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Presenting the Conference Paper


This resource will help undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars write proposals for academic conferences, articles, and books.

In presenting your paper, you should time your talk to fit your slot in the panel. It is very unprofessional when speakers cannot finish on time, or when they talk at an incredible (and thereby incomprehensible) speed. Even more unprofessional is when speakers do not stop when they are handed a sign or motioned to stop by the panel chair or moderator.

Since you will present your paper orally, you may repeat important points and say more about the structure of the essay than a written submission to a journal (or a paper for your undergraduate or graduate courses) would require. It is generally advised to quickly summarize your important points in a bulleted list at the end of your presentation to remind everyone of the two or three most essential arguments or findings.

In a similar vein, the thesis of your paper should be found on the first page of your essay, but at least no later than the top of the second page to give listeners a clear understanding of what is to follow. At this point, you may also overview or forecast your paper and tell listeners how you will move from one argument to the next.

You might also want to bring a bibliography to your presentation. Know the main books and articles on your subject well, as this will aid you in the question-and-answer session, and may help you if an audience member asks you to recommend works that might relate to their research.

If you use a slide presentation, you may want to follow the guidelines presented in the OWL resource, Designing an Effective PowerPoint Presentation.