To my oh-so-numerous fans of my Bones reviews, I am sorry to say that I won't be able to post anything until Sunday, as I'm currently at the American Anthropological Association meetings in New Orleans. This city is awesome, I'm eating very, very well, and having a great time (in spite of the decided lack of internet at the hotel and the conference). I will leave you instead with some things to think about when you present a conference paper:
- Black text on a blue background is never a good idea.
- Read your paper aloud for someone else so that you don't say ridiculous tautological things like, "Schemas are schematic."
- If you are an archaeologist, tell me where your site is. "Portugal" or "Mesoamerica" only get half-credit.
- If you are an archaeologist, tell me when your site is. "Old Kingdom" or "Epigravettian" give me only a vague notion of the millennium in which your talk is set.
- 28 slides (each with 5-10 images) for a 15-minute talk is at least 14 too many.
- Words or terms that come up repeatedly in your talk and with which most people in your audience will not be familiar should be spelled out on at least one slide - bonus points if you also define the word. ("Hama goblets" said several times quickly sounds like an incantation a la Beetlejuice.)
- Don't try to joke with, act familiar with, or attempt to elicit lots of participation from your audience. It's a professional conference, not Whose Line Is It Anyway?
- Reading a paper is fine (with me, anyway), but write it to be understood aurally rather than understood visually (complex sentences, ridiculous wording need to be stripped).