Most readers of this blog are editors, so it would come as no surprise that the provisional conference program has been reviewed, poked, prodded, amended and revised (a few times) over the past couple of months. Although the program remains subject to change without prior notice, we are reasonably confident that the current version provides a good indication of how the event will play out, come 8–10 May 2019. (Famous last words – do keep an eye on the program page of the website, just in case!)

The plenary program includes keynotes and invited speakers, who are all being briefed separately. Presenters who submitted abstracts in response to the Call for Papers and have had those abstracts accepted have been invited to give long or short oral presentations, poster presentations, panels, symposia and Super Book Clubs. These are all part of the program of concurrent sessions taking place on the Thursday and Friday.

The concurrent sessions are timetabled to ensure that all accepted abstracts can be included in the program. We have carefully curated the presentations into the following streams:

  • Stream 1 Academic Editing
  • Stream 2 Ethics in editing
  • Stream 3 Wellbeing and occupational health and safety for editors
  • Stream 4 Marketing your editing business for success
  • Stream 5 Editing for accessibility
  • Stream 6 Professional practice and professional development
  • Stream 7 Editing across platforms
  • Stream 8 Trends in information and communications technologies
  • Stream 9 Editing within and across the genres
  • Stream 10 Editors as readers: For the love of words

The intention is to facilitate a progression from individual ideas to discussions and debates on broader issues, theories and approaches. Delegates may remain in the same stream to follow this progression and participate in the broader discussions and debates that emerge, or they may decide to ‘chop and change’ to suit their varied interests. Essentially, this means that delegates can create their own daily program from the timetable, which allows a few minutes between presentations for change-over of presenters and so delegates can move quickly between venues if they wish. (The three rooms are adjacent to each other.)

Oral presentations

illustration of a black woman with an afro hairstyle, holding a loudspeaker
Image: GraphicMama via Pixabay

Long presentations are allocated 20 minutes, while short presentations have 10 minutes, from start to finish. Preparation and practice are the keys to success. As part of your preparation, consider asking a friend to watch or listen to your practice run. Their feedback need not be earth-shattering but could mean the subtle but important difference between, for example, wringing your hands while you talk and spreading them, so that you appear relaxed and expressive rather than nervous and uncertain. Last year Dr Malini Devadas wrote a blog post on the topic of overcoming a fear of public speaking.

PowerPoint or no PowerPoint?

The use of electronic presentation formats such as PowerPoint is ubiquitous, but definitely not compulsory – it’s an entirely personal preference. With the exception of scientific presentations that need to show equations, graphs, images or video, in general, the more confident and prepared the presenter is, the less they rely on electronic props. And the fewer slides they use.

Consider whether you’d prefer the audience to be looking at you and listening to what you have to say or reading dense text on a slideshow. Because that’s how we humans seem to operate; it’s one or the other. A good rule of thumb is to allow a maximum of one slide per minute of presentation and a maximum of 3–5 lines of text per slide. And remember that some audience members may be sitting a long way from the screen, so use a large type size for text.

Ensure that you have permission from copyright owners to show any photos, illustrations, graphs and other images. Audiences are naturally inclined to be distracted by images – especially ones that move – so if you want people to watch a moving slideshow or video (or to read text on the screen), stop speaking or slow down for the time that should take. There are lots of resources online that can assist you to prepare slides that are interesting and legible, and achieve your goals for the presentation.

How to say everything in 10 minutes?!

The short answer is that you probably can’t. Choose the most important and salient points, and stick to those. A narrative approach is often helpful – audiences relate and respond to stories.

Australian universities collaborate on a program called 3MT™, which is the Three Minute Thesis Competition. Every year, PhD and professional doctorate candidates compete locally in their department or school, faculty and university levels, and then there is a national competition to choose an overall winner. Participation in these competitions is tremendously exciting and a fantastic way to hone one’s message. According to The University of Melbourne, the 3MT™ competition:

… challenges PhD candidates to present their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience in the space of three minutes. The competition is based on the premise that the capacity to present a clear, concise and engaging description of their research is an essential skill that all graduate researchers should develop.

Sounds like the perfect approach for editors!

Poster presentations

For editors, poster presentations can be even more fun than 3MT. It’s an opportunity to set out in print an idea, approach, study or project and then present it on a poster printed 1 metre by 1> metre.

Posters will be on display throughout the conference, and presenters are invited to stand by their posters during the breaks if they wish to answer questions or otherwise engage with conference delegates. During each of the lunch breaks, five poster presenters will participate in a guided poster presentation session – a facilitator will lead the audience to each poster, where the presenter will talk about their poster for up to three minutes and answer any questions that may arise.

Posters provide a great opportunity to test an idea, to present work in progress or to highlight a project that may be difficult to present (or a bit ‘dry’), and for novices to build their confidence in public speaking.

Preparing your presentation

Sticky notes covering a laptop screen
Image by Gerd Altmann, via Pixabay

All presenters will soon receive an email confirming their individual and specific presentation details, including duration, stream/session chair, Q&A, when and how to submit an electronic presentation and where to seek help if needed.

Of the 60+ submissions received in response to the Call for Papers, less than 40 will be presented at the conference. It is an honour to be invited to present your work and ideas to your profession, so you should be rightfully proud to see your name in the program, whether for an oral or poster presentation.

We look forward to seeing you in action!

Renée Otmar, Conference Convenor, and the Conference Organising Committee