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Presentation Guidelines

Please review these guidelines as you prepare to give your presentation at Museums and the Web.

Online resources

Make your presentation more accessible and more impactful for all audiences: March 26, 2015 webinar with Ting Siu. Download the slides from the webinar: AccessibleMWPresentation_SIU and this bibliography of resources discussed in the webinar AccessibilityPresentation-Handout_SIU.

More free online training sessions on presentation techniques, offered via the JHU Museum Studies program and chaired by Loic Tallon in 2013:

If you have suggestions for ways to improve presentations at Museums and the Web, please add them in a comment.

Captioning your videos

These days there are many tools, platforms, and services that can help you make your videos more accessible. Here are some resources:

Remember

  • You will be on-line, with projection and sound from the Web on a quality AV system – USE IT.
  • You have a highly experienced and technically adept audience – USE THEIR TIME WISELY.
  • The best presentations are those that show one or two very new things and provide time for discussion.
  • Practice your delivery.

Spoken vs. Written Papers

Your spoken paper cannot be the same as your written paper, both because time is too short and because written papers are often extremely boring to listen to when they are read out. Remember, your audience will be able to read the full conference Proceedings online prior to your presentation, and to refer to afterwards. Use your face-time with them to highlight your best points, and your original contribution to the field.

Powerpoint™

This is a very nice application, when used carefully. But reading the text of your Powerpoint™ slides is as great a mistake as reading a written paper. Slides can introduce the speaker and paper title, present a high level outline, show the audience the text of a quotation, illustrate with a diagram where words fail, provide a conclusion, state provocative ideas, or leave open questions that will be remembered after you sit down.

But slides that drill relentlessly down an outline only to arrive at your text are just plain dull. Spend some time thinking about effective visuals.

Technical and Logistical Setups

Paper presentations, How-to sessions and Professional Forums:

Each room will have a 16:9 VGA projector, PC laptop, WIFI, wireless lavalier microphone for the main speaker at the podium, and 2 microphones for the panel table in the front of the room. You will have a hook up for the sound system for your video, website, etc. All rooms will be set up in theater style. You can use your own laptop to present instead of using the PC provided.
If you have Mac laptop and you will be presenting from your own laptop, PLEASE bring your own dongles.

You can bring your own handouts/materials. You will be responsible for making copies. We do not have a copier at the Conference. Please go to the UPS store located in the Hotel to make copies of your materials if needed.

Each session will be assigned a volunteer. If you have any problems, please ask the volunteer to get help. If you need technical support, please consult with the AV representative in your session.

We have very limited supply of sticky notes, easels, and pads for easels. If you know you will need them for your session, please let an MW rep know asap. We will try to accommodate as many requests as we can.

Demonstrations

All demo sessions are held in the Exhibit Hall. Demonstrators have a booth (8 x 10) mixed with vendor booths. The back of the booth is pipe and drape (black). You can hang posters. You will need to bring tape or S hooks. We will provide signage to identify your booth. The booth has a 6’ table, 2 chairs, wifi, power strip and 24” monitor. Although WIFI is provided there is no ethernet cable. You will need to bring your own laptop. Demos are 50 min sessions.

Lightning Talks

Lightning Talks are 7 minutes each in a 1.5 hour session. As time is tight and turnaround must be quick between lightning talks, you will need to provide your slides to your session chair before the session so all the slides for your session can be uploaded to the same computer – there will not be time to switch between presenters’ computers. You are not required to make the slides advance automatically; a clicker will be provided. Slides and recordings of the lightning talks will be published on the Museums and the Web conference site, and presenters are invited to blog about their topics (up to 1,000 words) on the MW site before or after their presentations.

Birds of Feather Breakfast Roundtables:

This session will be held at the Exhibit Hall over the buffet breakfast. You will be having the discussion at round tables (10 chairs). You may get a few tables together if you have more people. There is no AV. WIFI is provided.

If you want to hang posters or materials, you may have to grab a table near the wall. Let MW staff know in advance so we can arrange your table.

