Summer conference season is here! Whether you’re going to the CSEE Meeting, the ESA Meeting, Evolution 2015, or somewhere else, we’ve got you covered with plenty of advice on how to prepare:
Traveling to meetings while breastfeeding
Tips for giving a good talk or poster
How to answer to tough questions
How not to start your next ecology or evolution talk
On wandering alone at conferences
UPDATE: Perfecting the elevator pitch
I’m interested that so far the most popular link, by a fair margin, is Meg’s post on wandering alone at conferences.
Very apropos for me as I’m wandering (/sitting) alone at a conference right now.
I’d also add this one: https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/perfecting-the-elevator-pitch/
Thanks for the reminder, I’ll update the post
I appreciate your advice for giving good presentations, especially #2 and #3 in the stats advice (https://oikosjournal.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/talk-and-stats-tips.pdf). Have you come across the concept of pre-registering analysis plans as a way to stick to a priori hypotheses? I recently joined the Center for Open Science and we are working to encourage its use through a prize (https://osf.io/x5w7h/). I would be happy to talk with you about it if you get the chance.
Yes, I’m aware of preregistration, I have some old posts on it.
Many thanks for sharing all this, really great advice!
Just wanted to add to the advice on how to prepare the delivery: For me it did/does not work when I write out my talk word per word. Actually, it makes me nervous and before starting my talk I have this feeling of having to climb an immense mountain when I see all those phrases. I always advice my own students to write out the structure of their talk, i.e. for every slide they need to know by heart the point they want to make, and all dots should be connected.
Another thing related to preparing for conferences: We all agree that science is participative. Now, when preparing for a talk/poster, we tend to make our stories as water tight as possible, mostly because we don’t want to ‘fail’ and get annihilating questions. However, while preparing, we mostly rely on the feedback from our immediate network (collaborators on the paper, the lab, in the best case some outside colleague, etc) and so we waterproof our story using the solutions offered by this network, which is typically a tiny subset of our scientific community. So I guess my question is if we shouldn’t present more preliminary results at conferences and prepare a bit less on content. Maybe we could use conferences even more than we do now as a forum to get feedback on our work and talk to strangers with different backgrounds on how to solve our (preferably only scientific) problems. Maybe the bulk of the time we use to prepare a conference should deal with how to best communicate what we’ve done, and maybe less about avoiding nasty questions. As a nice side effect it can change our attitudes from people who want to convince others to people who openly seek for answers, which would make giving talks much more relaxed, especially for PhD students.
Ah, and here’s another great link on how to make good slides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meBXuTIPJQk.
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