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Best practices for planning your presentation

Welcome — and thank you for participating in SMX! We want to help make your experience with us as straight-forward and rewarding as possible. To that end, we invite you to review the best practices and considerations on this page, which will empower you to create an exceptional presentation for the SMX audience.


Our audience is looking for advanced-level practical information and actionable techniques that can be implemented into their day-to-day work. Avoid the salesy pitch and focus on educating the audience. 

Actionable Information

Jump right into sharing practical takeaways with real-world examples or case studies that don’t focus on the attributes of one particular solution. Taking a thought-leadership position about how to think differently about accomplishing goals is a great way to teach attendees to solve a challenge or implement new techniques. And note: There is no need to go into detail about why your topic is important, or its history, with our experienced digital marketing audience.


Keep your topic narrow in scope and be realistic about what you can teach someone within your session time period. Too little information will leave your audience wanting more, and too much information will make it hard for viewers to keep up.

Speaker Diversity

Our audience also likes to hear from speakers with different backgrounds and perspectives. Please consider speakers who represent diversity.


A clear and concise description that describes what viewers will be able to do as a result of attending will attract more attendees to your session. A good description consists of:

    • Session Title: A benefit-oriented title of no more than 15 words
    • Session Description: Two-three sentences about what you will present, and three-four bullets describing what attendees will be able to do differently or better as a result of attending your session. 

Here’s a sample description:

Implications Of The New World On Your MarTech Stack And Processes

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected society in numerous ways. It has also shown a spotlight on many companies’ IT, e-commerce, marketing, and customer support organizations that are struggling to transition quickly. In this session, we’ll provide a practical guide to ensure you can effectively operate during the pandemic and emerge from it positioned to succeed.

After this session, you’ll be able to:

        • Market successfully amidst changing operating and business models
        • Understand data management implications and multichannel integrations in your martech ecosystem
        • Discuss the importance of being agile
        • Implement a 10-step checklist for building or evolving your martech stack

Slide Design and Presenting

Copy & Visuals: You’ll want to design your slides with good visuals and minimal copy so they are aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. If you have a lot of information you want viewers to have for future reference, consider providing a separate document. Your deck should support your speaking points, and not contain everything you intend to say.


Number of Slides: A good rule of thumb is to change slides or builds every 60-90 seconds of your presentation time to keep the attention of your audience. For a 30-minute presentation that’s 20-30 slides.

Font & Color: Consider the viewer when choosing colors and using fonts. You’ll want to use at least a 24pt font so viewers can see your copy on smaller screens. Use contrasting colors for better readability.


Example of a good slide deck design:

Check out this deck and this one for ideas on how to approach your own presentation.

Presenting & Recording Virtually

The following are musts for a good experience from both the attendee’s and speakers’ perspectives.

    • Start with a hard-wired ethernet cable. If this is not an option, you may use a strong WiFi signal
    • Use a USB desktop microphone to best avoid hearing ambient noise
    • Ensure there is good lighting in your room
    • Present in front of a neatly composed background
    • The camera should be level with your face
    • Have a glass of water handy
    • Please do not refer to your session as a “webinar”
    • Please resist the urge to end with “… and I look forward to your questions!” or similar
    • You should appear on screen along with your slides intermittently, especially at the beginning and end (your recording should not be JUST your presentation slides) 
    • Complete a tech check with the software you are using to record or live stream prior to the recording or live event. The tech check should be done from the same location and with the same set-up you use for the recording or live event.

Strive to get the best lighting and an uncluttered background for your presentation. If you want some suggestions, enjoy the feedback speakers get on Twitter from @RoomRater.

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