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Giving a Paper at an International Conference: How to Prepare Johanna E. Katchen ( 柯安娜 ) National Tsing Hua University ( 國立清華大學外語系 ) katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen/ January 11, 2008 Who Am I? At NTHU for 22.5 years

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giving a paper at an international conference how to prepare

Giving a Paper at an International Conference: How to Prepare

Johanna E. Katchen (柯安娜)National Tsing Hua University

(國立清華大學外語系)katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw

http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen/

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

January 11, 2008

who am i
Who Am I?
  • At NTHU for 22.5 years
  • Taught public speaking course (Oral Practice II) for 17 years, wrote a textbook for it

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide3
Have given many presentations at international conferences over Asia and Europe (e.g., Thailand, Russia, France, Brazil)
  • Have helped organize conferences here in Taiwan (over 300 presentations, nearly 3000 participants over 3 days) and in USA part of a large team responsible for a small part

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

what will we talk about today
What will we talk about today?
  • Kind of conference and presentation, expected presentation behavior
  • Preparing the physical presentation
  • Hardware and software considerations
  • Preparing yourself

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

observe others
Observe Others
  • Attend conferences as a participant to learn about developments in your field
  • Also observe and analyze how other people give papers
  • If there is a time slot when none of the topics is of interest to you, go and observe HOW
  • Did you see a good presentation? What made it good? What made a bad one bad? How could it be improved?

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

kinds of presentations
Kinds of Presentations
  • Learn about the different kinds of presentations
  • First-time presenters may give posters or joint papers with their professors; your professor can guide you and field hard questions from the audience
  • Plenary speakers and colloquia speakers are usually more famous experts

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

kinds of speaking opportunities
Kinds of Speaking Opportunities
  • Learn about the conference/event
  • Some conferences may be more formal than others
  • Some may expect a different type of presentation or demonstration
  • Explaining your research to colleagues and students at another university is not the same as giving a conference paper
  • Teaching a class is different

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide8
How much time do you have to speak?
  • If you are part of a group, what is the order, the transitions?
  • Who are your audience? How much do they know about what you are talking about? How much background do you have to give them?

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

to read or not to read
To Read or Not To Read?
  • Are you going to read your paper word by word? THIS IS BORING!
  • Why do you want to read? Because you are afraid you will get lost in English.
  • In some fields, reading the paper is the custom, in others reading is forbidden.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide10
So why should they bother to come and hear you mumble? Why not stay home and read it at their leisure? If they have questions they can send you an e-mail.
  • Will the people attending your talk have your word-by-word paper in their hands?
  • Is it on paper or CD? (read along while you talk or later?)

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

power point considerations
Power Point Considerations
  • Many fields use Power Point for presentations now except for some traditional ones where people are technophobic
  • You can still read—either from the main points on the screen (confident in English) or word-by-word notes you make for yourself (not so confident)

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

use of language
Use of Language
  • Put up main points, not details
  • Don’t write full sentences if you don’t have to; KISS Principle—Keep It Simple, Stupid!
  • Use mostly content words—nouns, verbs, adjectives
  • Keep the structures parallel on the same slide (notice I’ve started with verbs on this one)

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide13
If you’re worried about your grammar, then using content words is useful for you
  • If your pronunciation isn’t clear, then you can point to key words on the screen as you say them, and your audience will understand you
  • Your audience may be mostly nonnative speakers!

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

formatting font size
Formatting—Font Size
  • Can the audience read your slides? The default 32 point is set for a reason. Don’t go below 28 point. 28 point will probably be legible from the back of the room.
  • This is 24 point
  • This is 20 point
  • This is 18 point

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide15
This example cannot be read by your audience! It’s too small and there’s too much text
  • Linguistics, EFL, and e-Learning: Bringing Them Together
  • Teaching linguistics in EFL contexts presents specific challenges. Students are required to learn new content in a language they do not fully master. Thus they may face difficulties with content and language at the same time and may find the content opaque due to inadequate language skills. E-learning may provide a means to reinforce students’ learning by providing review materials in a somewhat different format from the in-class lecture.
  • This paper focuses on the delivery of three linguistics courses taught in English for Chinese students majoring in English at a Taiwan university. Introduction to English is a required course in the first semester with 60 – 70 students. Students receive three hours of face-to-face lectures each week, delivered in English by a native speaker, but they review material and take practice quizzes on-line using the university’s e-learning platform. History of the English Language is required for a linguistics concentration; while its diachronic nature necessitates more written materials, audio and video files are available on-line for review. Varieties of English is elective, and audio and video clips of English as it is spoken worldwide form the bulk of the teaching materials.
  • The purpose of this session is to illustrate how ordinary teachers can go beyond the presentation of text and develop more exciting on-line materials to bolster students’ motivation for learning linguistic content. The presenter will also discuss the feedback collected from students at the end of each course in the form of questionnaires.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

formatting font style
Formatting—Font Style
  • Power Point’s default is Arial
  • Arial is sans serif—without the little feet (extra strokes at the bottoms and tops of letters)
  • Sans serif is good for headlines, titles, calling attention

