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Conference Presentations


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Title: Conference Presentations

Conference Presentations
  • Steve Wallace

The person who presents the research gets the
  • Paul Chu first superconductor with a boiling
    point above liquid nitrogen
  • Maw-Kuen Wu and Jim Ashburn declined to speak and
    are not remembered

The presenter gets the credit
  • Zhengzhi Sheng, a postdoctoral researcher at the
    University of Arkansas, discovered another
    superconductor at an even higher temperature.
  • Because Sheng was not a good speaker, the
    department chair, Allen Hermann, spoke at the
    press conference. Although Hermann repeatedly
    acknowledged the contribution of Sheng, Hermann
    was the one who received most of the credit.

Bad conference presentations
  • Youve seen poor conference presentations
  • The speaker
  • Sits
  • Reads
  • Speaks in a dead, low voice
  • Uses sentences which are long and complex
  • Uses technical words and phrases.
  • Emphasizes complicated details
  • Runs out of time

Principles of effective conference presentations
  • An effective talk must do two things
  • Persuade you audience with evidence
  • Be interesting and entertaining.
  • Talk, instead to reading
  • Stand up
  • Move around
  • Make eye contact with your audience
  • Dont only look at one side of the room
  • Imitate excellent speakers

Why do smart people give poor talks?
  • Poor speaking is a reaction to fear.
  • Presentations are not journal articles. They're a
    completely different communication, and they
    require different skills.

Bohr vs. Nusslein-Volhard
  • Bohr
  • Whereas Einstein tried to grasp a hidden essence
    by disregarding anything he thought irrelevant,
    Bohr insisted that nothing be left out. Edward
  • Bohr was much worse. His failing was that he
    used too many words to express any idea,
    wandering about as he spoke, often inaudibly.
    Sir Mark Oliphant
  • Nusslein-Volhard
  • Scope moves from simple to specific
  • Simple short sentences

Bohrs Nobel prize acceptance speech
  • Today, as a consequence of the great honor the
    Swedish Academy of Sciences has done me in
    awarding me this years Nobel Prize for Physics
    for my work on the structure of the atom, it is
    my duty to give an account of the results of this
    work, and I think that I shall be acting in
    accordance with the traditions of the Nobel
    Foundation if I give this report in the form of a
    survey of the development which has taken place
    in the last few years within the field of physics
    to which this work belongs.

Nies Bohr Nobel prize acceptance
  • The present state of atomic theory is
    characterized by the fact that we not only
    believe the existence of atoms to be proved
    beyond a doubt, but also we even believe that we
    have an intimate knowledge of the constituents of
    the individual atoms. I cannot on this occasion
    give a survey of the scientific developments that
    have led to this resultI will only recall the
    discovery of the electron toward the close of the
    last century, which furnished the direct
    verification and led to the conclusive
    formulation of the conception of the atomic
    nature of electricity which had evolved since the
    discovery by Faraday of the fundamental laws of
    electrochemical theory, and its greatest triumph
    in the electrolytic dissociation theory of

Einstein on Bohr
  • Bohr stated his opinions like one perpetually
    groping and never like one who believes himself
    to be in possession of definite truth.

Christine Nusslein-Volhard
  • In the life of animals, complex forms alternate
    with simple ones. An individual develops from a
    simple one-celled egg that bears no resemblance
    on the complex structure and pattern displayed in
    the juvenile and adult form. The process of
    embryonic development with its highly ordered
    increase in complexity accompanied by perfect
    reproducibitiy, is controlled by a subset of the
    animal genes. Animals have a large number of
    genes. The exact number is not known for any
    multicellular organism, nor is it known how many
    and which are required for the development of
    complexity, pattern, and shape during
    embryogenesis. To identify these genes and to
    understand their functions is a major issue in
    biological research.

