Information for Presenters, Chairs and Audience
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All presentations are in English.
- Check what you are required to do and practice your presentation. Can you fit the presentation into the prescribed time limit? Better to have less information clearly presented, than rushing over things because you did not practice the timing.
- The conference is interdisciplinary. There will be terms and concepts with which you are familiar but your audience is not. Think carefully about what you need to explain. Keep explanations as simple as possible, and use examples.
- Don’t feel you have to present everything. Leave out data to ensure that you get the main points across.
- It is good to draw attention to different parts of the visual displayed to the audience. However, don’t point at the computer screen. The audience will not see it. Use a stick, laser pointer or the pointing device provided in the presentation software (e.g. in PowerPoint, a pointer option is provided – use CMD-A or CNTRL-A keystrokes and move mouse) to draw attention to different parts of the visual display that the audience can see. Generally, avoid using your finger to point, as the audience will not know whether to look at where you finger is pointing, or whether it is the shadow cast by your finger they should be looking at. Further, if you are using your finger, chances are that you are obscuring the image projection.
- The audience will be international, and English will not always be the main language of the audience. Speak clearly and slowly.
- If English is a new language for you, make sure you speak slowly and clearly, and use the PowerPoint presentation (or other presentation program) to clarify difficult words and sentences you are saying.
- Make backups of all your files and make them in different formats (PowerPoint presentations can be saved in many difference ways, including movies. Select Save As… from the File menu, and examine the Format popup.). Backups should be kept in different locations.
- Arrive at your presentation 30 minutes before your session begins (30-60 minutes for Performance papers).
If you have complex multimedia or a performance paper, you should consider also going to your venue at the large break (e.g. lunch break) before the presentation to do a preliminary check.
- Check that your technology (PowerPoint presentation, multimedia, etc.) in at least the break of the session before you present. Connect your computer/memory stick etc., flick through all the slides, and check those with graphics, audio/visual etc.
- Become familiar with the paraphernalia that you can use at the venue. E.g. will you be using a laser pointer? Do you know how to move back a slide?
- Introduce yourself to the session Chair.
- Turn off your mobile phone (for the entire session, please).
- Keep an eye on the session Chair during your presentation, in case your timing needs checking. The Chair will give you a message when your presentation should be nearing completion, and will cut you off if you go over time. It is not good to keep going until the Chair cuts you off. This reflects poor preparation.
- If something goes wrong or there is a delay, you will not get extra time, unfortunately. Conference schedules are very tight, but things do go wrong. This is why it is so important that you are well prepared (presentation and technology wise). Be prepared to adjust if something goes wrong. For example, will your last/summary slide make sense if you had to jump to it?
- All questions from the audience will be directed by the Chair. Do not ask for questions from the audience yourself. The Chair will do this. If you are not happy with the way an audience interaction is unfolding, refer to the session Chair.
- Give the presenter following you time to set up their presentation (e.g. disconnect your presentation material as soon as conveniently, logically possible).
Session Chairs are named at the top of each session in the ICoMCS program.
At the end of a presentation thank the presenter and invite the audience to ask questions. Sometimes the audience will be pausing, thinking of how they will put their questions, or they may not have any. When this happens, it is worth pausing for a few seconds, scanning the audience. If no hands go up, the chair should ask a question that they have prepared. It isimportant that the presenter gets at least one or two questions. If there are no questions, it may be an indication that the presenter did not get their message across. If the Chair suspects this has happened, ask some 'clarifier' questions, such as 'could you just explain the method section again' or 'so, what was your main research question' … – with opportunity to interact to ensure clarity. The Chair can paraphrase the parts of the presentation that may not have been clear, and check with the presenter. This can be an important learning experience for the presenter and provide important feedback. Ensure that one or two people are not monopolising question time. Try to scan the audience for people who may not have had a chance to ask questions yet. Sometimes people get excited by a topic and want to ask lots of questions even when time is up. You should interrupt such questions and invite people to continue discussion at the end of the session.
