lighting

  • Keep your background neutral and free of distractions. Consider using the ASPET virtual background (download below).
  • If you are using a virtual background practice using that background. Pick a background that contrasts with your clothing.  If your image is glitchy with the background fading in and out, then do not use.  Instead be sure your actual background is appropriate and won’t provide moving distractions to the audience. 
  • Setting a Zoom background (scroll down to Users section)
  • Have the brightest source of light facing you or coming from the left or right at a 45-degree angle so that you are clearly visible when speaking.  Definitely do not have your brightest light behind you.
  • Be sure to check lighting at the time of day when you will be presenting.
  • Avoid having a window in the frame. This will cause the background to be overexposed.

ASPET Virtual Backgrounds

Download one of these images if you'd like to use a virtual background during your talk.

ASPET Zoom Background 1
ASPET Zoom Background 2
ASPET Zoom Background 3

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Record yourself delivering your presentation. Share your video with a colleague or family member to get some feedback.

Day of Presentation

  • Ensure your computer audio and video is working.
  • Switch your laptop to “Do not disturb” mode (on Mac or on PC).
  • Keep a small bottle of water next to you.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Close any applications on your computer that are not needed.
  • Turn off your cellphone, your email pop-ups, etc.
  • Place a sign on your office door with “Presenting, Do Not Disturb.”
  • Dress as you would in the office. Wear solid colors or jewel tones and avoid stripes or wild patterns. Navy looks better than gray or black.
  • Log in 30 minutes prior to your scheduled session time, using the Zoom link sent to you, to greet your fellow presenters, do a technical check and do a quick run through of the session timing.
  • Make sure you are comfortable with the technology.
  • A strong, clear voice will not only be more audible, but it will also convey authority, credibility and confidence.
  • Remember to make eye contact with the camera.
  • Be natural and enjoy your experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the other speakers and topics at my symposium?

See the Program.

What day/time is my symposium being held?

Please check for an email from ASPET with the subject line “ASPET Speaker Logistics at EB 2021.” Or search the full program.

Please note, all times listed are in Eastern Daylight Time.  To convert to your time zone, use an online time converter.

How do I log in to give my talk?

A few days prior to the meeting, the online meeting platform provider will send an email that will contain the Zoom link to log in to give your presentation.  For those chairing a session, you will receive a Zoom link and a moderator link so you can facilitate the Q&A.

Will there be a green room to check my slide sharing?

By logging in 30 minutes prior to your presentation, you will have an opportunity to practice your slide sharing and do other audio-visual checks.

How do I create my speaker profile?

On March 19, you will receive an email from info@experimentalbiology.orgwith login credentials and instructions.  Follow the instructions to access the platform and create your profile. 

Can I log in earlier than 30 minutes prior to my session to do my AV checks?

No.  Other speakers from the prior session will still be using that channel. If you want to do an AV check, prior to the meeting, log into your speaker portal and schedule a time with the technician to do your AV check.  On the day of your presentation log in within 30 minutes of your scheduled session start time and the technician can do a quick AV check.

Am I presenting live or doing a pre-recording of my presentation?

ASPET speakers will be giving their talks live.  That means, you will present your talk live, in real-time, at the day and time indicated in your Speaker Logistic letter from ASPET.  Unless you have contacted the ASPET Meetings department prior to February 24 to make other arrangements, you will be giving your talk in real-time.

Do I need to turn in my presentation in advance?

Yes. Even though you will be giving your talk live, in real-time, we will need you to upload your slides in the speaker portal in these acceptable file types: .ppt; .pptx; .pps; .ppsx; .key; and .pdf as back-up by April 12.

Do I need to register for Experimental Biology?

Yes, all speakers must be registered by April 12 in order to access the virtual meeting platform.  Please check the instructions in your speaker logistics letter for details or contact us at

Do you have slide templates I can use?

Yes, you can download them under the slide template section.

Do I have to schedule a technical check appointment?

It is advisable that you attend a technical check meeting to ensure all of your equipment needed to present is working properly.

How do I schedule a technical check appointment?

In your speaker portal, you can schedule your technical check appointment.

Do I need special equipment (headset, dual monitor) in order to do my presentation?

