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Note to speakers

A note to all speakers at the forthcoming EACS conference

The experience from many conferences has shown that speakers have a hard time keeping to their allotted maximum time slot (20 Minutes), and do not do their possible best in delivering their argument. While this is most often the result of a lack of proper preparation, its results are most unfortunate: the time reserved for the other speakers, the discussants, and the public discussion is appropriated by excessive length and the quality of the discussion reduced by lack of clarity.

The following suggestions are there to help overcome these problems and make the Conference an enjoyable, fruitful and challenging experience for us all.

  1. Finish your presentation in time to be able to rehearse it with friends. Use a big room, ask them to sit in the last row, speak loudly and clearly, and give the presentation in one uninterrupted go. Take a sober and accurate measure of the time needed. It it is too much, cut and do it again. Be sure you have the confidence that you will deliver your argument within the time limit and spare yourself the stress of having to summarize. With a normal speaking speed, a page would require about three minutes. If you use projection devices for the presentation, definitely include all of these into your rehearsal. Do not try to circumvent problems of length by speaking faster; it only cuts into audience comprehension. There will be no microphones in the section rooms so your speaking loudly and clearly is crucial.
  2. Structure your presentation in a manner that you tell the audience very early what the problem is you bring up and suggest to solve. Conclude with a very terse summary of the original problem/hypothesis and the solution you propose.
  3. Many speakers and many members of the audience are not native speakers of English. A mispronounced key term or a Chinese term read in a slurry manner will dramatically heighten audience confusion, and deflect attention from your argument. It would be optimal to have a native speaker of English to rehearse with you, to take notes of the slips in pronunciation, and to go through the corrections with you. Make sure you have read your presentation aloud several times with the right pronunciation, as the nervousness coming with a public talk often makes you forget all golden rules.
  4. It is optimal to give a free presentation based on a full written script, but this is also quite hard. The Conference is a good moment to test your skills in this domain, but it will be a sad experience for all if you don’t come very well prepared and have several times delivered the paper with a loud voice within the time allotted.
  5. Many in the audience will not be familiar with the details of your research. It is useful and helpful to prepare a handout of one page (if necessary double-sided). The handout can be organized alphabetically, or the items can be numbered, and the sequence may follow the occurrence of the item in your presentation. Mark the points in your presentation when you refer to an item in the handout, and briefly refer to it (“handout #7”) during your presentation. In the handout, you may add supplementary information (such as life dates, the Chinese characters and titles), which you don’t spell out in the presentation.
  6. Prior to your presentation, have a look at the room where you will speak, and familiarize yourself with the equipment there if you need it. Make sure you are there early enough before your presentation to be able to verify with the staff whether your material matches the local equipment.
  7. If you are in a panel put together by the referees, try to identify the chair of your panel and introduce yourself if you have not met. It will also be good to have met with the other panelists before you are on. The party on the first evening will offer a good opportunity, but you might want to contact your chair before this by e-mail and just set up a short moment when you can meet in Heidelberg.
  8. The staff in Heidelberg have worked very hard for about ten months to secure a smooth and successful EACS conference. If there still are glitches, try to help them come to a quick solution. If things run smoothly, don’t feel shy to show your appreciation with a friendly word.

Looking very much forward to see you in Heidelberg,

Rudolf G. Wagner
EACS Organization Team Heidelberg

See also: Note on equipment

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