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The Conference Presentation Lynda Gagne University of Victoria October 2004 Overview Preparing for your presentation Giving your presentation Chairing a session Discussing a paper Concluding comments Preparing for your presentation Knowing your audience Knowing yourself

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the conference presentation

The Conference Presentation

Lynda GagneUniversity of Victoria

October 2004

  • Preparing for your presentation
  • Giving your presentation
  • Chairing a session
  • Discussing a paper
  • Concluding comments
preparing for your presentation
Preparing for your presentation
  • Knowing your audience
  • Knowing yourself
  • Knowing your subject
  • Selling your research question
  • Selling your methodology
  • Choosing the right media
  • What to include in your presentation
  • Practicing for your presentation
knowing your audience
Knowing your audience
  • Are the participants experts in your field of study, are they peripherally related to the field, or can you expect some of both groups?
  • How much do you expect participants to know about your research methodology?
  • How much do you expect participants about the policy relevance of your research question?
knowing yourself
Knowing yourself
  • How often have you presented and how much confidence do you have in presenting?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How much preparation do you need?
knowing your subject
Knowing your subject
  • What have other people done in your field of study?
  • Do you have a good handle on the literature?
  • What specifically did you do?
  • What data did you use (if any) and what’s the story behind this data?
selling your research question
Selling your research question
  • Why is your research question interesting?
  • What policy relevance (if any) does it have?
selling your methodology
Selling your methodology
  • What’s innovative about your methodology or your research?
    • Are you using a new method?
    • Are you using a well-accepted method with new data?
    • What differentiates what you have done from what all the other work that has been done in the area?
choosing the right media
Choosing the right media
  • Power Point slides have become a standard in many conference presentations
  • However, in some disciplines, simple transparencies are still the norm
what to include in your presentation
What to include in your presentation
  • The chair should introduce you
  • Start with a “front” page that includes
    • Title of your presentation
    • Your name and affiliation
    • [Date, name of conference, paper prepared for…]
  • [Your next page should include]
    • Acknowledgement to granters, assistants, etc.
    • [Any required disclaimers]
what to include in your presentation11
What to include in your presentation
  • Introduction
    • Tell the audience what issues you are addressing
    • Place your work in the context of the existing literature
    • Identify your specific research questions
what to include in your presentation12
What to include in your presentation
  • Methods
    • Describe your data (if applicable)
    • In an academic conference, describe your methods in moderate but sufficient detail that listeners would be in a position to criticize your methods (if needed)
    • In a policy conference, use heuristic devices to convey complex methodology
what to include in your presentation13
What to include in your presentation
  • Findings
    • Summarize the key aspects of your findings
    • Use graphs and charts whenever possible or applicable
    • Graphs and charts should be adequately labeled – you may want to test them on others before your conference
what to include in your presentation14
What to include in your presentation
  • Discussion/conclusion
    • Discuss the (policy) implications of your findings
    • Point out the limitations of your research
    • [Make suggestions for further studies]
practicing for your presentation
Practicing for your presentation
  • Practice giving your presentation to insure that it is the right length – adjust accordingly
  • Practice voice control
  • Learn your materials to remember the order in which they are
giving your presentation
Giving your presentation
  • The presentation
  • Question period
the presentation
The presentation
  • Engage your audience
    • Make eye contact
    • Use voice projection
    • Show confidence – the people who took the time to come to your presentation are interested in your work
    • Smile and try to build rapport with light humour (if you’re comfortable with that)
the presentation18
The presentation
  • The chair will usually defer questions to the end of the presentation
  • If someone interrupts, be friendly and do answer clarification questions
  • Postpone responding to substantive question until the question period
question period
Question period
  • Thank the people who ask questions (oh yes, very good point, I’ll check into it; oh yes, I did address this, but …)
  • Disarm the obnoxious (active listening, as above)
  • Avoid protracted debates
  • Take notes
chairing a session
Chairing a Session
  • Chairing a session is often expected of presenters
  • Carefully review the terms of your engagement
  • Contact participants shortly after you receive your assignment to agree on process (or to inform them of the process)
chairing a session21
Chairing a Session
  • Decide on order (presentations, discussants, question periods)
  • Begin the session by describing the process (unless the process is standard)
  • Introduce each section/speaker
  • You are the time and order keeper
discussing a paper
Discussing a paper
  • Often required of conference presenters, or others – usually allotted around five minutes
  • Junior people should accept these assignments, although they are time-consuming, because of the exposure
  • You will need to become sufficiently familiar with the related literature and the paper (ideally you should discuss a paper in your area of research)
discussing a paper23
Discussing a paper
  • You enjoyed reading the paper, or you found the paper interesting
  • Brief summary / key points
  • Paper’s contribution to the existing body of knowledge
  • Ideas for extensions or revisions (constructive criticism)
concluding comments
Concluding comments
  • Attending a conference is an ideal way for academics and students to make useful connections and to communicate their research findings
  • Students will get the opportunity to suitably impress potential employers with their work and presentation skills
  • Don’t forget to bring your business cards!