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Guide to 3MT

This is a guide to assist students who are preparing to compete in the 3MT competitions.

The 3MT Slide

When designing your slide, keep these in mind:

  • You are the presentation, not your slide
  • A good slide enhances, not detract, from your words
  • One single static PowerPoint slide
  • No transitions, animations, or 'movement' of any description
  • Slide to be presented from the beginning of your oration
  • No additional electronic media / props (e.g., sound, video files, costumes)

An engaging visual presentation can make or break any oration. Ensure that your slide is legibleclear and concise.

  • Less is more
    Use minimal text - the audience should listen to you, not read your slide. Complicated graphics may also distract the audience. 
  • Personal touches
    Stories or anecdotes allows your audience to understand the impact of your research, especially if it relates to them.
  • Creativity drives interest
    You should not rely on your slide to convey your message. It should complement your verbal presentation. 
  • Work your message
    Think about how your slide might complement your presentation. Is there a metaphor that helps explain your research?

What to include

There is no prescribed template or set format for creating a 3MT slide, so you will need to design your own. When doing so, aim to only include things that are critical, essential, and relevant. Bring your audience’s attention to the images through your words. Below are some examples of how graphics have been used used to complement a presentation.



Images / icons / symbols Graphs or charts Processes

Consider using graphics that are licensed under Creative Commons (CC) or are in the public domain. For CC content, permissions have already been granted by the copyright owners and they may be used as per the licenses. Note that you will be required to provide appropriate attributions when using CC-BY images.

Sites with images that do not require attributions

You can also search for CC images, or images in the public domain at

Icons with CC / site-specific licenses


  • Always check the source to ensure that you are permitted to use the image.
  • Images should at least be 150 dpi, though 300 dpi would be better.
  • Be mindful of the size of your image. Ensure that the image is visible to the audience.
  • Avoid:
    • Pixelated / low resolution images
    • Images with watermark (copyright protected)
    • Overcrowding

Design guidelines

  • Use professional looking fonts - Times New RomanGaramondGeorgiaGill SansTahomaVerdana
  • Use at least 24-point font size
  • Keep to a theme of 2 or 3 colours
  • Use a colour palette generator
  • Consider the colours in your images
Refer to for a guide on background colour and list of colour palette generators.
  • Ensure sufficient margin space and white space between elements
  • Avoid clutter as it can overwhelm and/or distract the audience
  • Provide a path for the audience to navigate from one area to the next in a logical manner
  • Follow reading gravity: Left to right, top to bottom
  • Use arrows to guide, if necessary

Useful resources