Scientific presenters
  • Successful scientific presenters
  • Ludwig Boltzmann
  • Albert Einstein
  • Richard Feynman
  • Rita Levi-Montalcini
  • Linus Pauling
  • Became strong presenters later in their careers
  • Heinrich Hertz,
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Chien-Shiung Wu
  • Rise above those obstacles to make successful
  • Marie Curie

Michael Faraday on presenting
  • Lectures depend entirely for their value on
    the manner in which they are given. It is not the
    matter, not the subject, so much as the man.

Scientists who used analogies, examples, and
  • Otto Frisch when describing the size of a
    nucleus If an atom were enlarged to the size of
    a bus, the nucleus would be like the dot on this
  • Einstein used the analogy of shooting sparrows
    in the dark7 to describe the likelihood of
    producing nuclear energy with alpha particles
    striking nitrogen nuclei.
  • Fred Soechting when describing his work with
    turbine blades in gas turbine engines The
    amount of power produced by a single gas turbine
    blade equals that of a Masarati sports car.8

Issac Asimov on Linus Pauling
  • On March 21, 1949, I attended a lecture given by
    Linus Pauling.... That talk was the best talk by
    anyone on any subject that I had ever heard. The
    talk was more than a talk to me. It filled me
    with a desire of my own to become a speaker.

James Watson on Paulings presentations
  • Paulings talk was made with his usual dramatic
    flair. The words came out as if he had been in
    show business all his life. A curtain kept his
    model hidden until near the end of his lecture,
    when he proudly unveiled his latest creation.
    Then, with his eyes twinkling, Linus explained
    the specific characteristics that made his
    modelthe a-helixuniquely beautiful. Even if he
    were to say nonsense, his mesmerized students
    would never know because of his unquenchable

David L. Goodstein on Robert Feynman
  • Feynman absolutely riveted the attention of
    everyone in the room for the entire time he was
    there. His need to do that helps explain some of
    the racy stories he liked to tell about himself,
    but it also lies close to the core of what made
    him a great teacher. For Feynman, the lecture
    hall was a theater, and the lecturer a performer,
    responsible for providing drama and fireworks as
    well as facts and figures. This was true
    regardless of his audience, whether he was
    talking to undergraduates or graduate students,
    to his colleagues or the general public.

Professor David Goodstein on Robert Feynman
  • But even when he thought he was explaining
    things lucidly to freshmen or sophomores, it was
    not always really they who benefited most from
    what he was doing. It was more often us,
    scientists, physicists, professors, who would be
    the main beneficiaries of his magnificent
    achievement, which was nothing less than to see
    all of physics with fresh new eyes.

Oppenheimers early lectures
  • Consider J. Robert Oppenheimers early lectures
    given at California-Berkeley in 1929. Only
    twenty-five years old, but already well known for
    his work on the quantum theory, Oppenheimer began
    his teaching that first semester with a class
    full of eager graduate students.
  • Halfway through the semester, though, the number
    of students registered for his course had dropped
    to one.

Daniel J. Kelves on Robert Oppenheimer
  • Desperately eager to reach his students, his
    sensitivities sharpened by his own past
    difficulties, Oppenheimer made it a point to pay
    as much attention to the troubles of his charges
    as to the intricacies of his subject. His
    language evolved into an oddly eloquent mixture
    of erudite phrases and pithy slang, and he
    learned to exploit the extraordinary talent for
    elucidating complex technical matters.

Result of Oppenheimers practice
  • Later students found him to be the most
    stimulating lecturer they had experienced.

Nobel Prize winner Hans Bethe about Oppenheimer
  • Probably the most important ingredient
    Oppenheimer brought to his teaching was his
    exquisite taste. He always knew what were the
    important problems, as shown by his choice of
    subjects. He truly lived with those problems,
    struggling for a solution, and he communicated
    his concern to the group.

Lise Meitner on Ludwig Boltzmann (the developer
of the statistical treatment of atoms)
  • Boltzmann had no inhibitions whatsoever about
    showing his enthusiasm when he spoke, and this
    naturally carried his listeners along. He was
    fond of introducing remarks of an entirely
    personal character into his lectures.

