Guidelines for Digital.gov event presenters

This checklist is for people preparing to present at a Digital.gov event. You may find these guidelines helpful when presenting at other meetings and events, too.

Preparing your presentation

  • Make your points relevant to federal employees, the primary audience for our events.
  • Follow Digital.gov Community Guidelines. Don’t express your political or religious views, or use inappropriate language.
  • Use plain language in both your slides and speech.
  • Follow the “less is more” principle. Use fewer slides, fewer images, and less text.
  • Expect some re-work after submitting slides. Be available to make edits.

Presentation slide requirements

  • Submit slides 5 days before the event to digitalgov@gsa.gov. Copy the event hosts.
  • Submit slides in PowerPoint file format (.pptx).
  • Keep the file size under 25 MB.
  • To optimize images, select an image, then click File from the main menu. From the list of options, click on Compress Pictures. In the pop-up dialog box, select On-screen (150 ppi) in the drop-down list for Picture Quality, and make sure All pictures in this file. is selected for Apply to.
  • Run the accessibility checker in PowerPoint before submitting slides to Digital.gov; remediate all errors and warnings, including “reading order.” Reach out to your agency’s 508 Program Manager if you need any help.
  • Meet accessibility requirements, including:
    • Use large text.
    • Use typefaces (fonts) that are easy to read like Source Sans Pro or Merriweather.
    • Limit the amount of text to include only your main points. Avoid extra text that you don’t plan to speak to.
    • Use text that has a readable color contrast against background colors.
    • Avoid complicated visuals such as patterned backgrounds, and overlapping photos or graphics.
    • Don’t include visuals that you won’t be speaking about.
    • Include slide numbers on every slide.
    • Include alt text for every image.

    Watch these presentations training videos for more information on creating accessible presentations.

  • Link to government websites by default.
  • Follow the GSA Linking Policy if you link to any non-government sites; all non-government links will require additional review and approval.
  • Recommend and link to books, papers, or studies published by the federal government only. Do not recommend or link to content published by other organizations.
  • Do not include any potentially sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII), including the presenter’s geographic location, age, birthday, etc.
  • Do not use copyrighted images, pictures, graphics unless your agency owns the image rights.
  • Do not name (endorse) commercial products, services, or non-federal organizations.
  • Do not use non-government logos such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, etc.
  • Use your .gov or .mil emails if you provide contact information for presenters. Do not list non-government company names or contact information.
  • Share official agency accounts if you provide any social media accounts. Do not use non-government accounts such as your personal LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Day of presentation

  • Dress professionally (business casual).
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Keep your camera on. This allows people to see you, including those who lip read.
  • Only share the approved presentation slides; do not show other content during your presentation.
  • Announce the slide number instead of saying "Next slide."
  • To meet Section 508 requirements for accessibility, provide “audio descriptions” as follows:
    • Use large text.
    • Say your name each time you begin to speak, or announce the new speaker when there is a speaker change.
    • Describe all images on the slides.
    • Speak to the text on the slides including any links referenced on the slides.
    • Describe the information that is important for understanding the content.
    • Try not to read your slides word-for-word.

Read these tips on how to create accessible multimedia content and make audio descriptions for more information.

Additional guidelines for presenters who aren’t federal employees

  • We’ll send you Model Release and Gratuitous Service forms. Complete and return them to us as soon as you receive them.
  • Do not advertise or appear to advertise your organization or its products or services.
  • When referring to your role, state that you’re a contractor with XYZ federal agency. Do not identify your company by name.
  • Share official agency accounts if you provide any social media accounts. Do not use non-government social media accounts.
  • Use your .gov or .mil email if you provide your contact information. Do not list your private company contact information.