TESOL 2015: Tips for Successful Conference Presentations

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TESOL 2015 Convention Blog Post

Greetings from Toronto!

The 2015 TESOL International Convention has been incredible so far. As always, there is a broad range of presentations and events that the convention organizers have prepared for the attendees.

Earlier today, I attended a great presentation entitled “Tips for developing and delivering successful TESOL International Convention presentations.” The presenters—Neil Anderson, John Schmidt, and Christine Coombe—offered invaluable suggestions, most of which were based on their own knowledge and experience. In fact, all of them have previously served as TESOL convention chairs: Neil Anderson in 1998, Christine Coombe in 2006, and John Schmidt in 2014.

Characteristics of Effective Presentations

Neil Anderson started off the session by addressing characteristics of an effective presentation. Some of these characteristics included a clearly defined goal, the presenter’s awareness of current literature on the topic, and the presenter’s understanding of broader objectives, outcomes, and the measurement of success. He also encouraged presenters to become familiar with the venue before delivering the presentation. For example, he mentioned that it is important to know the general layout of the room and the types of available equipment.

Developing Public Speaking Skills

John Schmidt focused on the development of public speaking skills. He described the process of becoming an successful presenter, which includes three stages. At Stage 1, which he called “Focus on self,” beginning presenters tend to focus on themselves, and by trying to make a good impression, they worry about how they look, sound, and appear to the audience. As presenters gain more experience, they start thinking more about the content of their presentations (Stage 2). However, the ultimate goal of each presenter, as John Schmidt stated, is the focus on the audience (Stage 3). He also encouraged attendees to become members of Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org) in order to develop public speaking skills and become overall effective communicators.

Delivering Effective Oral Presentations

Finally, Christine Coombe provided a comprehensive list of practical suggestions for delivering an effective oral presentation. One of her tips was to videotape yourself. She shared with the audience her experience that helped her improve her presenting skills by watching a video of herself giving a presentation, and critically analyzing her speaking manners. She also emphasized the crucial role of nonverbal behavior—gestures, body movements, facial expressions, and eye contact.

I learned a lot from this session, and I will surely apply this knowledge as I work on my next conference presentations. This session also made me look forward to the next year’s TESOL convention in Baltimore!

from TESOL Blog http://ift.tt/1a2qoTE

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