5 Tips for Presenting a Conference Paper

Subsequent to my earlier post and the comments it elicits, let me share with you below five practical tips I always remind myself of before presenting a conference paper. These tips are meant for the prospective young conference presenters, and not to the seasoned conference speakers who are repeatedly passionate enough to go beyond the time limit set for them.

1. Know your goal.

The reason behind paper presentation in a conference is not to share your research as a whole, but to give your audience just a taste of it, in order to receive feedback for the further improvement of your work. If you want to share it as a whole, let it be published in a credible journal.

2. Know your audience.

Don’t get excited when your panel is full of people. They may be there interested to listen to your co-panelists and not to you. If they are there to listen to you, they are there to know from you if your research is worth reading once it gets published, or not.

3. Know your time limit.

Before the conference, inquire from the organizers or panel moderator the time limit set for every presentation. If it’s 15 minutes, then prepare your slides for 10 minutes because if you consider your adlibs, fillers and many “Next slide, please,” you will spend an additional 5 minutes in the actual presentation. Prior to the start of the panel, I usually look for the one in charge of the projector and ask him or her to listen to my presentation and manage by himself or herself my slides’ transition without me telling him or her anymore, “Next slide please!”

4. Do not explain everything.

Considering your goal and the limited time at your disposal, do not ever attempt to explain everything about your paper. It is better to state only a few things with emphasis, than to explain many things very quickly. I had a lady co-presenter in a conference who tried to give an exhaustive explanation of her paper. When thrown with a ‘why/how’ question during the open forum, she was practically embarrassed for having no good answer or no answer.

5. Q&A is a shared time as well.

Do not monopolize answering the questions during the Q&A Session because like the paper presentation, this session is also shared with your co-presenters. Try to answer the questions directly and concisely. Give enough space to your co-presenters to give their answers.

Good luck!

(Photo via savepoint.blog.br)

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