AEA Presenter Information
Presenter Guidelines: AEA hopes that each session is welcoming, inclusive, fair, respectful and most importantly, an opportunity for professional learning and networking. Towards that end, we have developed the following guidelines for serving as a chair, discussant, or presenter at Evaluation 2012:
The quality and tenor of the session depends greatly on the active and early participation of the session chair. The chair can build a network among the presenters, set the tone for the session, make connections among the people and topics, ensure fair allocation of the time available, and foster collegial and professional exchange. Should challenges arise, the chair will be looked to for guidance. Throughout the session, the chair will be looked to for leadership. The role of the chair ideally includes both pre-conference preparation and during-conference facilitation. We offer these guidelines to you as the chair of a valuable conference session.
Pre-conference: At least one month before the conference, please connect with all of your presenters, including discussants, co-chairs, etc., as a group, in order that each may learn from the other and the session may go as smoothly as possible. Once the program is posted, in July, you will be able to see the list of everyone in your session, with their email addresses, by going to the online program. Pre-conference, as a chair you should:
Use technology to connect: Begin by emailing everyone as a group, then consider setting up a blog or connecting via phone. Example letter
Help to build professional networks: Ask each presenter to introduce him or herself and note the focus of her or his presentation. Encourage discourse.
Set the ground rules for the session: Lay out the format for the session, and discuss as needed, noting the time to be allocated for each portion. If this is a paper session, each paper will be limited to fifteen minutes, including questions, until everyone has had an opportunity to present. If there is a discussant (or discussants) work with them to identify the length of their contribution. Be sure to reserve time for audience questions at the end.
Exchange materials electronically: Ask that the presenters share any materials available in advance of the session including slides, papers, or resource links. Encourage presenters to build upon one another's work and identify linkages in their presentations.
At the session: The time has come - seize the opportunity to build a learning community in your session room! At the session, as a chair you should:
Arrive early and greet those in attendance: Locate and welcome your speakers and attendees and make everyone feel at ease.
Start on time and end on time: Maximize the time allocated. Encourage people to sit and focus as the session start time approaches. Be courteous to the next group and allow time for transition between obligations by ending on time. Get the presenters in place as early as possible.
Introduce each presentation: Transition between presentations by thanking the previous presenter and introducing the next, noting the name and affiliation of the individual or group and the general topic. Example transition language
Facilitate discussion: During discussion periods, keep notes as to who has raised hands and call on people in turn. Set an expectation for professional, courteous, discourse. Ask that questions be short and targeted and encourage attendees to follow-up after the session as well. If there are many people with questions, avoid letting one person monopolize the discussion.
Repeat back questions from the audience: Repeat the question to be sure that everyone heard the question clearly. The audience member is likely facing front and those behind her or him may find it difficult to hear the question posed.
Wrap-up and end: Provide a clear conclusion to the session by thanking the presenters and the audience and stating that the session has concluded. At the end of the session, if there is a session following, ask that everyone leave the room and continue the discussion in the foyers so that the next session will have time to set up.
Troubleshoot: As the chair, people will turn to you should problems arise and expect you to manage the session and respond to challenges.
Setting and room: Should the projector not work, the room be too
hot or too cold, or something happen to the room itself (a spill, noise
intrusion, etc.), contact the hotel or the AEA staff using the AEA hotline
number posted in the room (do not go
Long-winded presenters: Should someone go over the allotted time, and not
heed your cards noting that time is up, you may try initiating applause
during the next pause, or simply walk to the front and thank the presenter
for the presentation but note that the session must move on to the next
presenter. This will be far easier if you have laid the ground rules in
advance of the session via email and at the start of the session in your
introduction. Example language
Pre-conference - example letter: "Evaluation 2012 Colleagues, I am the chair for the multipaper session entitled 'Surveys as a Data Collection Tool.' This year, each chair has been asked to connect with the presenters in his or her session in advance of the conference so that we may know of each other's work, improve the flow of the session, and set some timing guidelines. I work at the University of West Florida's Data Center and am looking forward to meeting you all in person. Would you each be kind enough to a) introduce yourself and your topic, and b) share any materials - notes, slides, papers, links - as they become available? I also want to take this opportunity to set the basic ground rules for our session (and for all multipaper sessions). We'll open with a very brief introduction from me to be followed by a presentation from each of you in turn, in the order that you appear in the conference program. Each presentation is allocated fifteen minutes during which you are welcome to take questions, or not, at your discretion. However, after the fifteen minutes have elapsed, we will need to move on to the next presentation in order to be fair to everyone. After the presentations, I will facilitate a question-and-answer period from the audience. To help keep us all on track, we'll be using timing cards to warn you when you have three minutes left, one minute left, and when it is time to stop. Please 'reply to all' so that we may all learn, one form the other. I look forward to our exchange and to seeing you in Minneapolis!" Return
Set the stage - example language: "Welcome everyone to multipaper session 307 focusing on using surveys as a data collection tool. Thank you for joining us on this lovely Friday morning. My name is Shara Ibaru. I work at the Data Center at the University of West Florida, and I will be serving as the session chair. We have ninety minutes for today’s session and four presentations. Each presentation will be allocated 15 minutes during which time the presenters may take questions at their discretion. However, once the time elapses for each presentation, we will move on to the next and ask that further questions be held until after all of the presenters have had the opportunity to present. I will stop presenters who run over their allocated time out of fairness to all. Today we'll be hearing about innovations in surveying using new technologies, useful ways to access difficult to survey populations, and how a targeted survey provided actionable information to a multifaceted nonprofit. Together, today's presentations offer both process and product lessons for improving our own surveying practices. Let's begin." Return
Introduce each presentation - example transition language: "Cori and Anu, thank you for sharing your work. Now we will turn to our colleagues from Think and Do Consulting so that we may learn about the strategies they used to access and survey homeless men and women in Detroit. Welcome!" Return
Long-winded presenters - example language: "Manuel, thank you for your time.