Lise Meitner on Ludwig Bolzmann
  • The lecturing of Boltzmann was the most
    beautiful and stimulating thing I have ever
    heard.... He was so enthusiastic about everything
    he taught us that one left every lecture with the
    feeling that a completely new and wonderful world
    had been revealed.

Eve Curie on her mother Marie Curie
  • On Monday and Wednesday, my mother was nervous
    and agitated from the time she got up. At five
    oclock on these days she lectured. After lunch
    she shut herself into her study in the Quai de
    Béthune, prepared the lesson, and wrote the heads
    of chapters of her lecture on a piece of white
    paper. Towards half-past four she would go to the
    laboratory and isolate herself in a little rest
    room. She was tense, anxious, unapproachable.
    Marie had been teaching for twenty-five years
    yet every time she had to appear in the little
    amphitheater before twenty or thirty pupils who
    rose in unison at her entrance she unquestionably
    had stage fright.

10 tips to develop confidence in conference
  • Expect to be nervous
  • Prepare
  • Practice
  • Breathe
  • Rehearse
  • Focus on your audience
  • Simplify
  • Picture success
  • Connect with your audience
  • Pretend to be confident

Advantages and disadvantages of different sources
for speech
Sources Advantages Disadvantages
Speaking from points Credibility earned Ease of adjusting speech Eye contact Natural pace Wording not exact Long preparation time
Memorizing Precision Smooth delivery Credibility earned Eye contact Potential for disaster Unnatural pace Inability to adjust speech Long preparation time
Reading Precision Smooth delivery Credibility undercut Lack of eye contact Unnatural pace Inability to adjust speech Long preparation time
Speaking off the cuff No preparation time Eye contact Natural pace Potential for disaster Difficulty in organizing Lack of visual aids
Situations appropriate for each source of speech
Sources Situation
Speaking from points Conference presentation Presentation at business meeting University lecture
Memorizing First few words of presentation Short introduction of a speaker
Reading Press conference Quotation within a presentation Complex wording within presentation
Speaking off the cuff Answering a question Asking a question
Voice quality
  • You should vary your voice, so it can be more
    interesting for your audience. You can vary your
    voice in at least three ways
  • speed Speak at a normal speed, faster, more
    slowly, and you can stop completely! You can also
    pause to get your audience's attention.
  • tone Change the pitch of your voice. Speak in a
    high tone or speak in a low tone.
  • volume you can speak at a normal volume, loudly
    and you can speak quietly. Lowering your voice
    and speaking quietly can attract your audience's
  • The important point is not to speak in the same,
    flat voice throughout your presentation. This
    will put your audience to sleep.

Face the audience and speak loudly and clearly
  • Dont look at your slides makes you to speak to
    the screen. This quiets your voice and breaks
    your contact with the audience.
  • Look at slides on your laptop screen in front of
  • If you must look at the main screen, look at it
    quickly and then face the audience.
  • Make simple slides with short text, so you wont
    have trouble knowing where you are when you
    quickly look at the screen.

Think about your presentation goals
  • In conference talks you should have at least two
  • leave your audience with a clear picture of your
  • make them want to read your paper.

Focus on the main points
  • Your audience is not going to remember details.
    So, less is more.
  • You do not need to provide all the background on
    how you reached this interpretation.
  • You do not need to defend the validity of your
  • You don't need to give a literature review.
  • Give short, take-home points that theyll
    remember. They can always read your paper later,
    but if you dont interest them, they will not
    read it.
  • Don't summarize popular ideas.
  • Don't assume that a critic familiar to you is
    familiar to everyone else.
  • Consider the audience to whom you are speaking.

Think about your audience
  • Most audiences should be targeted in layers
  • some are experts in your specific area,
  • some are experts in the general area
  • others know little or nothing.
  • Who is most important to you? Can you still leave
    others with something? For example, target the
    body to experts, but make the prediction and
    summary to everybody.

Timeline showing presenter reaching multiple
audiences by beginning at surface of the topic,
diving into a subject, and then surfacing to
gather entire audience.
  • Audience attention
  • Dont try to say too much, use handouts for all
    supplemental materials.
  • Never go longer than 45 minutes most peoples
    maximum attention span.
  • If you exceed this limit, youll lose them at the
    crucial point your conclusion.

