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Conferences

Benefits of Presenting at Conferences

Attending a conference or seminar on your subject can be useful even if you're not ready to present. This will allow you to listen to good speakers and learn presentation techniques. Plus, conferences give important networking opportunities. You will meet your peers, and you may meet the top people in your field. You will be able to ask questions and you will expand your knowledge and ideas. You will always learn something.

When you are ready, participate in student/national/international conferences. Remember that all conferences/seminars are a good place to present the preliminary results of your research and learn from feedback and discussions.

Finding Conferences

  • Your subject association's email lists if you are a member (these should advertise both national and international conferences)
  • Your subject association's web pages (these should advertise both national and international conferences)
  • "Calls for papers" circulars on departmental noticeboards and email lists
  • Ask your supervisor/s
  • Google "conferences <your subject area>" or even "conferences <preferred country>"
  • "Calls for papers" websites, for example Conal Conference Alerts

Evaluating Conferences

  • Where is it?
  • Is the conference theme/s a good fit for your research?
  • Does it publish peer-reviewed proceedings?
  • Is there a list of Keynote presenters on the conference webpage?
  • Are their publications/other credentials listed?
  • Will most papers be given in English?
  • Use Think, Check, Attend to evaluate the legitimacy of the conference

Applying

Abstracts are important. Summarize your paper accurately. People will choose to attend your session based on your abstract.

There is sometimes a long lead up time to conferences so don't miss the deadlines for applying to present or attend. The selection process varies. You may be asked to provide a full version of your paper at an early stage if there is a peer-reviewed selection process. Conference websites will tell you what is expected from you.

Preparing

  • Start preparing in good time. Note the time allotted to each paper. Read the conference webpage and find out what equipment is provided, then think about visuals. Use PowerPoint, for instance, to highlight the major points you want people to remember.
  • Prepare by reading your paper aloud to yourself and notice sentences that don't flow nicely. Practise with the visuals, and check the timing of your presentation.

Presentation Tips

Keep exactly to the time allotted to you, taking question time into account. The session chair will stop you when the time is up whether you have finished or not.

Speak to your visuals if you can, rather than read from your script, and recap major points in the questions session.

Presentation Skills by H. Doug Watts will be very helpful.

Publishing in Conference Proceedings

Be prepared. Write the full/formal version of your paper pre-conference - if the conference produces a print/online volume of refereed proceedings the timeline for submission may be short and the paper will be longer than your conference presentation. Take note of any comments or feedback at the conference.

If you wish to submit your paper to an academic journal, revise it according to conference discussions.

Check to see if the copyright for the published paper is assigned to the conference. You may wish to upload it to an institutional repository later and may need to ask for permission.


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