No, you don’t need to have special equipment to present.  The microphone, camera and speaker standard to your computer is adequate. If you are using wireless air buds, ensure that they are charged prior to your presentation.

Do I need to have special software to present?

Yes.  We will be using Zoom Meeting Client.  If you don’t have Zoom, please do a FREE download (or update) to the latest application.

It is recommended you give your presentation on your PC/Mac, not a mobile device.

Do I have control over my slides when I am presenting?

Yes, you will be sharing your slides from your computer so you will be in control of your slides while presenting.

What should my Zoom display name be?

Using the name that is on your ASPET Logistic letters when you log into Zoom will assist the technician to be able to quickly identify you. When you enter your Zoom room, please ensure your camera and mic are turned off.

If I lost connection during my presentation, what do I do?

You can call in using your phone using the Zoom call in numbers that was included in your Zoom invite.

I am a speaker/poster presenter and received an email saying that I must create my Attendee Profile.  Do I have too?

Yes. Creating an Attendee Profile will allow other people to connect with you on the virtual platform.  You will be able to have chats or even impromptu video chats.  Having an Attendee Profile is the only way to utilize this function on the platform.

I am a speaker; how do I upload my slides?

  1. Log into your speaker portal.
  2. Go to your back-up slide task and click on it.
  3. Scroll down until you see choose file option.
  4. Click on choose file.
  5. Navigate and select your file and click upload.
  6. Click the Save/Continue button.
  7. Wait 5 minutes for the system to refresh.
  8. Go back and check to see if your slides were uploaded.
  9. Email EB - Info at  that let them know you revised your handout.

I made changes to my optional handout; how do I update it?

  1. Log into your speaker portal.
  2. Go to your handout task.
  3. Scroll down until you see the handout.
  4. Next to your handout is a red delete button.
  5. Click on the delete button.
  6. Click the Save/Continue button.
  7. Wait 5 minutes for the system to refresh.
  8. Go back and upload your revised handout.

I am a moderator; do I have to turn on my camera during the Q&A?

Although it is recommended for a better attendee experience, it is optional to turn on your camera during the Q&A.

I am a poster presenter; can I record my presentation?

Yes, you can have an audio recording of your poster presentation.

Is there a time limit to my poster audio recording?

Your poster audio recording should not be longer than 5 minutes.

How do I record my poster?

You log into the speaker portal and follow the steps to record your poster.  You can find detailed instructions on the EB website.

How do I format my poster?

Format your poster using an aspect ratio of 16:9 in landscape, 1 page poster.

Do I have to do an audio recording for my poster?

Doing an audio recording is optional, but highly recommended to help increase visibility for your poster.

Do I have to be available at a specific day and time to present my poster?

No, ASPET does not have required poster manning times in this virtual meeting, but we ask that you promptly answer questions from attendees about your research as they are received.

Will I have an opportunity to answer questions on my poster?

Yes.  Attendees can post a question in your poster’s Q&A area.  You will receive an email alert that you have a question.  You can log back into the portal to answer the questions.  All attendees will see these Q&As.  Attendees can also reach you via the EB People Finder feature and send you private written chat messages or request a time for a video chat.

When will I know if my abstract has been accepted for presentation for an oral symposium slot or a poster presentation?

All acceptance letters were emailed by March 1 to the first author. You can log back into the abstract submission portal to access a copy of your letter.

I’m interested in a session offered by another society at Experimental Biology. Can I attend?

Your badge for Experimental Biology gains you access to all of the 5 participating societies’ sessions.  

Where can I find more information about the other activities at Experimental Biology?

On the Experimental Biology website at

How else can I help make this a successful meeting?

Tell your friends and colleagues in the field about your participation at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology. Share the news via email, on social media, on department bulletin boards, and in conversations. Encourage them all to attend.

By agreeing to participate in ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2021, you are agreeing to:

  1. participate in a virtual session,
  2. agree to adhere to EB policies specifically the Code of Conduct, Scientific Integrity, Photography and Recording Policy and
  3. agree to having your talk recorded by EB and made available within the meeting platform to meeting registrants on-demand for 30 days after your session



Last Updated: May 12, 2021
Key Dates
April 27 – 30, 2021

ASPET Annual Meeting at EB 2021

Thank you to our Annual Meeting partners:

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