A few tips

When presenting a paper, do not do the following:

  • Drink blue Powerade before or during your presentation (or any colour);
  • Read from single-spaced text;
  • Wear a graphic t-shirt and jeans (with or without holes);
  • Make asides in sotto voce;
  • Speak in monotone;
  • Neglect to indicate quotations;
  • Make funny noises or faces when one mispronounces something;
  • Go over time.

Instead, take these words of advice: read from a double-spaced, size 14 text; know your text well and practice reading it ahead of time. Have someone listen to you with a timer and their own copy of the text so they can mark places that are unclear or awkward. Smile, and act confident even if you don’t feel like it. If you make a mistake, continue forward as if you meant to do that, and few will be the wiser.

Despite some of the above occurring at the conference I attended this week, it was a very good conference. It was very enjoyable to discuss my topic with ‘my kind’ — other folklorists, even a few of them also being medievalists. I presented my work on a comparative etymological survey between fairy and elf and was told by one of the Professional Folklorists afterward that he enjoyed it because it went ‘whoosh — right over [his] head’. I was greatly impressed by the group of postgraduates that organised the conference: it was obvious they worked well together, as a team they were very welcoming and friendly, and also as individuals actively mingled during break times. Definitely a good model to follow if I ever co-organise a conference!

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