I realize that you have more to share, but we must move on to be fair to all
of the presenters. I encourage everyone to reconnect after the session, or
after the conference via email, to learn more."
While not all sessions have discussants, when one is present, that person serves a pivotal role in tying the multiple components of the session together. Discussants are expected to respond from their own base of knowledge rather than to conduct further research on a topic. However, discussants should participate in pre-conference discussions and exchange of information, and be prepared and thoughtful in their answers. As a discussant, you should strive to foster the exchange and development of ideas and the professional growth of the presenters and the audience.
Pre-conference: We are asking all session chairs to connect with the presenters in their sessions, including any discussants, as a group via email, before the conference. Pre-conference, as a discussant you should:
Participate in pre-conference discussion: The pre-conference exchange will give you the opportunity to learn about the session content and prepare remarks.
Review materials: We are encouraging, but not requiring, the exchange of materials (notes, slides, resources, papers) among presenters pre-conference. Take the time to review the materials to familiarize yourself with the session content.
Be a mentor: Often, discussants are more senior or more experienced. Provide guidance, where appropriate, regarding questions that might be raised by attendees, resources that might strengthen a presentation, and what to expect at the conference and session.
Air concerns: If you have concerns about a presentation (methodology, theoretical base, etc.), share them with the presenter before the conference. Be a critical friend, striving to coach and support colleagues. Encourage the presenter to have a strong response to any concerns that you intend to share at the session.
Prepare notes: Looking across the presentations, try to find the commonalities that weave them together.
At the session: This is your time to listen intently to each presentation, take notes, and provide your thoughtful response. At the session, as a discussant you should:
Arrive early: Arrive at the session early and connect with the other presenters and session chair so that the session may start on time.
Respond thoughtfully: Especially in paper presentations, you are the linchpin that ties together the many, sometimes disparate, presentations. A few dos and don'ts
Succinctly identify common themes among the presentations
Tie the presentations to a broader content
Critique rather than deride, taking on the role of a 'critical friend'
Emphasize application and ways to learn more about the topic
Restate what each presenter said - the presenter's have already done that
Walk through each presentation in turn with a detailed response
Give an additional presentation on the topic - you are responding to what you heard
Stay on time: Stick to the time agreed upon during the pre-conference
exchange in order to be respectful of the presenter's and audience's desire
Presenters share their knowledge and expertise through the 600+ presentations at the event. As such, you are the backbone of the conference. Presenters need to prepare in advance, deliver content articulately and concisely, and follow-up to build knowledge networks. Please note that the guidelines below have intentionally be left broad so that they apply to all session types with the exception of posters and roundtables which are unique among AEA offerings. If you are presenting a poster, click here for poster guidelines, and if you are presenting a roundtable, click here for roundtable guidelines.
Pre-conference: We are asking all session chairs to connect with the presenters in their sessions, as a group via email, before the conference. Pre-conference, as a presenter you should:
Participate in pre-conference discussion: The pre-conference exchange will give you the opportunity to learn about colleague's presentations as well as the session's timing and pace. It will allow you to coordinate with others in your session to limit overlap and respond to one-another's work.
Share materials: We are encouraging, but not requiring, the exchange of materials (notes, slides, resources, papers) among presenters, chairs, and discussants, pre-conference. Share your materials as part of the pre-conference email exchange.
Prepare handouts: At a minimum, you should have 50-100 copies of an abstract for your presentation that includes your name and contact information, including email, for follow-up to learn more and access longer documents, including full papers for paper presentations.
Prepare your presentation: Consider the time available, the audience's likely desire to ask questions, and the multiple learning styles of attendees (auditory, visual, etc.), when preparing to create a memorable and valuable presentation.
