Guidelines for Speakers and Discussion Leaders Here are some bullets that you should find helpful in understanding the role of the discussion leader (DL) and the difference between a DL and a presenter.
keep in mind, one of the key goals in giving presentations of papers is
to make them analytically as evaluative and critical as possible.
- Each speaker gets 20 minutes for
their talk. Plan your presentation into sub-sections and budget times
for each sub-section. Giving an effective talk is an art and planning
can often make a big difference.
- In planning your talk, figure 20 minutes for your presentation plus 15 minutes for Q&A/discussion.
- Be aware that there might be questions along the way.
The main distinction between a presenter and a DL is this:
of DL acting as a "session chair" at a conference, so there is a bit of
administrative work such as managing time, deciding whether to admit
the next question, how many questions to admit based on time, when to
close the session, etc. The DL will also clock the speaker and make
sure the speaker doesn’t run over his/her allotted time.
- The total time for a talk is 20 minutes for the presentation plus 15 minutes for Q&A + Discussion.
- In addition to posted questions from the audience, there will be impromptu questions from me.
conference session chair, however, a DL can answer questions and/or
rephrase answers from the presenter to an audience question that the
asker may not understand. So, the presenter gets the first shot at
answering every question, after which it falls on the DL to elaborate
if needed, etc.
- The DL should also keep notes (I'd strongly advise this) on questions and answers during the session.
should identify related questions regardless of whether they are
chronologically next to each other and point that out to the audience.
Additionally, they should point out what is common and/or how things
- S/he should mediate between the presenter and the asker if need be to resolve unresolved issues.
- Finally, the DL should email me a summary of the questions/answers during the session they DL'ed. This is where the notes mentioned earlier would come in handy. The summary can be in bullet form.
- How many questions should you send me on the papers you read and prepare questions on?
wouldn’t put a hard lower/upper bound on the #questions I want people
to send me. It can vary between papers. Something like 2-3 sounds
appropriate, depending on the depth, detail of the questions and the
anticipated effort involved in answering them.
- Any tips on giving good presentations?
giving good (technical) talks is an art and takes time and much
practice. While a few general tips are available from many resources
(here is one, thanks to Stephen Scott, which includes a collection of pointers to a few other resources). This also includes resources for tips on good technical writing, which will come in handy to you later. Whatever
tips you pick up – from the above resource or elsewhere – you must make
sure to adapt it to the specific context. E.g., tips for job talks
should not be applied “as is” when giving a presentation of someone
else’s paper, and instead must be adjusted appropriately.
- Any tips on writing good reports/papers?
don’t need this just yet, but when the time comes, do check in on the
above resource. It does cover good technical writing as much as it
covers giving good talks.