So I know you have already planned your session for the ALT conference next week?
Even if you have planned your session, you might find these tips and advice useful.
Don’t run over time…
This always happens, even with good timekeeping from conference organisers there is nothing more annoying when a session runs over time, or more usually the session is cut short and we miss all the good bits. If you struggle to keep to time, rehearse and practice. Go through your presentation with a friend to check that it is just twenty minutes long.
Focus on the important
With short twenty minute sessions, you don’t have time. So don’t spend the presentation telling us your back story, history of the session, who was involved and the methodology. Get straight to the results, the impact and the outcomes. I have been to a lot of sessions in which most of the session is the background to the work rather than the work itself and the results. When I am attending a session at a conference I want to know what happened and what was the impact of what happened. You may want to consider delivering your planned session backwards, tell us the impact. Then describe the outcomes that enabled this impact. Then deliver us the results of your work. If you have time you can tell us the methodology, but by then you have us hooked. So we can always read the paper for the full story if it interests us, or we can read your blog post on the session, which brings me nicely onto…
Amplify your session
Do write a blog post about your session, tell us all about it, provide links, papers and biographies. Do reference this blog post in your talk. Follow up your session with a blog post, one thing that you could do is reference any questions which were asked with a fuller explanation. Use the Twitter to tell people about your session, use the hashtag #altc and describe your session and why it will be interesting. Use a tool such as Tweetdeck to send automated tweets during your presentation, with references, links, blog posts, images, etc… again with the hashtag #altc so that others can pick them up. Going through the ALT Conference website, invite people to your session.
When presenting read your slides out.
Make sure you fill with slides with as much text as possible, just so you can ask people at the back can they read them.
Ensure graphs and diagrams are taken from a document so that the details are unreadable even from the front row.
Cover your presentation with organisational branding, so that everyone knows where you are from and can be distracted from the actual content.
Seriously do think about your presentation. Think of the session as a story.
Don’t read your slides out, use the slides to inform and talk to the audience about the stuff you did or are doing. The slides should inform this not be all the talk written down. Despite everyone saying don’t read your slides, people still do it.
Less is more, sometimes more is better. So don’t cover your slides in lots of text. One slide with six bullet points has less impact then six slides with a single piece of information. Use less words (or even just a single word) and expand this when you present.
Images can be very powerful and can replace words.
Don’t use clipart though, go somewhere like Pixabay and find some decent photographic images.
When using graphs and diagrams, don’t just copy them from the paper you published, simplify them. Do they add to the story you are telling?
You may have no choice about the slide branding!
People may want to follow up on what you have presented on. Can they contact you easily? You could do this with a slide, or some flyers might be easier. Always useful to follow up your session with a blog post. You can even ask others to do this.
So what are your session preparation tips?