Suggestions for Practitioner Forum Sessions
Practice forum. This forum provides an
opportunity to discuss actual or potential work implementing I-O techniques or
addressing I-O issues in organizations. These might include discussing
challenges in the work environment and innovative solutions to these challenges
using the principles of I-O psychology. Each forum is devoted to a single topic.
A chair introduces the session; three or four presenters take approximately 10
minutes each to discuss applied research and practice issues; and audience
members spend the remaining time interacting with presenters and each other,
offering their own ideas about applied research and practice. Proposals are
welcome on any cutting-edge topic. Please note this session type was previously
named Practitioner Forum.
Suggestions for Effective Practice Forum Presentations
Have Your Presentation Completed Early Enough to Send to Other
The best sessions are those that have a coherent theme and are
well integrated. This is best
accomplished when session members, including the Discussant, have advance notice
of each others presentations. Do
not wait until the last minute to make these accessible. A common rule of thumb is to have the presentation/paper
available at least 2 weeks before the conference. Doing so not only gives you more time to practice, but also
is far more considerate of other symposium members.
Preparation of Visual Aids.
Visual aids can greatly improve the effectiveness of a
presentation. While increasing an audiences interest, well-prepared slides or
overheads can be extremely useful for clarifying and supporting key points in
If you need to refer to a particular slide more than once, prepare
duplicates of the slides so you do not need to scroll back and forth during the
A picture is worth a thousand words. When feasible, including
figures will more effectively communicate your message than a large, extensive
table or words.
Error Check Visual and Computer Aids Beforehand.
There is nothing so distracting to a presentation than presenters
fumbling with technology (e.g., projector, LCD) while the audience patiently
waits. If at all possible, error
check any visual or computer-based aids you intend to use before the session
Ask Yourself, Whats the point?
A visual serves one main purposeto help make a point. This concept is sometimes forgotten, and tables or charts are
included in the presentation for no apparent reason. It is better to figure out your message and then determine
the best way to share that message.
Interpret; Dont Just Report.
As the presenter, you are the expert on the subject being
discussed. The data speak for
themselves is a common expression. The
trouble is, they oftentimes dont and they often say different things to
different people. Your job is to
use your expertise and insights to help others understand the information.
Do not forget to allow time at the end of the presentation, and
prior to giving it, suggestions for further research, to summarize the main
points of your presentation. Keep in mind, many of your audience members, during the
presentation, may have been engrossed in one particular element of your
presentation, and missed other key points.
An overhead for this purpose can be useful.
Realize the Chair is in Charge.
The Chair has the job of moderating the session and ensuring it
runs smoothly. Every presenter
should adhere to the game plan and make the Chairs job easier.
Please respect his/her position. If
you run long, dont get mad at the Chair for telling you to sit down.
By adhering to the Chairs suggestions, the session should run more
smoothly for everyone.
Respect Other Presenters Time.
Individual presentations that run too long might be the single
most common miscue in Forums. You
want time to discuss your research, and so do the other presenters.
Please respect their timeit is the polite and courteous thing to do.
As a general rule of thumb, plan on spending roughly one
minute per slide. Therefore, if you have 12 minutes to present, you generally
dont want the number of slides in your presentation to exceed 12-15.
Make Visuals Readable from a Distance
A common complaint about presentations is that the audience
cant read the visuals because the typeset is too small.
For things such as large correlation matrices, it is impossible to
present the information adequately. In
such cases, it may be better not to present the entire correlation matrix.
Make sure your visual aids can be read from a distance.
We recommend using a font size at least 20 point or larger so your
visuals will be legible. Try the
floor test: you should be able to read an overhead placed on the floor from
a standing position.
Bring Plenty of Handouts.
If you are using handouts, assume you will need 40 copies.
You might want to double-check the room size for your session.
You will probably also want to have a sign-up sheet available in case you
run out. If you prefer posting your
materials online to be downloaded, please bring mailing labels or cards
containing your Web site address. Asking
participants to write long Web addresses almost ensures mistakes will be made.
Remember, They are Visual Aids Only.
The most important part of the presentation is you, the presenter.
While visual aids are very important tools, your words and conduct are
essential. Be particularly careful
about the number of visual aids, and the amount of information in your visuals.
Accessibility of the Presentation.
SIOP is committed to ensuring that conferences are accessible to
people with disabilities. Each and
every member of your audience deserves the opportunity to benefit from your
presentation. Please help us with
this effort by using the following guidelines:
Assume Some Members of Your Audience will be Disabled.
Remember that disabilities are not always obvious.
