Presentation Guidelines & Tips

Download the Official Slide Template

Overall Presentation Context

  • The presentation should be tailored for the Conference audience: Most attendees are experienced with pipeline terminology and basic environmental permitting terms. Unless the presentation is specifically titled “Pipeline Permitting 101” or “Wetland Permitting 101,” please assume that the audience is familiar with common terminology (such as FERC, NEPA, and EIS). Although it is common practice to define the terminology in the slides at first mention, please do not spend time defining them during the talk and especially avoid any sort of tutorial on what these common terms are. Those attendees that are new to the industry or are from a discipline other than environmental will have a link to the acronym list, below, as a reference.
  • Likewise, avoid overly technical subject area acronyms and complicated terms if not necessary to provide an overview to the target audience. For example, if the presentation is providing an overview of new air regulations, realize that the audience will not be composed of fellow air specialists. The presentation should be designed to inform and enlighten the audience such that its meaning should resonate with them. Therefore, emphasize the significance of the topic in a way that a group of permitting generalists will understand the take-home message without getting lost in the details.
  • Although the context is important, it should not be the priority or take much time out of the presentation. The audience is looking for a take-home story. Therefore, to the extent feasible, the presentation should focus on real-life project scenarios and lessons learned. Emphasize the major technical issues and the significance of the results.  Always ask yourself “How can I add interest for the audience?”
  • Personalize the message with real-life/real-project experience and photos/graphics. This will add interest for the audience.
  • If it fits your personality, adding some humor into the presentation can be effective to engage the audience.


Presentation Slides

  • Maintain a clear message to keep the audience attentive and interested.
  • Regarding the use of acronyms, refer to the first two comments in the section above. Avoid overuse of acronyms. Limit the amount of text and the number of bullet points on each slide. Rely more on visual communication and images to populate your slide deck.
  • Avoid overly complex graphics.
  • Practice the presentation before finalizing it so that the right amount of material is synced with the time allotted. Although “one slide per minute of presentation” is often used as a general guideline, the number of slides has to match the speaker’s presentation style. If the speaker prefers to talk for 3-5 minutes per slide, then limit the number of slides accordingly. Likewise, if the speaker wants to present some slides with limited information in rapid succession, then there will be time for additional slides.
  • Use object builds (animations) and slide transitions judiciously. Some animations are fine, but they should be subtle and professional. Additionally, these often will not present well if someone else needs to advance the slides for you.
  • Use graphics/charts/images to communicate data and assist in conveying the presentation message.
  • Use high-quality graphics. Redo a textbook/example graphic if it will be unclear. Remember that the slides need to look good to someone at the back of a large room at a conference, not just on the computer screen. Use a large font size and don’t be afraid of including white space if it makes the slide more readable.
  • The PowerPoint format should follow the official conference template. Download here.
  • Have a visual theme that is consistent, if possible.


Giving the Presentation

  • Preparation is key to a professional presentation in front of industry peers.
  • To assist the speaker in being more comfortable with public speaking, a co-worker or friend in the audience (or mentally select someone) could be planted as a “safe” person to look at and present to if the speaker has any difficulties.
  • Allow time for audience questions within the format allowed by the SGA Topic Handler for the presentation session. If it is flexible, the speaker should determine when they would like to handle questions (during or after) and explain this to the audience at the beginning of the presentation.
  • The speaker should know the message being presented so that he/she may speak with confidence – this will allow for a more natural and conversational presentation experience.
    • Do not read from the slides. The visual focus should be on the audience.
    • Limit the presentation to the allotted time.
    • Monitor the audience’s reaction to the materials and adjust accordingly. If questions are being taken during the presentation, and there seem to be several about a particular issue, the speaker should assess if they want to continue based on the apparent interest/topics that will have to be omitted later if time does not allow.
  • Do not read from your slides. Practice enough so that you are comfortable with your presentation and know what is on each slide. The audience can quickly scan each slide and read its contents quicker than you can read each bullet point. Therefore, the spoken content should always key from, but not repeat, what is on each slide.

It is recommended that if you feel that you need more text to read for your own comfort, create two versions of the presentation for your practice sessions. One version (for you only) would be a hard copy print-out with all of the information you need (large font recommended). A second version would have each bullet concisely summarized. Practice your presentation with the hard copy version in hand and the bulleted version on the screen behind you as it will be presented at the conference. With practice, you will “know” the bullets of each slide and will be able to recite (or paraphrase) the text you want without reading directly from your hard copy. Some presenters feel more comfortable actually having the large font version with them in hand as they present. However, with enough practice, we believe that you won’t even need this aid.


For more ideas on presentations, the speaker may review the advice of Aaron Weyenberg who creates Keynote presentations for TED talks.  Read more here.

Acronym List

ACHP Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
APE Area of Potential Effect
API American Petroleum Institute
ARPA Archaeological Resources Protection Act
ATWS Additional Temporary Workspace
BA Biological Assessment
BGEP Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
BMP Best Management Practice
BO Biological Opinion
CAA Clean Air Act
CEQ Council on Environmental Quality
CERCLIS Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System
Certificate Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CMP Compliance Monitoring Program
CS Compressor Station
CWA Clean Water Act
CZMA Coastal Zone Management Act
dB decibel
dBA A-weighted decibel
Dt/d Dekatherms per day
EA Environmental Assessment
E&S Erosion and Sediment
ECD Erosion Control Devices
EFH Essential Fish Habitat
EI Environmental Inspector
EIA Energy Information Administration
EIS Environmental Impact Assessment
EJ Environmental Justice
EM&CP Plan Environmental Management & Construction Plan
ESA Endangered Species Act
ESC Erosion and Sediment Control
FCV Flow-Control Valves
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
GHG Greenhouse Gas
GIS Geographic Information System
GPS Global Positioning System
HAP Hazardous Air Pollutant
HCA High Consequence Area
HDD Horizontal Directional Drill
hp Horsepower
INGAA Interstate Natural Gas Association of America
IPaC Information, Planning, and Consultation System
Ldn day-night average, or time-weighted, sound level
Leq equivalent sound levels
LNG Liquefied Natural Gas
MAOP Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure
MLV Mainline Valve
MMBTU/hr Million British Thermal Units per Hour
MMcfd Million Cubic Feet per Day
MP Milepost
NAAQS National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act
NPDES National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NRCS Natural Resource Conservation Service
NRHP National Register of Historic Places
NSA Noise Sensitive Areas
NSPS New Source Performance Standard
NSR New Source Review
NWI National Wetland Inventory
NWP Nationwide Permit
NWR National Wildlife Refuge
OEP Office of Energy Projects
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PEM Palustrine Emergent
PFO Palustrine Forested
PHMSA US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
FERC Plan FERC Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan
FERC Procedures FERC Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures
PSD Prevention of Serious Deterioration
psig Pounds per Square Inch Gauge
PSS Palustrine Scrub-Shrub
RICE Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine
ROW Right-of-way
RTU Remote Terminal Unit
RV Recreational Vehicle
SCADA Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
SDWA Safe Drinking Water Act
SGA Southern Gas Association
SHPO State Historic Preservation Office
SOC Species of Concern
SPCC Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan
SPL Sound Pressure Level
SSURGO Soil Survey Geographic
SWPPP Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
tcf trillion cubic feet
TDS Total Dissolved Solids
TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load
tpy Tons Per Year
TSS Total Suspended Solids
U.S. United States
UDCP Unanticipated Discovery of Contamination Plan
USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USC U.S. Code
USDOT U.S. Department of Transportation
USEPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
UST Underground Storage Tank
WMA Wildlife Management Area

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