Identify the time allocated: As part of the ongoing pre-conference discussion, clarify the time to be allocated to your presentation. If you are presenting a paper, you will have 15 minutes. However, if you are part of a panel, demonstration, think tank, etc., then you will need to determine among the presenters how much time is to be devoted to what content.
Determine when questions and discussion will take place: Again, as part of the pre-conference discussion, identify the time to be devoted to questions and discussion and whether you will take questions during your presentation or only afterwards. If you are presenting a paper, you may choose to take questions during your 15 minute presentation time; however, you must cede the floor at the end of 15 minutes, and there will be an open question time at the end of the session.
Plan your presentation: Create an outline for yourself of the key points to be conveyed and then develop notes regarding what you wish to share relating to each key point. Develop visual aids (see below) to illustrate your key points and serve as an outline to the session.
Prepare visual aids: The vast majority of presenters use
overhead transparencies, PowerPoint slides, or other visual aides as part of their presentation. Each room is equipped
with a traditional transparency projector for plastic transparencies, an
LCD projector, a computer and a screen.
Type: Use at least 24 point type so that it may easily be read from across the room. Avoid italics and ALL CAPS for more than a few words as they are difficult to read.
Bullets: Limit yourself to at most 6 bullets per slide and 10 or so words per bullet. Describe details verbally and use the bullet points to provide an outline of key concepts.
Number: A rough rule of thumb is to prepare no more than one slide for every two minutes you will be presenting. This is an upper-limit. The slides are an aide, not the presentation itself.
Avoid acronyms, jargon, and abbreviations: Past evaluations have clearly indicated that one frustration, in particular for new and international attendees, is the use of 'insider' language, acronyms, and abbreviations that make it difficult to comprehend readily a presentation.
Contact information slide: Prepare one slide that you can put up at the beginning and end of the presentation with your presentation title, name, and contact information. In case you do not have enough handouts, encourage attendees to write down this information for follow-up.
Proofread and spell-check. Spell-check and proofread. Please.
Practice: Practice repeatedly, alone and then in front of a colleague, to ensure that your presentation highlights key point, your delivery is clear, and you can finish within the time allocated.
At the session: This is your time to listen intently to other's presentations and to share your own knowledge and expertise. At the session, as a presenter you should:
Arrive early: Arrive at the session early and connect with the other presenters and session chair so that the session may start on time.
Identify who will be holding the timing cards: Timing cards in each room identify "3 minutes", "1 minute" and "Stop" to prompt presenters. If these will be used for your session, identify who will be holding them so that you may watch them during your presentation.
Give your presentation: You have already practiced and prepared - you are ready! Speak clearly, maintain eye contact with the audience, and relax. Stick to the pre-agreed upon time for your portion of the session to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to present and interact with the audience.
Respond to questions: Whether you take questions during your presentation or at the end, you should be prepared to respond to inquiries. Be aware of the limited time in the session and offer concise responses, noting - when appropriate - that you may be able to follow-up post-session or post-conference to continue the conversation.
Depart on time: At the end of the session, if there is a session following, leave the room and continue the discussion in the foyers so that the next session will have time to set up.
Post-conference: After the event is over, you likely will receive emails or calls from those who heard, or heard of, your presentation. If you were making a paper presentation, you should be prepared to email the completed paper. This is an opportunity to build your professional network and sustain the field through collegial exchange. Where appropriate, you may want to ask those inquiring about their work to see how it might mesh with your own in ways that could be advantageous to you both.
For all other session types, there are two categories of audio-visual aides that we need to consider - those that are brought by the presenter and those that are supplied by the association/hotel. We encourage presenters to bring audio-visual aides such as visual examples, photographs, and computer-based content to share. In order to facilitate the sharing of your audio-visual content, each room is supplied with the following:
Laptop Computer (PC)
Large rooms also have a podium with a microphone, but that is not standard in smaller rooms.
The laptops are pre-loaded with Adobe Acrobat for reading PDFs, Quicktime, and Microsoft PowerPoint and Word. If you will be using the laptop that is provided, you should bring your presentation content on a thumb drive for loading onto the laptop and should arrive as early as possible during the break in order to transfer your file(s).
Alternatively, you may bring your own laptop. However, if you choose to do so, you must be able to exchange out your laptop quickly for the one provided, without interruption to other presenters in your session. If you are bringing a Mac, you will need to bring your own cord or adapter.
If you require other audio-visual devices, such as a flipchart or VCR, they may be ordered via the AEA office beginning in September, but the cost will be charged to the person making the request. AEA provides only the screen, PC, and LCD. To make inquiries for additional audio-visual aids, please contact Heidi in the AEA office at email@example.com at least four weeks in advance of the event.
Please note that internet access is not available in the conference rooms.