We have a very limited supply of sticky notes, easels, and pads for easels. If you know you will need them for your session, please let an MW rep know asap. We will try to accommodate as many requests as we can.

Workshops

Each room will have a 16:9 VGA projector, PC laptop, WIFI, microphone at the podium, and microphone at the speaker’s podium. You will have an audio hook up for your video, website, etc. All rooms will be set up in classroom style. You can use your own laptop to present instead of using the PC provided.
If you have Mac laptop and you will be presenting from your own laptop, PLEASE bring your own dongles.

You can bring your own handouts/materials. You will be responsible for making copies. We do not have a copier at the Conference. Please go to the UPS store located in the Hotel to make copies of your materials if needed.

Each session will be assigned a volunteer. If you have any problems, please ask the volunteer to get help. If you need technical support, please consult with the AV representative in your session.

The suggested break times during the workshop are:

  • Morning session: sometime between 10:30-11am
  • Afternoon session: sometime between 3:00-3:30pm

We have a very limited supply of sticky notes, easels, and pads for easels. If you know you will need them for your session, please let an MW rep know asap. We will try to accommodate as many requests as we can.

Length of Speaking Time – General Session (1.5 hours)

Generally, one formal session has three groups (three papers).  The 1.5 hour time is divided to three groups – 20-30 mins each.  Keep it 20 mins each if you have the Q&A or discussion at the end.  (MW formal paper generally takes 20 mins to present.)  Check with the chair of your session about speaking times. Typically you will have either 20 or 30 minutes in total, and some of this should be reserved for questions and discussions. If your portion of the shared time is 20 minutes, plan to speak for no more than 12. If it is 30 minutes, plan to speak for no more that 20. You’ll have a bit of space to over-run, and still leave time for questions. Having a limited amount of time means that you should not try to say everything – it is more important to focus on the part of your thesis that is new or different and deserves further explanation.

Exploring Novel Ideas

Your written paper probably has a section establishing the background – telling the audience about your museum, about your funding, about the team working on your project. Please DO NOT use your time at the podium to tell the audience these things. They are all fellow professionals who have come to MW to hear what you have to say – they can read the background for themselves.

Reference Other Work

This isn’t just show and tell. Help your audience by positioning your work in the context of others. What did you build on? Where did you depart? What’s your unique contribution? Make it clear that you are aware of the contributions made elsewhere, and that you didn’t just “re-invent the wheel.”

What Not to Show!

All MW attendees have access to the Web and can visit your Web site by themselves. DO NOT conduct a general tour. If you’re giving a paper or mini-workshop, it’s because you’ve got an idea or issue to explore.

If you’re giving a Demonstration, think about a quick path through some relevant sections to highlight your achievements.

What to Show?

On the other hand, your colleagues DO want to see the concrete implementation on-line that is the focus of your paper. Showing them, rather than telling them, will be much more interesting and will help them appreciate what you have done. If in doubt – NEVER tell something with a bullet if you could be showing it in action. MW is a conference about connected technologies and the communities they serve – you will have fast connectivity, and if you want you can cache your content to make it even faster. Especially when describing interactives or processes, show how the network actually makes it work.

How Technical?

Your colleagues are fairly technical people, but no one can easily listen to large amounts of technical detail and absorb it. This will be easier for them to get from the published paper. What they do need to hear is often best presented with diagrams. In spoken presentations, data in tables can be understood more easily as charts – architectural diagrams and high-level flow charts are better than code. If the point of your paper is itself highly technical, try to explain WHY it is different from other approaches and WHAT RESULT to expect. Leave the listener wanting to find out HOW to achieve it by reading your paper later.

Your Goals as a Speaker

You want your audience to remember the central points of your talk, and to leave wanting to read your paper. You want them to contact you in the hall during the conference to get greater insight. You want them to remember that what you said stimulated discussion, and that you were open to other ideas.

If you don’t speak in public often – and even if you do – review your presentation with someone else to see if you’ve met your goals.

Thank you for helping present a great conference program!