Presenting at Remote Events#

Giving a talk or presenting a poster at a remote conference poses particular challenges. Whether this occurs in a live or pre-recorded event, some factors should be paid special attention to related to the technical quality of the presentation and its accessibility.

Visual Elements of the Presentation#

A presentation for a wide audience can include photos, illustrations, graphics and icons. There are many sites from which you can obtain these types of resources for free (with attribution) or paid to use in your presentations.

Some of the websites that offer these resources for free are:

Technical Set-up for Recording a Talk#

Presenting a talk through a digital medium involves tackling some technical challenges, including managing video and sound accessibility and quality.

Video Recording#

  • Use captions during the talk to aid accessibility.

  • A useful step to ensure that people with different devices (and screens) can appreciate the video’s content is to develop the presentation using your smallest screen.

  • Even if you are only sharing a slide deck, seeing you on video can help your audience to keep their concentration on the presentation. You don’t need the best camera or video post-processing software, but managing your lighting will do wonders for your video quality.

Sound Setting#

  • For the members of your audience who aren’t hard of hearing, sound quality will always be more important than video quality.

  • Before the presentation, record your voice using the same device you will be using in the presentation to check the sound quality and make any adjustments you can to ensure a crisp sound.

Video Recording#

  • The simplest way to record the contents of your talk, including your video, voice and presentation, is to record it using a videoconference service (like Zoom) or recording software like OBS. See this guide by the Software Sustainability Institute on how to configure OBS for screen recording.

  • If you are recording your talk to present it asynchronously you can use platforms like Amara to generate your subtitles from the video.

What to Expect from Speaking Invitations#

If you have published a research piece (like a scientific paper, software or blog), or if you are known for having expertise in your field, you are likely to get invited to give talks at events such as public forums, panels and conference sessions. It could also be something you do upon request, for example, for graduate schools where young researchers can learn from your research work or career path. It is beneficial for your career progression as more people get to know you, learn about your work and establish collaborations. By giving talks at different institutions and events you can receive timely feedback on your progress and improve the quality and impact of your research. For event organisers, inviting experts as speakers can increase the popularity of their events because the participants have opportunities to learn from experts and exchange ideas on topics of common interest.

Honoraria for Delivering a Talk#

Honoraria recognises the speaker’s work by recompensing them for the time and expertise they invested in developing and delivering a talk.

An invited talk is often expected to be delivered for free as it benefits both the organisers and the speakers. However, it is not a fair situation for all, especially when people have personal financial needs, or if they are self-funded. In some cases, honoraria are offered to speakers by event organisers to recompense for the talk preparation time and cover related costs such as accessibility requirements for remote events, or travel and accommodation for in-person events. How much they are offered will vary depending on the organisation (non-profit or private sector), nature of participation (such as short talk, panel discussion or seminar) and also the status of the talk, for example, you might be offered more for being a keynote speaker at a large conference. Many academics are never offered or do not accept honoraria payments for many personal (tax, admin overhead in handling small fund, sufficient salary or personal interest in the event) or professional (their organisation policy prohibits the receiving of honoraria or they donate back to the host organisation) reasons.

To have a diverse and inclusive academic community, we need to be aware that not all researchers can afford to dedicate their time to volunteer/unpaid labour or have the money to cover the cost of giving an invited talk. Therefore, organisers should consider offering honoraria, if they have sufficient budget, as developing talks takes a substantial amount of time and effort.

For more information about giving invited talks see the blog “Speaking as an Academic: What to expect when you are invited to share your work”. Also, see Fix the Gap project by ‘’ that aims to crowdsource speaking engagement fees & honoraria details to empower researchers to ask for compensation.

Speaker Rider for Invited Talks#

A Speaker rider is a framework for speakers to list their expectations from events where they would consider giving an invited talk. Speaker riders allow speakers to evaluate if speaking at an event aligns with their objectives and values. Most importantly, it has a specific role in encouraging organisers to make necessary arrangements to ensure inclusion and accessibility for a diverse audience.

In open source space, Tatiana Mac’s Speaker Rider is highly cited and reused to make open source events more accessible and beneficial for the historically excluded and marginalised communities.


Speakers: What You Can Do

As Tatiana Mac put it in their speaker rider, speaking comes with immense privilege. Not everyone gets to be a speaker, but if you’re in a position to do so, we encourage you to use this privilege to check whether the event you’re speaking at shares your values, and/or ask that they make sure their event is a better and more inclusive space for historically marginalized communities.

Source: Pudding and OpenNews