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Preparing for a Presentation
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Table of Conference

  1. Preparing for a Presentation
    1. When is my presentation?
    2. When can I access the electronic schedule for the conference program?
    3. When do I need to arrive to set up for my presentation?
    4. If I am giving a paper, or if I am part of a colloquium, should I prepare a written text and read my paper aloud?
    5. What is the best way to prepare a slideshow for my presentation?
    6. Do I need to prepare copies of a handout or other materials?
    7. How can I share my materials and/or slideshow with people who could not attend my presentation?
    8. Is it generally accepted that attendees will be taking pictures of my slideshow and/or me during (or after) my presentation?
    9. Do the papers presented at the conference get published in a book of conference proceedings?
  2. Questions about poster sessions
    1. I'm giving a poster presentation. What are the dimensions of the posters?
    2. Will there be audio/visual support for my poster presentation?
    3. What is the timing for the poster presentations?
  3. Questions about roundtables
    1. What is the format of a roundtable discussion?
    2. How much time will I have to present my ideas in the roundtable sessions?
    3. Is there a question-and-answer period in a roundtable session?
    4. Do I need to coordinate with other presenters at my roundtable?
    5. Is audio/visual equipment available at the roundtable sessions?
  4. Questions about Colloquia
    1. What exactly is a colloquia?
    2. What is the role of discussants in a colloquium?
    3. As a presenter in a colloquium, should I share my paper with the other panelists before the conference?
    4. Do the papers in colloquia get published?

PREPARING FOR A PRESENTATION

When is my presentation?

You will be notified via email after the conference schedule is complete. The “searchable schedule” is available online in the Conference section of the AAAL website.

Due to room limitations and in an effort to be fair, we cannot accept requests to change the schedule or to present on particular days. We appreciate your patience and understanding with these issues.

When can I access the electronic schedule for the conference program?

The electronic version of the conference program is posted on the AAAL website.

When do I need to arrive to set up for my presentation?

We encourage you to arrive at your presentation room at least ten minutes early, to give yourself time to load your slideshow, check the AV equipment, organize your materials, or set up your poster (if you are giving a poster presentation), or checking in with your co-presenters and/or panelists. Arriving early is a good strategy so as not to feel rushed or disorganized at the start of your presentation.

If I am giving a paper, or if I am part of a colloquium, should I prepare a written text and read my paper aloud?

It is generally not a good idea to read a paper aloud, but you should be fully prepared to talk confidently from notes or a PowerPoint slideshow.

What is the best way to prepare a slideshow for my presentation?

Please use 32-point font, with high contrast colors, as some of the conference rooms are quite large.

Also, please use limited text to prevent simply reading from the slides. If you would like to use the AAAL PowerPoint slide template, a template is available here. An alternate template (PPT 97-2004) is available here.

Do I need to prepare copies of a handout or other materials?

It is often helpful for audience members to have visual support, especially if you are sharing data, such as numerical tables or transcripts. However, AAAL is trying to “go green” so please avoid paper duplication if you can.

How can I share my materials and/or slideshow with people who could not attend my presentation?

AAAL is tentatively planning on instituting a system whereby presenters can upload their materials after the conference. Further information will be made available closer to the conference date if we can implement this system.

Is it generally accepted that attendees will be taking pictures of my slideshow and/or me during (or after) my presentation?

It’s up to you whether or not you allow people to take photographs of you and/or your slideshow. This practice is becoming more and more common, so if you don’t want your audience members to take photos, you should say so explicitly at the beginning of your talk.

Please be aware that people may want to engage in further discussion and/or take photos with you after your presentation. Whether or not you agree to picture-taking and chatting after your talk is up to you, but please be aware that the turn-around time between presentations is very brief. For this reason, you should gather your materials and leave the room as soon as possible to make space for the next presenters. The conference venue has ample space for talking with people outside of the presentation rooms.

Do the papers presented at the conference get published in a book of conference proceedings?

AAAL does not publish conference presentations, but the presenters are welcome to pursue publication opportunities.

Questions about poster sessions

I’m giving a poster presentation. What are the dimensions of the posters?