Have a timing device
  • Use a watch or cell phone with a timing function.
  • PowerPoints Presenter Tools has a stopwatch.
    The problem is remembering to start the stopwatch
    at the beginning of your talk.
  • Develop your sense of timing by always using the
    same slide format.
  • Decide in advance which slides you can skip
  • As a beginning speaker, dont leave your outline
  • Dont try to do something unplanned during a
  • Practice telling a joke or a story and make your
    audience think you just thought of it

A short conference talk outline
  • Title/author/university (1 slide)
  • Abstract (1 slide) -Give the basic problem and
  • Outline (1 slide) -Give the talk structure.
  • Motivation and Problem Statement (1-2 slides)
    -Why does anyone care?
  • Related Work (0-1 slides) -Talk briefly about
    this, or you can eliminate this section and refer
    people to your paper.
  • Methods (1 slide) -Cover quickly in short talks
    and refer people to your paper.
  • Results (4-6 slides) -Present key results with
    implications. This is the main body of the talk.
    Do not cover all the results. Cover the key
    result well.
  • Summary (1 slide)
  • Future Work (0-1 slides)
  • Backup Slides (0-3 slides)

Using quotes in your speech
  • If you quote another source, pause and indicate
    the quote by saying "quote . . . . . end quote."
  • Don't use long quotes or quote too much material.
    Your audience wants your ideas, not what you have
    found from others.
  • If it is necessary to include long quotes, give
    the audience a handout
  • Read the speech out loud as you revise.
  • Be careful criticizing other scholars.

  • About PowerPoint
  • PowerPoint saves time compared to writing on the
  • Dont use all PowerPoints fades, transitions,
    backgrounds and sound effects.
  • Talk to the audience, not the screen
  • One of the worst presenter mistakes is to face
    the screen while talking. If you do this, the
    audience will be looking at your back, and they
    won't be able to hear you.

  • Prepare for computer problems
  • many things can go wrong with the computer, the
    projector, the software, the connector cables,
    your USB, or your presentation.
  • Dont assume that what works on a PC will work on
    a Mac.
  • Dont assume your host will have the same version
    of PowerPoint that you do.
  • Bring backup
  • Begin making backups several days before the
  • Use a USB, a CDROM, or some other common format.
  • Internet backup isn't reliable, you can't be sure
    you'll have a connection.
  • Bring printed notes or outlines
  • If the computer or the projector dies in the
    middle of your talk, you'll have no time to fix
  • Be prepared to deliver your talk without the
    slides. Bring printed notes.

Other presentation problems
  • Someone asks a question about an issue you plan
    to discuss later.
  • Answer the question briefly, and say you plan to
    go into detail later.
  • You lose your thought in mid-sentence.
  • Smile, say "excuse me" and start again.
  • You plan to go through a handout page by page but
    people are moving ahead of your speech.
  • Don't give handouts until after the presentation
    is over.
  • Give people a rough idea of where different parts
    are located, then people are more likely to stay
    with you.
  • Your throat dries out
  • Roll a tiny piece of paper into a small ball and
    place it between your gum and your facial tissue
    in the back of your mouth. It will stimulate the
    flow of saliva.

  • Someone starts a private conversation while you
    are speaking.
  • First, ask if there are questions.
  • Second, ask if you can do anything to clarify.
  • If they will not stop, continue your presentation
    but move nearer to them. Lower your voice or
  • Notice your audience and respond to their needs
  • Take control of the environment
  • Distribute copies of your paper

  • Conference presenters can use humor to help the
  • Remember the main points
  • See the big picture
  • Retain information longer
  • Interact with members of the audience
  • Present a sensitive idea without the audience
    getting angry
  • Feel free to express themselves
  • Humor takes practice
  • You need to make a connection with the audience
    by promoting interaction and openness.
  • You can develop humor by talking to some of the
    audience before the presentation

Inappropriate humor for conferences
  • Dont do the following in conference
  • Use prepared jokes that have no connection to
    your purpose
  • Read your jokes and stories.
  • Laugh at your own jokes or start laughing before
    you tell them.
  • Announce that you are going to tell a joke and
    apologize if it is bad.
  • Criticize the audience for not laughing.
  • Tell stories that make fun of others or make them
    look bad.
  • Act like you are better than others.
  • Use humor that the audience may not understand.
  • Embarrass people.
  • Tell dirty stories.

