Presenting at International Conferences

Presenting good research at an international conference is everyone's desire, and many people's fear. However, if you are someone who has been ill-at-ease about presenting, you need be no longer, because the art of being a good presenter is something you can learn. The world of science needs to hear about the exciting and interesting work you do. Telling others about your research gives a gift to other scientists. Soon you will become involved in sharing internationally with many people. When you do this, science becomes friendlier, bigger, and better.

You have already written a successful abstract [See Chapter 5 on writing abstracts] and been accepted as a speaker. Congratulations. Now, at the conference you will be expected to speak, not read, your paper and to, talk about, not read, your slides.

Being successful as a presenter means being fully prepared. To become fully prepared you must not waste your energy by worrying. Some people spend a great deal of otherwise valuable time by worrying. Worrying is not helpful. Preparing is helpful. As a wise, fine scientist, you are going to be a successful presenter because you are going to be prepared.

Because Part I addresses writing and Part II addresses speaking, you will find significant differences in advice. For example, you learned in writing to: edit out all extraneous words; use transitions only when required; be careful in your use of polite but ambiguous verbs, such as could, would; and avoid the use of questions. Now you will find that in presenting, you may want deliberately to use some extraneous words in the forms of politeness, and language softeners in order to smooth the transition from slide to slide. You may find that asking questions with your voice or on a slide can now sometimes become an effective technique.

Fortunately for you, successful presenting is a much easier art to master than is the art of writing a paper for publication. These two arts walk hand in hand and help each other along the path to communicating science successfully.

• Chapter 6 helps you understand the role of slides.

• Chapter 7 gives techniques for making music with your voice.

• Chapter 8 deals with showing body bravery and practicing.

• Chapter 9 contains tongue-in-cheek advice on the art of napping.

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