Chairs should introduce speakers just before their papers, rather than all at once. Throwing in a “thank you, professor X” after a paper will also help those who arrived in the middle of the paper.

If you are an international scholar who is not confident in your command of English, then a “bad” powerpoint is good. The type of powerpoint that everyone scorns? the one with loads of text that replicates your paper? Go for it. Worked great. Won’t even matter if people can’t understand you—although, in fact, I had no problems with any of the international scholars I heard. But people seemed worried.

It’s okay to ask random questions about tangential trivia, even when there’s a 99% chance that no extant evidence speaks to the question and the panelist will have to wildly speculate. But it’s not okay to ask those types of questions of people who have just finished rambling for 35 minutes. Let’s not offer free license to people who have already proved themselves inconsiderate of their co-panelists and the audience.

Try to predict who your audience will be. This one is really tricky (and it’s for me, too). It depends on timing. On Sunday morning, at 8:30am, I think you can assume that everyone in the room knows the vocabulary of your field. But on Thursday afternoon? When friends haven’t yet arrived in town to tempt people away? You are right down the hall from registration and it looks like people are browsing the signs outside and drifting into panels? Yikes, who knows who is in the room. So many fields are unrepresented there must be people branching out. And it depends on the panel. A focused panel is probably more likely to have a specialist audience—a wide-ranging panel, or one full of big names, probably doesn’t. I went to one panel, where the outlier on the panel recognized that she needed to explain a lot more narrative, while the others went heavier on the theorizing. It worked well.

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