Strategies for First-Time Conference Presenters

The Chronicle of Higher Education has been running a series called “Conference Rules” recently. Part one was for moderators, and part two addresses panel speakers. First-timers and veterans alike will be interested in Linda Kerber’s article.

Are you nervous? Good. You should be. Anxiety means you are taking the enterprise seriously and your adrenalin is flowing. Without adrenalin you will be a boring speaker.

Read on further, and Kerber manages to bring in a reference to the cast members of the Broadway musical Hair; part of their job as actors requires that they streak through the audience without clothes. The author asks how they find the courage to (literally) bare themselves to the audience, and recommends that conference speakers courageously consider the audience as their friends.

Do you remember the first time you presented a professional paper to colleagues? Comment below if you have advice for giving successful conference presentations.

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