Tips for Panel Presenters

Tips for Panel Presenters


  • Consider your presentation format: will you read from a script or share slides? Prepare your materials so that you have a plan for reading your script (printed? Phone? Laptop?) and for slide sharing.
  • Each room will have a laptop connected to the projector. To avoid time delays involved in connecting new devices, send any slides or visual presentation material to the CAPCON email address ( by 11:59PM on April 3rd.
  • Please arrive at your session 10 minutes before its start time.
  • Make sure you have picked up your program and nametag at the reception desk in IBLC 380.
  • Introduce yourself to the other panelists, the moderator, AV tech support, and faculty support.
  • Set up your AV if necessary.
  • When it’s your turn to speak, look up at the audience as much as possible; speak loudly and slowly.•You should also keep an eye on the time. Presentations area maximum of twelve minutes. You will get a “wrap up” warning if you are going over time. That means you have one minute to quickly wrap up.
    • An average page (double-spaced, 12 point font) takes 2 minutes to read out loud.
  • Enjoy the question period. If you have questions for other panelists, raise your hand and join in.

Things to Consider as You Prepare your Paper
An oral paper is a different genre than a written paper. Keep these things in mind as you write your “script” for the conference:

  • Think about your listeners and what information they will need to follow you. In an oral presentation, shorter sentences are easier to understand. Use names instead of pronouns where possible (so, “Smith argues”…instead of “he argues…”). Even if it may seem repetitive for you, it may not be for your audience who is new to your paper.
  • Think of yourself as writing a “script.” Make notes to yourself about places to pause or look up at the audience. Make notes about moments you might want to add something “off the cuff.” It won’t actually be “off the cuff” because it’s in your script, but your audience will feel like you’re really speaking to them.
  • Remember that your audience can’t read your in-text citations. You should put the names of people you quote in your sentence. So you would write: As Smith argues… “quote”…” instead of “quote” (Smith 70). You don’t need to say the page numbers. Just make clear, in your sentence who you are citing.
  • Generally, scholars present their work in the present tense (eg “I argue…” or “I’m interested in”).
  • Remember to use the “discursive I” to really present yourself as a scholar (or student-scholar) to your audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should feel free to wear what you are comfortable in. It may be a good idea to dress slightly more formally than usual, since that’s what academics generally do when we attend conferences. We don’t dress for a business meeting or for a party, though. Just comfortable and professional.

All presenters will deliver their papers before the Q&A begins. During the Q&A, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. The questions are typically curious and friendly.

The Q&A will be moderated (or ‘run’) by your panel moderator, so you don’t have to worry about fielding questions. Just relax and wait to be asked about your project.

It’s okay to say you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s okay to remind the audience what you do know about, instead of trying to guess at something you don’t. You can say, for example, “my research was about XYZ, which is why I don’t know very much about ABC...”. You can also say something that the question makes you think about, that is related to the topic.