- Meet your presenters at the venue in the break before each session (30 minutes before the session begins). Ask that they have checked their presentations in the venue. Check their names against the program, so that you introduce the right person (sometimes, the first author is not the presenter).
- Meet the technical assistant(s). You may need them during the session.
- If there is a parallel session, and there is no one to present a scheduled paper, tell the audience that there will be a break until the next paper. Do not bring papers forward in time in these situations.
- Sometimes things happen that may delay presentations, such as technical problems. Unfortunately, timings still need to be in line with the clock (not restarted when the cause of the delay is solved). This is why it is important that presenters are prepared, and have checked everything before their session.
- Introduce each presenter and their topic.
- For 15 minute papers, show the '5 minutes' sign at the 10th minute and the '1 minute' sign at the 14th minute. At 15 minutes, if the presenter is still going, stand up and move towards the presenter just in their line of sight. You may need to interrupt them and say 'I am sorry, but that’s all we have time for'.
- The chair should always have some questions prepared to ask the presenter.
It is critical that sessions are kept to time. The session Chair is the person who is the main person to control timings and therefore ensure the smooth running of the conference. Paper timing information for Chairs follows.
Time limit is 4 minutes exactly (not 4 minutes and 10 seconds!). There is a maximum of a one minute change over time, with NO QUESTIONS between Speed papers allowed. Turn over time per presenter is 5 minutes maximum. So, a Speed paper session for 7 papers will take about 35 minutes. This leaves 5 or so minutes for questions at the end of the session (Speed paper sessions are 45 minutes long in ICoMCS).
Remind audience to write their questions, suggestions and comments in the Speed paper booklet. At the end of the Speed paper session, invite all presenters to the front (arrange chairs as required). Invite questions, but try to make sure that each presenter gets at least one question.
Use the last few minutes of the Speed paper session to get audience to tear off the bottom half of their speed paper booklets, and place their comments for each speaker in the boxes with matching numbers. Then ask presenters to go to their boxes to collect their feedback from the box number corresponding to their paper.
Regular and performance papers are 15 minutes long, plus five minutes for questions and change over (usually about 3-4 minutes for questions). Turn around time between papers in a regular or performance session must be 20 minutes (three papers per hour).
Each keynote has a time limit of 30 minutes exactly. The turn around time (length of the session) is 45 minutes. This is because the first few minutes of the session will consist of announcements and detailed introduction of the keynote presenter (which the session Chair is asked to prepare – no more than two minutes, please), and about 10 minutes is reserved at the end for questions and session change over time. Because keynote addresses at ICoMCS are a little shorter than typical conference keynotes, it is important that the Chair give the 5 and 1 minute warnings at the 25th and 29th minute of the presentation respectively. Keynote presenters are highly distinguished individuals, and may not always be geared to presenting for such an interdisciplinary audience. If the material covered in the keynote contains some complex concepts, it may be worth summarising the gist of the keynote in a few seconds/a minute ('what we learned…') to allow the non-specialist members of the audience the opportunity to have a different way of digesting the information. This summary should be done at the Chair’s own discretion. As with all presentation, the Chair should have a question or two prepared, in case the audience is not forthcoming with questions.
Some audiences at conferences may be interested in knowing audience etiquette at presentations. Here are a few tips:
- Turn off your mobile phone
- Pay attention to what the presenter is saying. Some papers or parts of papers may be a bit boring for you, but you should not talk during the presentation, as it can district others who are too polite to ask you to be quiet.
- Direct your questions (for the presenter) to the session Chair. Do not start a dialogue, especially if other people have questions to ask. Respect the Chairs intervention.
- Think of questions to ask the presenter. It can be demoralising if a presenter went to the trouble of preparing a talk but received no feedback.
- Phrase questions/comments in a constructive manner.
- If other people have their hands up, do not ask numerous questions of the same speaker. Give other people a chance to ask questions.
- If you enter or leave a session, try to do it before the next paper begins, rather than during a presentation. Keep noise to a minimum when someone is presenting.