FAQs and Tips For Presenters

When will the conference program be available?

The database will open for schedule-viewing in late December or early January.  Prior to the conference, a PDF of the full program will be posted online. However, to be eco-friendly, no printed version of the full program will be provided. At the conference, registrants will receive an overview brochure that provides all panels’ rooms and times, etc. An Addendum – containing moves, cancellations, etc. – will be posted at the conference.

Why did my paper end up in a different subject area in the program?

If you submitted a proposal to one area in the submission database, and your paper is now showing up in a panel in a different area, don’t be concerned. Due to issues such as proposal topic, panel themes, the number of acceptances in an area, cancellations, etc., the conference staff occasionally moves papers into other areas.

How long should my presentation be?

Regardless of whether your panel has three or four presentations, your allotted time is 15 minutes. Your allotted minutes include time for playing clips and presenting other visual aids. (The Q&A session is at the end of the panel.) You will be held to this time frame!

How can I avoid problems with the time limit?

Practice! We strongly encourage you to practice reading your presentation aloud (including time for visuals) and timing yourself. Do not plan on being able to speak for more than your allotted minutes. Practice before the conference so that you will be able to say everything you want to say.

If I’m still in the middle of my presentation and I hit my time limit, what should I do?

Many chairs give presenters verbal or visual warnings at 5 minutes left and 2 minutes left. Check with your chair ahead of time to be sure you know how and when s/he will give you time signals. When you hit the 2-minute warning, begin to wrap up your presentation even if you are only part-way through the material you wanted to cover. Your chair will interrupt you and cut you off if you go over your allotted time. Feel free to offer to discuss your topic at further length with anyone interested after the panel. Please be respectful of the time limits. Don’t make your chair cut you off.

Can I show media clips, pictures, a PowerPoint, or other tech-based visual aids?

Yes. Each presentation room will be equipped with an LCD projector, screen, and speakers. You will need to bring your own laptop or tablet to use. Depending on your device, you may need to bring an appropriate adapter to connect to the projector. See the conference’s AV page for further information. Please note: Your presentation time includes time for clips, etc. If you are using technology in your presentation, plan to arrive at your panel’s room at least 10 minutes early to get set up beforehand. See A/V FAQ for more information.

If my DVD/CD/media clip malfunctions during my presentation, what should I do?

You should plan a presentation that could stand on its own with or without tech. As said before, arrive at least 10 minutes early to test your tech. If your technology malfunctions during your presentation, continue with your presentation as best you can. Everyone understands that technology malfunctions from time to time, and the best speakers are prepared to forge ahead without their tech. One tip is to simply continue with your presentation as planned and just articulate what your media clips would have portrayed.

Can I bring a handout for my presentation? How many do I need?

You may distribute a handout to supplement your presentation if you wish, although this is not very common. Attendance at panels ranges from a handful of people to rooms packed with 50 or more audience members, so there’s no clear guideline for how many copies you’ll need. A safe bet is probably around 20-30. (However, if your topic is one on which there are several presentations scheduled, that’s a good indicator of high interest, which often results in larger audiences.)

Should I read from my paper or speak from notes?

This is up to you. Most presenters read from a pre-written paper (a good tip is to print out your paper in large font—like 14 or 16 point—so you can more easily keep your place as you look up to make eye contact with your audience). Some presenters do speak from a PowerPoint presentation or note cards, but this generally requires more experience. We encourage first-time presenters to read from a written out paper. Either way, your presentation should be a clear, concise, pre-prepared argument.

Do I need to bring extra copies of my paper or submit my paper before the conference?

You are not required to bring any extra copies of your presentation or paper or to submit a copy of your paper before your presentation. Sometimes after a presentation, attendees in the audience will ask a presenter for a copy of her/his paper. You may give out copies if you wish, but you are not required to do so. You may also, at your discretion, take email addresses and later send an electronic file of your paper if anyone requests a copy. If you are a graduate student, you should consider submitting your paper for one of the graduate student awards. See the conference’s Graduate Student Awards page for a full list of awards, submission information, etc.

How early should I arrive for my presentation?

You should scope out the location of your presentation room early in the conference. On the day of your presentation, you should plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before the panel is scheduled to start, regardless of whether you are the first or fourth scheduled presenter.

What should I wear?

There is no formal dress code, although presenters should be neat, clean, and modest in dress (in other words: it’s a professional association, not a night club!). That being said, it is a popular culture conference, and many presenters will wear t-shirts or other clothing reflective of their particular pop culture interests, that they might not wear in other academic conference settings. Most attendees dress business casual, although some attendees wear suits and some wear jeans. Many attendees dress slightly more formally for their presentation day, and “dress down” a little on the other days. However, dressing business casual / preppy can be especially important for graduate students hoping to use the conference as a networking opportunity.

What is expected of me during the Q & A session?

Given that all the presenters keep to time constraints, there will usually be 25-30 minutes at the end of each panel for questions. The chair of your panel will moderate, which means s/he will nominate audience members with their hands raised to ask questions of the presenters. An audience member may ask a specific question directly to an individual presenter or may ask a broader question directed at two or more presenters. You may comment on a question not directed specifically at you, although you should let the person to whom it was directed answer the question to their satisfaction first. You may also ask questions of your fellow presenters.

Am I expected to stay for a whole panel or can I move between panels?

If you are presenting, you are expected to stay for the whole panel. As audience members, most people plan to stay for all presentations on a given panel. Some attendees will move between panels to hear different papers, especially if they are attempting to support two individuals from their school presenting at the same time, for example. If you leave or join a panel in-progress, please wait until the break between speakers to do so. Do not open a closed door and walk in mid-presentation.

What other behavior is expected of me as an audience member?

You are expected to be an attentive audience member when you attend others’ presentations. This means turning off or silencing your cell phone and avoiding behaviors like talking during a presentation, unwrapping noisy candy or food, or otherwise being disruptive. You may certainly take notes during presentations, and sometimes this means obtaining a new pen or more paper from your bag; please do so as quickly and quietly as possible. During the Q&A, feel free to ask questions or join the conversation, but please be courteous in allowing everyone to participate and the panel chair to moderate the discussion.