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide17
Serif has the little feet—extra marks at the bottoms and tops of letters; it’s good for long pieces of text like novels and journal articles
  • This is Times New Roman, a common serif font

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

formatting slide design
Formatting—Slide Design
  • Power Point provides many styles; don’t use one that is too busy, that interferes with your content, that distracts the audience
  • Use dark print on light background or light print on a dark background
  • If you have charts and graphs, dark on a light background is probably better for the audience

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide19
Don’t put too much material on one slide
  • Don’t put material too close to the bottom of the slide—viewers in the back may have trouble seeing it over other heads
  • Will you include any clip art? Is it appropriate for the level of formality of the conference?
  • For timing, consider roughly 1 – 2 minutes per slide

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

flash disk or notebook
Flash Disk or Notebook?
  • Within Taiwan, flash disk is probably okay
  • Make sure any embedded files are in the same folder on your disk
  • Other countries are not as advanced technologically as Taiwan—including the USA. Will the computer support USB2? Does it have Vista or Windows XP or an older OS?

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide21
Will you panic if all the Power Point commands are in English?
  • What kind of software are you using? If it is not the most common, better take your own notebook with your necessary software installed on it

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide22
Most recent LCD projectors are compatible with most notebook brands. I’ve had no trouble in Russia, Thailand, USA
  • Note: Acer notebooks do not use F5 or F7 to switch to external monitor, but the graphics driver which can be found on the bottom toolbar—Graphics Options—Output To
  • If you are still having problems, try adjusting the screen size/resolution on your notebook

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide23
NOTE: While your notebook adaptor can handle any type of electrical current, the shape of the plug is different in other countries. USA is the same as Taiwan, but Europe and even Southeast Asia are different. Find out about the electricity and plug shape, buy this cheap device and be prepared.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide24
Does your notebook have three prongs on the plug? Get that orange connection for two. Maybe your batteries won’t last.
  • To look professional, invest in a mouse pointer.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

content and organization
Content and Organization
  • When you spend the whole day at a conference, how much do you remember at the end of the day?
  • You are the master of your own content, but how much will you present? Again, keep it simple, give them what’s new and significant.
  • They can read the details in the full paper, appendices, on your website.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide26
While each field and conference has its preferences, think generally IMRD
  • In your introduction, frame your problem as it relates to previous and ongoing research; cite only directly relevant previous research
  • Give important points of your research procedure/methodology
  • Give only the relevant results
  • Tell in the discussion section what the results mean and draw conclusions

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide27
TO SUMMARIZE IMRD—
  • What is the question and why did I bother about it?
  • What did I do?
  • What did I find?
  • What does it mean?
  • Where do we go from here?

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

what should i wear
What Should I Wear?
  • Young men—at least a button-down shirt tucked into your trousers
  • Different conferences have different levels of formality
  • Will there be other events? cocktail party? banquet? job interview?

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide29
Take your suit jacket and tie just in case; it’s always safer to be dressed well than to be considered sloppy
  • A little more complex for women

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

practice practice practice
Practice, Practice, Practice
  • You’ve prepared your content, written out your notes, and formatted your slides. Now you have to practice.
  • Say your talk aloud and time it—modify accordingly.
  • Give your talk to some trusted colleagues and ask them to criticize and to ask hard questions.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide31
Give your talk in a room with the computer/projector set up and have a colleague videotape you.
  • Watch the video and change what you don’t like. Videotape a second time to see whether you have improved.
  • Don’t worry about gestures. More practice leads to more confidence leads to more natural gestures.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

during the talk
During the Talk
  • Try to remain calm. It will be over after a few minutes and you will still be alive. No one will throw eggs or tomatoes at you, though they may throw some hard questions.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide33
Try to look in the direction of the audience at least some of the time.
  • Speak clearly and confidently. Don’t mumble.
  • Don’t stand in front of the screen.
  • Use a pointer.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

watch your timing
Watch Your Timing!
  • Be considerate of others—finish on time
  • At conferences in Taiwan they ring bells, or there is a moderator to remind you of the time
  • Sometimes moderators are afraid to interrupt or stop famous people who go on and on over their time—and conference timing gets all messed up

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide35
In other countries there may be no moderators: you are responsible for keeping to your time
  • Remember what time you have to finish
  • If there is no room clock to glance at, take off your watch and place it next to your notebook, where you can glance at it without others noticing

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide36
Most people don’t mind staying an extra minute or two if they see you are finishing up your talk
  • Participants need time to get to other talks in other rooms
  • The next presenter in your room needs time to set up his/her notebook or other equipment
  • Despite your nervousness, try to follow the rules and be considerate of others

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slide37
Many native speakers of a language give poor presentations.Many nonnative speakers give excellent presentations.
  • You can’t improve language skills rapidly, but you can improve presentation skills with practice.

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations

slides from this presentation have been posted at http mx nthu edu tw katchen
Slides from this presentation have been posted at http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen

Thank you!

Workshop on Preparation for Engineering Presentations