by Tamar Gablinger
Former subject area Chair of Conspiracy Theory/ Claims of the Paranormal
The PCA annual conference is a relatively large conference, which means that you are bound to be fertilized by many ideas, not necessarily from your discipline. Here are a few lines of advice:
- The size of the conference shouldn’t alarm you– it is one of the friendliest conferences I have ever participated in. Feel free to address anyone, including those who have “professor emeritus” and “conference organizer” next to their name.
- I would highly recommend trying to share a room at the conference hotel and not using some other hostel/hotel. With four people in the room, the price is very reasonable, and you will be able to go to any presentation you would like to, regardless of the hour.
- The time slot for all panels is 90 minutes. There are usually four presenters in each, and we also leave time for questions and discussion, which means that you should finish your own presentation in 15 minutes (with three presenters– 20 minutes).
- A 15 minute presentation is approximately 5-6 double spaced printed pages. A 20 minute presentation is 6-7 such pages.
- No ideas are so important that they should take time from other presenters. Always imagine how you would feel if you were the last one on the panel and your predecessors had talked for 30 minutes.
- Presentations shouldn’t be “reading an essay aloud”. You should communicate with your audience; use the written script as reference, not as a sacred text to be repeated verbatim. When you practice, you will notice that some language works better on paper, but will need to be edited for verbal presentation.
- Supporting technology, like PowerPoint, Prezi, video clips, are not sacred. Always prepare for the event of a natural disaster, with a candle-light presentation or more likely — to the event that your Power Point presentation wouldn’t work for some reason. In other words — think of a “Plan B” in case no technology works.
- Most importantly, practice your presentation. Doing so will allow you to perfect your timing, practice speaking clearly, and develop confidence that will show when you give your talk.