Using PowerPoint at Conferences
Dont Write Everything and Read
  • Your PowerPoint presentation should
  • Clarify ideas
  • Emphasize key points
  • Show relationships
  • Provide visual information to ensure the audience
    understands your message

Slides Should be Short
  • Slides help you, and your audience, follow the
    flow of the talk.
  • Not too full 6 lines of text per slide is
    enough 9 lines is a lot 12 lines is unreadable.
  • Bullet points should be a few words, not complete
  • If you need more space, use more slides.

Use Big Type
  • .
  • Change the font size in the Preferences of the
    browser, when using a web presentation.

Determining Font Size
  • Your audience may be look at the screen from 70
    feet away.
  • Fonts should be 24 points or larger

Choosing a Font
  • From a distance, youll notice that the serif
    (Times) font and the narrow or condensed font
    are more difficult to read. Dont sacrifice
    readability for style. Your job is to

Use the Correct Font for Easy Reading
  • For handouts or take-home material, use a serif
  • For projecting on a screen, using a slide,
    overhead or multimedia projector, use a sans
    serif font. Because serif fonts can look fuzzy
    when projected.

  • Choosing a color
  • Yellow with black letters is considered the most
  • Color blindness
  • Unwanted light affects color contrast by turning
    dark reds and greens much lighter.
  • About 10 of people have difficulty with reds and
  • Use contrasting colors
  • A dark background with light text is easily
  • Use drop shadows
  • Avoid busy backgrounds
  • Avoid using red text

Choose White or Light Colored Slide Backgrounds
  • Dark text on light colored slides can usually be
    read with lights on.
  • Avoid dark images that wont show up well on a
  • Be aware that sunlight shining directly on your
    screen will make it less visible.

Presenting with Charts
  • Simplify charts
  • Changing the chart format
  • How do you know when to use which chart? That
    depends on how well youve stated the message.
  • Your heading should always tell people what you
    want them to look for on a chart.
  • Choosing the chart
  • Once you have an action statement as a heading,
    look at the verbs in the statement to get an idea
    of the best chart to use to present your data.

? Showing Change Over Time
Line chart
  • Look for a key word
  • Grow
  • Decline
  • Trends
  • Line charts are best when a variable has more
    than four or five data point.
  • The slope of the line quickly tells the audience
    the direction of the trends.

? Comparing Items at One Point in Time
  • Look for a key word
  • Ranks
  • Compares
  • Highest profit
  • The lowest interest rate
  • The most products sold
  • Rank variables from largest to smallest 
  • Bar charts are often the best way to compare a
    set of individual items or several sets of
    related items.
  • The bars length corresponds to its ranking the
    bars label identifies the item.

Bar chart
? Comparing Parts of a Whole
  • Look for key words
  • Percentage
  • Portion
  • Share
  • The number of pie slices should not be more than
    five, and each slice should be easy to see and

Pie chart
? Comparing Data by Geographic Location
  • Look for key words
  • Country
  • Area
  • Distinguish among regions by using different
    colors, shadings, or symbols.

Segmented bar chart
Additional Tips for Graphs and Charts
  • 1. Show one message per chart. Make the message
    the heading.
  • 2. Make the chart easy to read. Make the most
    important text largest, the most important data
    lines or sections darkest.
  • 3. Be accurate. Always start a numerical axis at
    zero. Compare only like variables.
  • 4. Eliminate all unnecessary details.
  • 5. Use no more than four colors per visual.
  • 6. To focus attention, use color, shading, or
    images such as arrows to highlight key words or
  • 7. Write in upper and lower case. Words written
    in all capitals letters are hard to read.
  • 8. Make bars and columns wider than the spaces
    between them.

