Caryn M. Berg
Happy New Year! The Student Affairs Committee will be gearing up for the
annual meeting soon, and we need your help! To better serve the needs of the
student members of the Society for American Archaeology, we need to know what
will help you most. We are hoping that the campus representative can assist us
in this task, and we are still looking for graduate and undergraduate students
to serve in this position. A complete description of the requirements and
responsibilities of the campus representative is available in the September
SAA Bulletin. If you would like more information, please contact Caryn
M. Berg, Chair, Student Affairs Committee, Department of Anthropology, Campus
Box 233, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, email
Looking for Roomies?
Are you going to the 62nd Annual Meeting? Wondering how to make a hotel room a
little more affordable? We want to help you find someone to share a room with!
Just email your name, email address, phone number, and the days you will attend
the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org. A list will be compiled and sent out
to you by February 28th. Although you will be responsible for making your own
roommate contacts and arrangements, we hope that the list will make your life a
Caryn M. Berg is chair of the Student Affairs Committee and is at the
University of Colorado at Boulder.
Presenting!--What an Experience
Eden A. Welker
Eventually, every archaeologist has an opportunity to present their
research, whether it is at a conference of fellow professionals, an invited
lecture, or in a public forum. Learning how to prepare and clearly present
information is a necessary and valuable skill. With practice comes experience,
and by asking those who have attended many a function, you can gain a lot of
useful advice! Below are some tips for making any presentation a success.
Preparing Your Paper
- Remember that a presentation is a short affair; papers are usually
only 10 to
20 minutes long.
- Twenty-minute papers are about 13 pages long; ten-minute papers are
seven to eight pages long.
- One minute equals one slide.
- State your main points first and last.
- Make sure you have written your paper in advance. This will give you
to practice and make slides.
- Get feedback from colleagues to help you determine whether your topic
is clearly and directly presented.
- Do not try to do too much. It is extremely discourteous to run over
your allotted time! Time your talk and rehearse it.
Readable and simple slides enhance any presentation. There are many
presentation software packages available which allow you to create text graphic
slides on a computer monitor. Once you design your slides, most software
programs will allow you to create a computer file that a local graphics service
bureau can use to create your slide. If this option is not available to you, a
35-mm camera, some slide film, a tripod, and a darkened computer room can yield
decent slides. A good starting point to determine shutter speed and aperture is
to turn your entire computer screen background into a plain 50% grayscale image
(in Windows 3.1, use the desktop icon in the control panel). Once the
background is set, take a light-meter reading and adjust aperture and shutter
speed accordingly. You can also try setting your camera aperture to 5.6 and
your shutter speed to one-eighth second for 100 ASA film. Monitors do vary, and
this information only provides good starting points. Try to find an experienced
photographer in your department to help if you choose this option for producing
slides. In any case, do not wait until the last minute to produce your slides
in case something does go wrong!
- Never show complicated, hard-to-read graphics!
- Although visuals are great, don't try to show too many.
As with any public speaking, speak slowly enough to be understood and loudly
enough to be heard. There are many presentation styles, and you need to find
and perfect yours. You can read a paper but make sure to address your audience,
make eye contact, and maintain natural pauses and inflections. Other presenters
work from notes or slides or any combination of the above. Practicing your talk
will always make for a smoother and more refined presentation. Nothing beats
getting constructive criticism beforehand from your friends and colleagues.
Speak into the microphone.
Make sure you are "talking" when you present your paper. If you need
something in writing to get you through the talk, use an outline or paragraphs
written for an informal verbal style.
Have good eye contact, inflection, and enthusiasm--both your
your research should come across!
At the Conference
Do not forget that most conferences provide laser pointers, microphones, water,
slide and overhead projectors, and timers. In fact, working as a volunteer at
the SAA annual meeting, can give you experience working with the equipment for
other presenters before you present your own paper. It may ease your fear if
you understand how everything works and you get to watch other presenters
before you go on! (There are other perks to volunteering, too. Call or email
Rick Peterson at SAA headquarters for information on volunteering.)
For further information on presenting papers, read Karen Olsen Bruhn's 1984
article, Giving Papers, in American Antiquity 49:151-161.
Special thanks to the anthropology faculty at the University of Colorado at
Boulder who shared their ideas about what goes into a good presentation!
Eden A. Welker is the vice-chair of the Student Affairs Committee and
is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder.