Giving Academic Conference Papers


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These slides are for a talk that I give at Macquarie University. The offer advice for presenting an academic paper and getting the most out of academic conferences, including preparing slides, basic guidelines for presenting, and taking advantage of opportunities at conferences.

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Giving Academic Conference Papers

  1. 1. A Sane Approach to Presenting at Conferences Greg Downey Anthropology Photo by: sean dreilinger CC (BY NC SA)
  2. 2. 2 to presenting at conferences Greg Downey Associate Professor of Anthropology a sane approach...
  3. 3. Your first conference paper...What’s my motivation?
  4. 4. strength Golden rule #1: Icon by Scott Lewis of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0) Present from insecurity. not from
  5. 5. Communicating your research • Understand your audience & objectives (e.g., job talk). • Have a cocktail party version of research concepts. • Don’t over-prepare (time limit, pages, calendar). • REHEARSE! Photo by ‘Nomadic Lass’ Flickr CC (BY SA)
  6. 6. limit.Icon by Martha Omiston of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0) Golden rule #2: Respect your time
  7. 7. A talk is not a paper... •Oral English is not the same as written. •Density. •Papers need foreshadowing & direct statement. •Some great papers are terrible presentations. •SEND TO DISCUSSANT! Photo by ‘FleeCircus’ Flickr CC (BY SA NC)
  8. 8. rehearse writing. rehearsing, (I mean it…) less time more time
  9. 9. Startby engaging us, Golden rule #3: Icon by Istiko Rahadi of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0) keepengaging us.
  10. 10. <learn how to use the ‘b’ key to turn off your slides. That puts attention back on you rather than making you fight your slides.>
  11. 11. Structuring •tight-loose-TIGHT. •1 page = 2 minutes. •NO WARM UP. 
 Clock is ticking. •Good data or example better than comprehensiveness. •Knock-out conclusion page & 2 min. warning. Photo by Thomas Lieser Flickr CC (BY SA NC)
  12. 12. Presentation style.
  13. 13. Style counts. • Note carefully the expectations of your field. Copy them (handouts, pre- circulation…). • Don’t postpone your talk. • Self reference often unnecessary. • Self effacement boring. • Never apologise for sharing.
  14. 14. • Read papers can sound read. • Informality can be unprofessional. • Rehearsal allows you to connect better. • Hierarchy essential for listening. • Get over lame presentation style. Style counts.
  15. 15. Icon by Lissette Arias of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0) speak. Write to
  16. 16. ‘P.M.U.’ Photo by Thomas Lieser Flickr CC (BY SA NC) •Presentation Mark-Up. •Arm’s length visible. •Oral language. •Relax (breathing, grounded, shoulders). •Present your most exciting material. •Smile!
  17. 17. Slides
  18. 18. teleprompter. Golden rule #4: Icon by John Ceserta of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0) Slides are not a
  19. 19. Golden rule #4a:(corollary) Icon adapted from Hakan Yalcin and Pham Thi Dieu Linh of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0) Controlyour slides or they will control your talk.
  20. 20. worse no slides. Bad slides are than no slides... ... and be ready for
  21. 21. • 30 words or less. • Slides v presenter. • Avoid too much animation! • Support for multi-lingual audience. • Visibility crucial. • Slides are not a paper (hand outs). Slide rules.
  22. 22. • Talking to slides COUNTS toward time. Complex visuals slow you down. • No ‘free time’. No pointless slides. • Quotes & visuals most important. Slide rules. (NOTE: THIS PRESENTATION IS BAD EXAMPLE FOR CONFERENCE PAPER.)
  23. 23. Your slides Meta-rule your talk. are not
  24. 24. Going out strong: how to end. ‘this talk has no conclusion.’ never Icon by Andrew J. Young of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0)
  25. 25. When you finish... •Tendency to relax, take deep breath & miss the next minute... •Think out loud. •Keep answers short. •NEVER interrupt or be rude to questioners. •NO need to be defensive.
  26. 26. Greg Downey photos and video by Greg Downey 34 Thanks for your attention! Final business card-like slide.
  27. 27. Consciously learn from the best; don’t unconsciously copy the worst. Meta-rule
  28. 28. • Continue to participate (e.g., Twitter). • Dress for endurance. • Meet people (come prepared & plan). • Visit book displays. • Plan logistics to maximise effect (staying, finances). After you present. aka-attend-one-productively/22891
  29. 29. Transition to professional presenter •Find your style — role models, actively improve. •Set clear goals. •Fit method to goal. •Present small number of big ideas (2 or 3).
 Share point in clearest language possible. •Use your own passion & talk to the most engaged.
  30. 30. Big wrap-up In three short slides... Icon by Tracy Hudak of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0)
  31. 31. Do well, to become confident. Reversal of cause and effect
  32. 32. Be generous to inspire generosity.
  33. 33. It’s all about communication. All rules made to be broken...
  34. 34. questions? Icon by Krisada of the Noun Project (CC BY 3.0)
  35. 35. Greg Downey photos and video by Greg Downey 43 Thanks for your attention!