Dont Get too Technical
  • The more advanced the technology, the more likely
    there are to be technical problems. Speakers
    often come in at the last minute and are
    completely destroyed when their equipment doesnt
    work. It creates panic for everyone. Always send
    a copy of your presentation to the conference
    office in advance so it can be loaded and tested.

Dont Apologize for Errors
  • Dont apologize for poor English speaking, it
    wastes time and adds no value to your talk. Dont
    comment on spelling, grammatical, or other
    mechanical errors in your presentation. Most of
    the audience wont notice unless you apologize.

Buy a Laser Pointer and Wireless Mouse
  • They are inexpensive, and are extremely useful.
    It is helpful to be able to change pages from
    across the room and point out key graphs and

The Last Thing on Your PowerPoint
  • At the end of your presentation while answering
    questions, leave up a contact info slide
    containing your name, e-mail, address, and
    website URL related to the talk if you have one.

Handling QA
Why Are Questions and Answers Important?
  • Questions and answers are important for several
  • Get attention
  • Create interest
  • Get feedback
  • Make points easy to remember
  • Create audience interaction
  • Promote new thoughts
  • To get comfortable with QA sessions and
    questions, start asking questions throughout your

Before the Presentation
  • Prepare for criticism by telling your ideas to a
    critical friend.
  • Bring a list of references when answering
  • Take notes of questions and suggestions.
  • Dont be afraid to say you dont know the answer
    to a particular question.
  • If you are using slides, save several slides and
    use them to answer expected questions.

At the End of the Presentation
  • There are two endings to a presentation with a
    final QA session.
  • Example
  • At this point, I want to get your opinion on
    this approach. This side of the room first.
  • The second close is after the questions to
    summarize the main points of your presentation.
  • Example
  • As you can see from the questions and comments,
    this topic is confusing and we dont have all the
    answers but here is what you can do for now...

After the Presentation
  • Sometimes question time is so exciting that you
    cant answer all the questions with the time you
    have. Tell people ways to contact you and when
    and how you will respond. Think of ways to share
    these questions and answers with all members of
    the audience through an e-mail list or Web site.

12 Ways to Encourage Audience Questions
  • 1. Announce the question session in an open,
  • conversational way.
  • 2. Design questions into your content and
  • Title Why Knowledge Management? and Why Now?
  • Opening What is the biggest problem facing
    researchers today?
  • Content My presentation is about four key
  • Ending Considering these facts, how can you not

  • 3. Ask a question, pause and then give the
    answer yourself.
  • 4. Bring up questions you have been asked by
    other audience.
  • 5. Let the audience know in the beginning there
    is a QA session, and when it is and how long
    it is.
  • 6. Provide a seating arrangement where the
    audience can see each other.
  • 7. List questions in the presentation
    announcement or brochure.
  • 8. Provide a white board for the audience to
    write a question at any time. Start your QA
    session by answering these questions.

  • 9. Pass out paper for the audience to submit
    their questions. They may forget what they were
    going to ask earlier. This is often used at
    public meetings and when the audience is large.
  • 10. Dont ask for feedback and then start to
    pack up your laptop or your notes. This sends
    the clear signal that you are done and ready to
  • 11. Arrange for someone in the audience to ask
    the first question to start the process.
  • 12. Ask yourself what questions you hope no one
    asks and then prepare to answer them.

Why Do People Ask Questions?
  • Because they want to know the answer
  • Because they want to make a point
  • To impress the audience
  • To see if you know the answer
  • To see how you handle questions and the stress
  • To attack your methodology
  • To make you look bad (for example, if they are
    competing with you for a job)
  • Some ask questions that are in fact a personal
    attack (but not often)

  • Dont let an interesting but unrelated question
    start you on a new speech.
  • Dont let your presentation continue on thinking
    the QA time is extra time for your presentation.
  • Consider questions as an honor your presentation.
    Good ideas create questions. Boring presentations
    make people leave.

