Monday, April 26, 2010

How to Give a Bad Paper

Michael Smith:
I just got back from the Society for American Archaeology meetings in St. Louis. I have always been amazed at the low quality of many presentations at these meetings, starting at the first one I attended as an undergraduate. It seems that many archaeologists must WANT to give bad presentations. If that is the case, then I can be helpful and give you some tips on giving bad presentations. Here goes:

1. Read your paper from a prepared text. This will almost always result in a worse presentation than if you talk from notes, or talk from your slides. This is an excellent way to give a boring talk.

2. Don’t talk TO the audience! Look at your notes or the paper you are reading. Look at the screen. Look anywhere but at the audience

3. Go over the time limit. . . .

And one of my personal pet peeves:

d. Use a pointer to show the audience something that is painfully obvious on the slide. So if "Lemuria" is indicated with big bold type, go ahead and use the pointer to show the audience where Lemuria is. This will help insult your audience (always a good idea when trying to give a bad talk). It helps you look unprofessional and also puts more time on the clock in anticipation of running over the limit.

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