We’re back in Macomb and gradually returning to normalcy, so to speak. I spent the day answering email, grading, writing and reading a little, and just generally recovering from two weeks of sleep deprivation. Madelyn and I took a little nap together, which was cool. She’s been very happy today, and was a great traveler yesterday, even when we had to sit in ATL an extra hour because of some paperwork foolishness.

Next week I turn around and head out again for CCCC. I can’t say I’m very excited about the conference. It’ll be nice to see the usual suspects, but I am not relishing the prospect of hearing crappy presentations written on the plane. Last time I attended Cs, the first session I attended, someone began with some disclaimer along those lines. I got up and left. This year I plan to do the same, when it happens again.

OK, I promise to be less surly tomorrow.

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7 Responses to Return

  1. Jeff Watkins says:

    Brad, if you haven’t already run across Presentation Zen you should point your browser in that direction.

    In particular, Garr has a great article on technical presentations, No Excuse For Tedium: advice on giving technical presentations. As you can imagine, in my line of work I wind up giving presentations on occasion and I’ve found his suggestions insightful.

    Good luck at CCCC.

  2. cbd says:

    CCCC is one of those conferences where getting A/V equipment costs a million bucks. This is actually good, because I fear folks who did have the ability to show slides would make bad ones.

    Generally, I have four rules for a conference presentation, whether solo or part of a panel:

    1. Make a claim. Don’t hedge. Say something interesting!
    2. Keep it as short as possible.
    3. Write and practice beforehand.
    4. Give out a one-page handout with an outline, any long quotes, and works cited or relevant to the presentation.

    My Cs thing is a workshop, which means I’ll be a bit longer than usual (20-25 minutes instead of 10-15) but I expect to take the same tack.

    I have to disagree with the “don’t read” advice on PZ. Some of the best presentations I’ve heard were read. And some of the worst were “off the cuff.” For me, “don’t read” is fixing the symptom, not the problem, which I address with #1 and #3 above.

  3. Jonathan says:

    There I have you, nihlist. Only thoughts achieved by flying have value.

  4. John says:

    Was that session you walked out on in NYC? If I recall correctly, we went to the session together. I made it through that first crappy “I wrote this on the plane” presentation, but got and left when the second speaker tossed a VHS tape in a recorder. Her entire presentation, she told us, was on this VHS tape, which was a video of her walking us through something she was doing on a computer. In other words, the video was of her computer screen with glimpses of the back of her head and her hands, and her talking on tape. When she clicked on the wrong thing, we got to see it open, then hear her say, “Oh, that’s not it,” and so on. I actually put up with 10 minutes of her crap before walking out.

    I’m looking forward to your talk and would be attending it even if we weren’t in the same session.

  5. jeff says:

    This year I’m on a panel where no one is talking. We’re putting down our laptops and ipods and letting folks see the presentation.

  6. cbd says:

    It was in San Antonio. I don’t remember the NYC fiasco you present, but I can’t imagine sitting through it.

    Just got the ’07 Cs CFP. NYC again.

  7. John says:

    Oh, that’s right, you were at San Antonio. I don’t remember who I was with at that NYC session, but they walked out right after the first guy said he’d written his paper on the plane and I so wish I’d gone with them.

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