top of page

Guidelines for Speakers

Regular meetings with presentations by guest speakers are an important RMMS activity. Here is some information that you might find helpful when preparing your presentation, based on some of the most successful RMMS presentations over the past few years.

Our Members

RMMS membership comes from all walks of life, but the people are mostly retired. Most have postgraduate degrees, and several had careers in the mineral/oil industries, although we certainly have our share of academicians, doctors, bankers, and lawyers. Most of them do have personal computers, but most are not nerds or hackers. Their common interest is maps and what one can learn from them. Many are also interested in historic maps and some have extensive collections of extremely rare maps. The Society's Website has information about the upcoming meetings, but you might also like to glance at Past Meetings to get a feel for some of our past presentations. The About Us page of our Website has the e-mail contact information for our Program Coordinator, the Young Scholar Lecture Coordinator, and other RMMS directors.

Speaker Guidelines


  • Topic: The topic of your lecture must appeal to a broad audience of map aficionados and novices. Popular topics are preferred over narrow, academic topics. In general, topics presented at RMMS meetings or RMMS-sponsored conferences, or other conferences sponsored by map-related professional organizations, are acceptable.

  • Length of Presentation: The presentation should be approximately 45-60 minutes long, with time allocated afterwards for Q/A.

  • Format: You may use notes but may not merely read a paper. A few stories from your personal experience would be welcome.

  • Terminology: Terminology used in the presentation should be understandable to the general public, with technical terms clearly defined.

  • Graphic Design: Titles of each slide should be legible, with the title of the map, the cartographer's name spelled out, and date of publication listed on every slide. Font, color, and position of information should be consistent throughout the presentation. Each slide should be succinct, with text easily readable from a distance. Captions may be used to explain the purpose of the slide in the presentation.

  • Design for Audience Comprehension: Successful presentations use overlays of colored circles, boxes and arrows that "magically appear" to focus the audience's attention on the significant feature being discussed in the slide. The best presentations use a progressive sequence of circles, boxes, and arrows when building the discussion from the introduction of the slide to additional points. This gives you a way to refer to the most important point. Some speakers also use a zoom effect to clarify a confusing slide. This is highly preferable to the use of a laser pointer.

  • Laser Pointers: If you plan to use a laser pointer, please use a green one, which is more visible from a distance than a red one. If you don't have one, please let us know and we can make one available for you. The key to using a laser pointer is to have a steady hand and move it slowly.

  • The Presenter: It is important to remember that the RMMS lecture is a fairly informal presentation to a general audience, not simply an adaptation of a professional journal article. You should feel at ease with the audience, maintain eye contact with the attendees, and expect questions from individuals at any time if a particular point needs clarification.

  • Your Audience: The group is informal and eager to learn. You will be very welcome.

Locations and Logistics

  • Regular Meeting Room: Regular RMMS meetings take place at History Colorado, Research Center, downtown Denver.  Please click here for parking information and map.  Attendees should enter the building at the staff entrance, on Lincoln St. between 12th and 13th Avenues.  There will be a greeter at that door for the RMMS event.  Please allow a few extra minutes to check in with security; if you bring a large bag, you will need to use a locker outside the Research Center to store it. The Research Center is on the second floor.  

  • Meeting Time: Meetings begin at 5:30 pm with a short session of announcements about forthcoming events. You can count on having all the time that you need from about 5:45 to 6:45 pm, allowing time for Q/A. The library closes at 8 pm.

  • Room Access: The Program Coordinator will arrive at the room at about 5:00 pm. There isn't any room access until History Colorado personnel unlock the door and set up the equipment. 

  • Displays: Our members are always interested in seeing exhibits of antique maps and map-related artifacts. You may display your cartographic treasures on the tables at the sides and back of the room. We usually allow time after the lecture for our members and guests to peruse these exhibits and ask questions about them.

  • Alternate Location: For off-site meetings or symposia held in conjunction with other organizations such as the University of Denver, OCTA, various libraries or museums, announcements will be sent by mail and e-blast to the speaker, all RMMS members, and other organizations. Information will also be posted on the RMMS website (

  • Announcements: Your presentation will be announced on our Website ( We also send out snail-mail announcements to our members, as well as several e-blasts to our members and other organizations. These look quite similar to the information that we post on the Web site and include your name, affililation, title of your lecture, short synopsis of your presentation, and a short biographical sketch. Feel free to brag about yourself!

bottom of page