3 Step Template for Answering Questions
  • 1. Listen to the entire question before you
  • answer
  • 2. Thank each person for asking the question.
  • 3. Then follow the template below.
  • Repeat?Respond?Review

Additional Tips on Handling Questions
  • Ask people to stand up when they ask a question.
    This does two things
  • 1. It shows you who is asking the question
  • 2. Makes it easier for the audience to hear the

What If You Dont Know the Answer?
  • Suggest someone in the audience more qualified
    answer the question. Professor M. has studied
    this extensively.
  • Delay, Thats a good question...
  • Ask a question Can you clarify what you mean?
  • Admit you dont know but will research it for
  • Repeat the question in a different way Is this
    what you are asking? Then say a question you
    can answer
  • If you dont have a good answer after these
    delaying tactics, say Lets talk about that
    after my talk.

What If You Can Think of Nothing to Say?
  • 1. Smile People always like people who smile.
  • 2. Tell a story Stories take time and you can be
    thinking about your next point.
  • 3. Change the topic of the question to something
    you know about.
  • If you dont know the answer to a question, than
    answer a different question.

What If You Dont Understand the Question Because
of the Speakers Poor English?
  • If you dont understand the English, ask the
    speaker to repeat the question.
  • If the questioner still asks and you still dont
    understand, say, Great question, but it quite
    specific to your field and does not concern
    everyone here, see me after the talk and we can
    go into more detail about it.
  • Quickly move to another question or conclude your

What If Someone Keeps Interrupting You While You
Are Talking?
  • If its just a clarifying question and its
    short, answer it and keep speaking.
  • If somebody keeps making long, loud comments, or
    begins to argue with you in the middle of your
    talk. This can be very stressful, especially if
    you are a grad student or new professor.

Dont Let Your Time Get Wasted
  • Speech times dont get extended for time wasted
    by the audience. You need to develop a strategy
    for keeping control. The best ways to do this
  • look at whoever is chairing the conference
    session, or your sponsor at a job talk.
  • you can wait politely for a pause in the attack,
    and then say as calmly as possible something
    like Thank you for your comment. Id like to
    respond, but if you dont mind Id like to wait
    for the question period.

Your Final Solution to An Attacking Attendee
  • You need to say loudly but firmly, as strongly as
    you can Sir, please allow me to finish my
  • Then, proceed and ignore further interruptions
    from that person.

Remain After Your Presentation Session
  • Be available to answer additional questions if
    you can.
  • Make notes about the questions, suggestions, new
    thoughts you can use these comments to improve a
    paper for publication and your reviewers may be
    in the audience.

  • Isaac Asimov, Foreword to Linus Pauling A Man
    and His Science, Anthony Serafini (San Jose to
    Excel, 2000), p. xiv.
  • Michael White and John Gribbin, Einstein A Life
    in Science (New York Penguin, 1995), pp.
  • Ruth Sime, Lise Meitner A Life in Physics
    (Berkeley University of California Press, 1996),
    pp. 9697.
  • D.H. Frisch, private communication to Abraham
    Pais, Reminiscences from the Postwar Years,
    Niels Bohr A Centenary Volume, ed. by A.P.
    French and P.J. Kennedy (Cambridge, MA Harvard
    University Press, 1985), p. 247.
  • Richard P. Feynman, Surely, Youre Joking, Mr.
    Feynman! (New York Norton Company, 1985), p.
  • Michael Faraday, letter to Benjamin Abbott on 11
    June 1813, The Selected Correspondence of Michael
    Faraday, ed. by L.P. Williams, R. Fitzgerald, and
    O. Stallybrass (Cambridge Cambridge, 1971), pp.
  • Lise Meitner, Looking Back, Bulletin of the
    Atomic Scientists, vol. 20 (November 1964), pp.
  • David L. Goodstein, Richard P. Feynman,
    Teacher, Most of the Good Stuff Memories of
    Richard Feynman, ed. by Laurie M. Brown and John
    S. Rigden (New York American Institute of
    Physics, 1993), p. 123.

For More Information
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