So, you have decided to present a paper at an academic conference and furthermore have been selected to do so. Now the euphoria has passed and the realization of conducting an effective conference presentation in front of your peers and potential new contacts has dawned on you and you need to do a good job. Do not panic!
Being part of a community is essential for academics; most of your time is occupied conducting research by yourself, but if you don’t possess the skills for an effective conference presentation you will not gain the intellectual and professional success you deserve. You will not be able to move onto more interesting projects. Effective conference presentation is seen as going hand in hand with being an effective academic.
When wanting to make an effective presentation, channeling the Ancient Greeks – the most celebrated oratories – is a good idea. Aristotle and Socrates relied on three principles, ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos, the ethical appeal, alludes to convincing the audience on the speaker’s credibility and integrity; it is the Greek word for character. By selecting language appropriate for the audience; using fair and unbiased words, introducing your expertise, you are employing ethos. Pathos, is the emotional appeal, it makes the audience feel what you want them to feel and the Greek word for suffering or experience. You can achieve pathos by employing meaningful language, emotional tone and stories. Logos, essential for an effective conference presentation, is the appeal to logic. Here is when you have the chance to present your paper with facts and statistics that should cite various authorities. Logos, in Ancient Greek, means word but also alludes to logic. Using the jargon of the subject and construction of logical arguments furthers logos.
Simply testing your theories on your peers and gaining their opinions is useful when preparing, as is practicing presenting outload to yourself to further crystalize your thoughts. Hopefully your peers will encourage you, as will the audience at the conference.
For an effective conference presentation, visual aids are welcome, however, ALWAYS have a backup plan, shit happens. And remember, good speaking skills are ultimately more important in captivating an audience than death by PowerPoint. Be clear when indicating you would like direct audience involvement, usually at the conclusion of your presentation.
Effective conference presentations are always professional, appear to have been created specifically for that audience, and demonstrate immediately why the audience should7 be interested. An effective conference presentation shares with the audience interesting, curious things and present with clear minimalistic slides with engaging images. Don’t have the audience work too hard to follow what you are saying. Avoid theory overload, and instead present several main points with examples. Make sure to deliver your speech with enthusiasm and entertain and interact with the conference attendees. Doing so will leave your presentation the talking point at the conference, in a good way!
For your chance to show off your new found presentation skills, why not give it a shot at the next APIAR conference?