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Alice Evans @_alice_evans
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
at academic conferences & panel discussions, audiences can lose interest: nod off; count down the minutes to caffeinated salvation; or open up their laptops to pass the time/ sort tedious admin.

here's what i do to make presentations more interesting & useful to others


Engage the audience, ask a question, get them to vote on alternative hypotheses, within the first few minutes. This wakes them up! So it's no longer about passive learning, seeing the audiences as sponges, soaking up info, but as active thinkers.

Audiences are more likely to nod off if they perceive your topic as irrelevant to their niche interests. So I like to reframe my topic, raise broader questions & parallels, about topics and methods, so that my niche research becomes useful to them.

Let's get real. Audiences simply wont remember nuanced details. At best, they'll takeaway 3 key points. So I don't try to push any more than this on them. I don't assume they have an infinite absorptive capacity.

Instead I try to convince them of 3 key points.

As academics, we want to be precise & nuanced. So many of us rely on dense slides & pre-planned scripts.

But do we really need this? I don't think so. We've written the papers, we know our material.

Also, text can be self-defeating: distracting the audience

Personally, I treat the panel as my stage. I like to get out from behind the podium, so there are no tables separating me from the audience. This makes it more upfront, more direct. This lowers the rate at which people start 😴

Recognise their interests, their limited attention spans, their finite absorptive capacities, and respond to these concerns.

Lighting fires, not filling buckets.
But that's just my approach. Sharing because I think we spend so much time, energy, and money on conferences, coming to meet and learn from brilliant minds. Yet perhaps these could be improved to make them more useful, interesting, and engaging.. x
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