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About Paper Presentations

What Is a Paper Presentation?

Paper (a.k.a. podium) presentations can cover virtually any discipline and are given from a lectern before an audience.  Some disciplines encourage presenters to read their papers essentially verbatim, while other fields encourage more extemporaneous speaking.  Whether you choose to read your printed paper or work from an outline or notecards, you should have a clear sense of what you intend to say and how long it will take you to say it.  You should also maintain appropriate eye-contact with your audience, neither staring off into the corner nor hiding your eyes in your paper.

Presenters may supplement their papers with audio-visual effects, but always assume that something will go wrong.  If the audio-visuals are important to your presentation, please come prepared to communicate them in another way if the power goes out—for example, through a handout or a clear oral explanation. 

How Long Should My Paper Presentation Last?

Papers will be presented in one or possibly two morning sessions, with afternoon sessions, if necessary.  Papers will be grouped into sessions with others from the same or related disciplines.  Session length, determined in part by the number and length of papers, will typically range from 1 to 2 hours.  All presenters within the same session are expected to provide a courteous and engaged audience for other papers within that session.

Papers should range in length from 15 to 25 minutes with a brief question-and-answer session to follow.  Before presenting, time yourself as you read your paper aloud to see that it fits within that time frame.  A good rule of thumb is that it typically takes about 2 minutes to read one page of typed, 12-point font; thus a ten-page paper will take about 20 minutes to read at a moderate speed.  Remember to speak slowly and clearly; nerves can make you speed up.  Presenters that exceed 25 minutes will be gently encouraged to wrap things up. 

Where Will I Present My Paper?

Podium papers will be presented in the Wishing Well and Conference Room 7 of McIntosh.