ossamenta: Tanner from Medieval manuscript (Vitgarvare (Nürnberg 12brüderstiftung))
[personal profile] ossamenta
A few days ago I was linked to a post on academic conference etiquette, which in turn linked to a post on conference rules. I thought they could be very useful, since this will be my first talk at a "proper" conference. Some things were obvious, such as practice your talk beforehand and don't overrun your time slot. Although I got a bit worried when they said that a 20 minute talk (check) would equal 10-12 full A4 pages. I have three... Admittedly, both pages seem to run under the assumption that you will write your talk and then read what you've written - something I'm not so keen on, as it doesn't captivate the audience, especially if it's a topic they're not very interested in. The better talks I've heard have been people using notes and keywords rather than a full text, which is the method I'm planning to use. I haven't "read" it out loud yet, hopefully tomorrow when I've got most of the images for the powerpoint set up. I've got the slot just before lunch, so I figure that if I'm a couple of minutes short people will probably not mind too much. But I better not end up with a five minute talk and twenty minutes for questions!

I still can't find some images I want to use. Department of "I know I have seen such an image somewhere (during the 17 years I've studied archaeology)" is not very helpful.

Date: 2011-08-29 12:51 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
Admittedly, both pages seem to run under the assumption that you will write your talk and then read what you've written

I have noticed that this seems to be really common in history- and humanities-related fields, and really rare in science. I am with you that the better talks are not read.

The method I use is 1 slide per minute, leave 5 minutes for questions. So at the conferences I've pretended at, for a fifteen minute slot I'd have ~10 slides, and if I ran over ten minutes a little and only left 3 for questions, I did not feel very bad about it. I make notecards with prompts on them, but rarely actually look at them when actually presenting. The slide:minute ratio will of course vary--data-heavy slides take longer to discuss, background slides or "look at these pretty picture" slides are faster. So if you have more of one kind than the other, that definitely changes the ratio.

Date: 2011-08-29 11:43 am (UTC)
oursin: Drawing of hedgehog in a cave, writing in a book with a quill pen (Writing hedgehog)
From: [personal profile] oursin
First link not working?
10-12 doublespaced A4 pages is too long for 20 minutes, I would say. I usually allow around 8.
I tend to read my papers - because I use a lot of quoted material partly, and also to keep myself on track - but it's how you read rather than if. Look up and talk to the audience, don't bury your head and mumble.

And if you have slides, DON'T just read out the text on the slides! there are few things more irritating than the talk which is both written up on the slides and being merely reiterated by the speaker.
Edited (I hate trackpads) Date: 2011-08-29 11:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-08-29 04:37 pm (UTC)
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [personal profile] oursin
Powerpoint is great when you have images - it's a vast improvement over slides and making sure they are in the right order/right way up/your hosting institution actually has a slide projector with working carousel or slide-feeder. I can hardly stand it when somone whacks up a PP slide of text of a huge quotation and reads the entire thing. Or has bullet points and reads them out as they come sliding into place.

Date: 2011-08-29 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've done several conference presentations now, some smaller ones like the APWG and others larger like the AEA. I never use a script. It doesn't suit my style as it encourages me to read too fast and then it gets faster and faster and horrible to listen to. Plus, as others have mentioned, script readers often look down and mumble. They don't engage with the audience.

I prefer to use notes, either bullet points of small chunks of text broken up that I then talk around. This makes sure that I mention key things, but keeps my reading speed to a proper level and also that I look up and make eye contact with the audience.

I would say definitely practice and time it. Do this several times as nerves on the day itself will probably make you go a little faster anyway. So allow for that. And don't over-run because some conferences will cut you off if you try to so you risk losing the opportunity to make certain points.

Stephanie Vann

Date: 2011-08-29 06:22 pm (UTC)
phredd: (Default)
From: [personal profile] phredd
When I see someone pull out a literal sheaf of papers to read at a conference, they've pretty much lost me. They almost always just lower their head and drone through their writing like it was a dirge. Also, these papers often seem not to be written or organized properly for a presentation to an audience.

I've followed holyschist's advice re: slides/minutes ratio with some success. I also had written up notes, but I don't end up using them. Instead, my slides serve to guide me through how I wanted to organize my presentation as much as they serve to show the audience what I'm talking about.

Date: 2011-08-30 02:38 am (UTC)
ragnvaeig: (Manuscript)
From: [personal profile] ragnvaeig
Based on my own talk outlines, I'd say you're probably about on for 20 minutes, maybe a little long. My outlines usually end up being about 8.5/9 minutes per page, but I deliberately include useful segue sentences so I remember how I wanted to connect ideas.

Sympathies on the images problem. I do the same thing!

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