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League of California Cities
Presentation Guidelines

Our goal is to provide exceptional educational experiences, networking opportunities, and innovative tools that will make attendees and their cities more successful. Studies show that adults learn best when they are actively involved in the process rather than passively listening or watching. Most conference attendees are knowledgeable about the subject, and therefore are interested in hearing what others know and what their experiences have been. Accordingly, we urge you to plan your presentation with these suggestions in mind.

  • "The presentation was a 'sales' pitch for a particular product or service."
  • "I couldn't read the slides."
  • "One speaker took so much time that the others were not able to give their full presentations."
  • "I'd like more practical knowledge."
  • Relevant content for experienced audiences that stretches thinking and provides new approaches.
  • Content which is delivered in an engaging way and draws on the experience of the attendees.
  • Examples and case studies of real success (and successful failures).
  • Try to add stories, anecdotes, testimonials or demonstrations that emphasize your point. We all remember a good story, and thus more easily the lesson with it.
  • Provide tools and information that audience can implement.
  • If there are other speakers in your session, coordinate with them in advance to decide your speaking order and ensure that all presentations fit into the assigned time allotment.
  • Selling from the podium creates conflict of interest problems. Education sessions at the Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum should never be an advertisement. Therefore presentations may not include any commercialism for specific products or consulting services.
Zoom Meetings Tips for Presenters
  • Test your video and audio before your meeting at zoom.us/test.
  • If you can, connect to the internet via an ethernet cable. Zoom works well on wireless, but the quality is best on a solid wired internet connection, so wire in when you can. Otherwise, just make sure you have serviceable Wi-Fi.
  • We recommend testing your bandwidth prior to the presentation by using your favorite bandwidth tester online.
  • Videos can take a lot of bandwidth to play, please take this into consideration before including them in your presentation. Please also refrain from using animated transitions.

Your surroundings say a lot about you. Let’s make sure that they say the right things.

  • Position yourself so that most of the light is coming from in front of you (behind your monitor), instead of behind you. If you have a window behind you, close the blinds or curtains.
  • Adjust your camera. Put your camera at face level for the most flattering angle (use a stand, or stack of books if you are using a laptop camera), relatively close to you.
  • Explore Zoom setup options. Select ‘Settings’ and consider using a virtual background, or ‘Touch up my appearance’ under ‘Video’.
  • Dirty clothes in a pile, an unmade bed, and so forth can give a bad impression. Clean up and have a simple background (a plain wall, a potted plant, or a bookshelf works perfectly). Zoom also provides virtual backgrounds to help you disguise even the most cluttered environments. If you plan to use a virtual background, please test it during the scheduled session rehearsal to ensure you or your wardrobe are not blending into the background.
  • When possible, try to use a good quality camera and headset with a microphone instead of your computer’s built-in ones. Zoom works just fine with the built-ins, but the quality is even sharper with higher quality hardware.
  • Please do not participate in the session from your cell phone. It can be very spotty and at times sparse connectivity.
  • Barking dogs, and household noises are not just distracting in person, they can also be distracting via Zoom! Find a quiet space, shut the door, and mute yourself when not presenting.
  • Look at the camera. This takes a bit of getting used to but try to look at the camera when you’re talking. This will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact and attendees will feel much more included in the conversation. It’s important to gauge reactions by looking at the screen but alternating that with looking at the camera makes the audience feel like you’re really talking to them.
  • Please do not participate in the meeting while driving or doing other activities.
Submitting Your Session Materials

Presentation materials are an important element of the League's educational programs.  Session materials must be submitted through our website. It is the League’s goal to make a positive impact on the environment by integrating environmental considerations into all conferences. Beginning in 2008, all conference handouts and materials are only offered and distributed to attendees in electronic formats and made available online.

  • When naming your session materials, please use your session title and your last name. For example: "YourSessionTItle - Smith"

Please contact the education department at education@cacities.org with any questions, concerns or assistance needs you may have.

© League of California Cities