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Conference Presentations Part IV: Top 10 Most Randomly Useful Tips You Never Knew You Needed

I’m back with with Part IV in my series on giving engaging presentations, with all advice courtesy of a workshop series I recently attended, Taking Research from the Page to the Stage. Our words of wisdom for this post come from SSU Theatre and Speech Communication professors Julie Kiernan and Tom Healy.

Today I want to share the top 10 most randomly useful tips for making a presentation that you never knew you needed. At least, never knew I needed them!

Ja'Mie gif

Thanks, Ja’Mie. Source: srhiii.tumblr.com

Without further ado:

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Conference Presentations, Part III: Q&A FYI

Today I’m continuing my series on all things related to giving presentations, inspired by a day of workshops masterminded by SSU Theatre and Speech Communication professor Julie Kiernan.

As some of you know, I presented at my first academic conference this past January. I practiced my talk by myself several times, recorded myself and listened to it on a loop, and made my friends and family listen to me and give me feedback. I thought I was READY.

Spongebob I'm Ready!

Source: memegenerator.net

To my credit, my talk went just about as well as I could have hoped. Then my panel ended and the chair opened it up for questions. [Insert record scratch here.] Um, what?!

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Conference Presentations, Part II: Combating Anxiety

Much like Colin Firth in The King’s Speech, many of us are terrified of public speaking.


Giant hat and microphone combo FTW. Source: thinkingfaith.org

Unfortunately, saying words in front of other humans remains an important part of academic life, especially at venues like conferences. In a continuation of my series on giving presentations, I want to share some tips and tricks I recently learned from Theatre and Speech Communication professor Julie Kiernan on dealing with public speaking anxiety.

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Conference Presentations, Part I: Developing an Elevator Pitch

This semester, I’ve written a few posts about making conference presentations (check out the conference tag for a full list). This is a topic that has been increasingly important to me, as I’ve started to more actively participate in the scholarly work in my field by attending and presenting at conferences.  But giving conference talks and other kinds of presentations is something that I had never received any formal training in — and from the feedback I got from some of you on those earlier posts, it seems like I’m not alone in that experience.

But all that changed this past weekend, when I attended a fabulous day of workshops sponsored by my university called “Taking Research from the Page to the Stage.” The brain child of Prof. Julie Kiernan, of my school’s Theatre and Speech Communication department, these workshops offered explicit instruction on a wide range of topics related to making presentations. I got a TON of great ideas that I am just dying to share with all of you.

So, inspired by my friend Danah’s blog series on 21st century literacies, this post kicks off what will be a series of several posts on all things presentation. Today, let’s talk about the elevator pitch.

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The Benefits of Peer-Led Writing Groups

This year I’ve been facilitating an informal monthly peer writing group, as part of my work as a graduate assistant. I’ll be starting work on my Master’s thesis this summer (eep!), and my colleagues and I hope to continue the tradition of meeting once a week or so to check in with each other.

Moliere quote:

Guess we’re in stage 2? Source: izquotes.com

Before this year, I had never taken advantage of a peer-led writing group before; now, however, I find them indispensable. Here are some of the many benefits they offer:

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