The bulletin boards for mounting the posters are four feet by eight feet in size. One poster presenter will use the front and another presenter will use the back. Thus you will be sharing the mounting board with another poster presenter. Visual examples of how various sized posters will fit in this space can be found at http://www.posterpresentations.com/html/presentation_size_options.html.

Will there be audio/visual support for my poster presentation?

No audio/visual equipment is available for poster sessions. You may use your own equipment, such as a laptop or portable DVD player, but you should be certain your equipment has enough battery power to last for the duration of your session as proximity to outlets is uncertain. You should also note that there will not be any tables near the posters for you to set up equipment.

What is the timing for the poster presentations?

Each poster will be displayed for approximately 3 hrs. You should remain next to your poster during exhibits/poster break to answer questions from the audience members who may visit. For the rest of the time your poster is displayed, you may choose to stay at your poster board at your discretion.

Questions about roundtables

What is the format of a roundtable discussion?

Roundtable discussions present an opportunity for informal, in-depth discussions between presenters and attendees on a specific topic. They are particularly well suited for works-in-progress and are not meant to be formal paper presentations. Roundtable discussions will be held in a large room with several sessions taking place at the same time at different tables.

Two to three presenters will be assigned to a table and each table may seat up to twelve attendees. Individual presenters may be grouped by the conference committee with others discussing a related topic, or a few presenters may collaborate on submitting an abstract for a single roundtable discussion.

How much time will I have to present my ideas in the roundtable session?

Each roundtable presenter will spend no longer than 8 minutes speaking on his/her topic, because a roundtable session is scheduled for 30 minutes. Since there are two or three presentations at each roundtable session, the time for presenting is limited.

Is there a question-and-answer period in a roundtable session?

Yes! The idea is to promote discussion among people interested in your topic, so the question-and-answer period is very important. Roundtable sessions are intended to be much more interactive than paper presentations. The advantage of roundtable sessions is that they allow for stimulating conversations and networking opportunities among participants on shared research interests.

All the presenters at a single roundtable should plan to allow sufficient time for discussion. So for instance, if there are three presenters who each take 8 minutes, there will be 6 minutes left for discussion.

As an alternative, if there are two presenters whose topics vary somewhat, one person could speak for 8 minutes, followed by a seven-minute discussion period. Then the second presenter could follow the same format.

Do I need to coordinate with other presenters at my roundtable?

It is a good idea to arrive at the roundtable meeting room ten minutes early to decide on the sequence of speakers and the timing. Each presenter should be respectful of the others’ time. It is a good idea to appoint someone at the table as the time-keeper. There will be no roundtable session chairs. Presenters at a table will be responsible for facilitating the session together.

Is audio/visual equipment available at the roundtable sessions?

No audio/visual equipment is available for roundtable sessions. You may use your own equipment, such as a laptop or portable DVD player, but you should be certain your equipment has enough battery power to last for the duration of your session as proximity to outlets is uncertain.

Questions about Colloquia

What exactly is a colloquium?

A colloquium is a panel presentation with various people presenting papers about a central theme or topic. At the AAAL conferences, some colloquia are invited by the conference chair, but others are proposed by AAAL members and refereed by AAAL reviewers. They are presented in two different blocks of time: 1 hour and 40 minutes (typically 3-4 presenters/discussants) or 3 hours (e.g., 5-6 presenters/discussants). Thus, colloquia allow for extended discussion on a particular topic, and most colloquia include someone who is assigned the role of the discussant.

What is the role of discussants in a colloquium?

The discussants are typically chosen for their expertise related to the colloquium topic. They must familiarize themselves with all the presentations. Because the purpose of the colloquium format is to foster dialogue among attendees, time should be allocated for extended audience discussion of the papers presented.

As a presenter in a colloquium, should I share my paper with the other panelists before the conference?

Yes. Ideally, the papers would be circulated to the discussant(s) and panelists well in advance of the conference. It is a good idea for the colloquium organizer to take the responsibility of seeing that this is done. Colloquium organizers serve as the liaisons between participants in the colloquium and the program committee, as well as among the panelists. They are therefore responsible for communication among the presenters and discussants.

Do the papers in colloquia get published?

AAAL does not publish colloquium presentations, but the panelists in any given colloquium are welcome to pursue publication opportunities that are appropriate to the particular topic(s) they address.

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