8th GEWEX Open Science Conference: Extremes and Water on the Edge

May 6 - 11, 2018 | Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Instructions for Poster Lightning Talks

Poster Lightning Talk sessions will be held each morning at 10AM on Tuesday through Thursday and will last 30 minutes. Monday’s Lightning Talk session will run from 10:05AM to 10:35AM. During these sessions, a select number of the poster presenters for that day will have two minutes to briefly present his or her poster. The presenters have already been selected. This format allows for information to be shared with the audience quickly and efficiently and allows a higher number of individuals to give a short oral presentation about their findings.

Presenters will create a short 1-slide presentation.

While one lightning speaker is presenting using one podium, the next speaker will be at the second podium getting ready so that there are no delays between presentations. The smooth, rapid flow of talks is what makes the lightning sessions so exciting.

  1. Keep the wording to a minimum so that the audience is focused on what you are saying in the short time allotted, not trying to read words on your slides.
  2. Keep your presentation focused on visuals and feel free to get creative with how you lay out your information and/or data.
  3. There is no time reserved for discussion or questions after each presentation.

The poster lightning presentations MUST be uploaded to the presentation laptops THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR SESSION. This is a change from earlier instructions, and will allow minimal interruption to the presentations occurring during the morning plenary sessions.

  1. Upload your presentation at the meeting to the computers in the Wildrose Ballroom room the night before your presentation.

Poster Lightning Talk Schedule

You will present your lightning talk according to your poster group. You can find your poster group here; it is part of your poster number and is either A, B, C, or D.

Those in Group A will present on Monday, those in Group B will present on Tuesday, those in Group C will present on Wednesday, and those in Group D will present on Thursday.

 Poster Lightning Presentation Tips

  1. If you are in a Poster Lightning Talk session, you will have just two minutes to present the most important and fascinating highlights of your work.
  2. Use illustrations, your actual poster or graphic material on the slide – as opposed to textual content alone – to increase audience comprehension and retention.
  3. Remember that you are the presenter, NOT the PowerPoint slide. Use your slide to emphasize a point, keep yourself on track, and illustrate a point with a graphic or photo.
  4. Do not use unusual fonts or a font smaller than 24 points. To test your slide, print it out on standard paper and drop it to the floor. If you can easily make out the words while standing, the audience probably will be able to read your slide.
  5. Keep it simple, clean, and concise. Use consistent wording.
  6. Keep the background simple. Colors should be sharp and in strong contrast without being unsettling.


The role of the Session Chair during a Poster Lightning session is extremely vital to the success of the session. The session chair:

  • Provides an overview of the session and the format for the audience in the first few minutes of the session.
  • Makes sure that the first two presentations are uploaded an open on the two available laptops. The display screen will alternate between the laptops at the press of a button. The Session Chair will switch between presentations by pressing this button. A technician will be available in the room to assist with checking and launching presentations immediately prior.
  • Ensures presenters stick to the allotted time and are ready at the alternate podium to begin as soon as the previous presentation ends.
  • Monitors the time limits closely to ensure that the presentation time limits are enforced for each presenter.
  • Makes sure all the presentations from the presenters are saved on the laptop at the end of the session in a folder named for the session.

While one lightning speaker is presenting using one screen and laptop, the next speaker will be at the second podium and laptop getting ready so that there are no delays between presentations. The smooth flow of talks is what makes the lightning sessions engaging. We are depending on the Chairs to keep the sessions on time.