Some people may have difficulty seeing your visual aids and/or hearing
your presentation. Be prepared.
Design presentation materials that will be user-friendly to your whole
Describe the Information Presented in Your Visual Aids.
Help the audience see the information by describing and
summarizing whats being presented. This
improves the quality of the audio-taped sessions as well.
Whenever Possible, Offer Materials that are Easy to Read.
Handouts with black print on white paper are generally preferred.
If possible, provide large print copies of your presentation when
Make Yourself Visible to the Audience.
For the benefit of those who are deaf or hard of hearing, your
mouth and face should be in direct view of the audience during the presentation.
When speaking, avoid turning your back to the audience or standing in
dimly lit areas of the room.
Use the Microphone.
Even if many audience members can hear you without it, those with
hearing disabilities may not. Also,
each presentation is recorded and sold, and if you are not using
the microphone, it is often difficult to be heard on the audio.
Turn Audio/Visual Off When Not In Use.
This reduces background noise that is potentially distracting to
Allow Extra Time for Reviewing Information Presented on Visual
Assume some members of your audience will need time to look at the
visual aids and then focus their attention on you for further information.
Show Enthusiasm for Your Presentation.
If you cannot be excited about your topic, how can you expect
anyone else to be? To the extent
you feel comfortable doing so, show that you are excited and dynamic.
Suggestions for Effective Practice Forum Chairs
Preparation is the key to success.
Planning for the session and helping presenters prepare
contributes to an interesting and informative session overall.
Plan the Use of Time.
Start and end the session promptly.
As presenters approach their time limits, give them a prearranged signal
they should begin to conclude their presentations.
You may need to stop a presenter to keep the session on track.
To do this, you may want to politely say, We really need to move on so
we can stay within our allotted time.
Plan a logical and informative segue between each presentation, so
the symposia flows smoothly and the audience understands clearly how the
presentation being introduced is related to the other presentations.
The best way to ensure the session runs on time is to let
presenters know before the conference how much time they have, and the
order in which theyll be presenting.
Prepare an overall plan and approximate time schedule for the
session. Allow sufficient time at
the end of the session for audience discussion and ample time for setup of the
next session in the room.
Encourage your presenters to practice their presentations so they
wont exceed the time allotted.
Be sure to sit in a visible position so presenters can easily your
cues, and presenters know where you will be during the presentation.
A good rule of thumb is to let presenters know when they have 5, 2, and 1
minute remaining during the presentations.
Help Presenters Prepare Before the Practice Forum.
Offer to review the presenters presentation, plans, visuals, or
handouts. Note any duplication in
the content and suggest revisions to avoid excessive repetition.
Have volunteers, or volunteer yourself, to place overheads for
Ensure that Session Members and the Chair Review Each Others
Papers Before the Conference.
It will be much easier to see similarities and differences between
papers when everyone has a chance to review them beforehand.
It will also help to reduce redundancies in the session.
A particularly effective strategy is for presenters to provide
guidance for how the session will go (e.g., who goes first). This way, other presenters know whether or not to spend time
on introductory material. If the
presentations all address different aspects of a topic area, the presenters may
consider spending a few minutes discussing the topic area more generally so that
each presenter can focus on what is unique in his/her study.
As a general rule of thumb, presenters should have their materials
to the discussant at least 2 weeks before the conference (some discussants may
want more time, so be sure to check). This
may be difficult, as some presenters will simply not prepare their presentation
until right before the conference.
One useful technique is to set up an e-mail list that includes all
session members. This makes it
easier to communicate, and ensures that everyone has access to the same
Assist with Seating those with Disabilities.
Ensure each member of the audience can see and hear the
presentations. Reserve a couple of
seats in the front and back of the room for persons using wheelchairs, canes,
crutches, or motorized vehicles.
Count the Number of People in the Audience.
Estimate the number of people attending the session.
If possible, ask a volunteer to perform a head count at the entrance to
the conference room. You may be
asked to provide this information at some point so that SIOP can keep track of
Moderate the Audience Discussion.
Provide a few general comments at the start of the session to
orient the audience to the papers, and how they fit together.
Repeat each question or comment before responding so all can hear.
For taping purposes, this ensures that the question or comment is
recorded. A few minutes before the
session is scheduled to conclude, politely announce that the next question will
be the last. If necessary, politely
interrupt the speaker.
Try to encourage a friendly feel to the session.
Work Collaboratively with the Presenters.
Together, can you come up with an interesting spin to the
session? Are there unique
perspectives that can be addressed?
Ensure Session Members Audio/Visual Needs are Met.
Check with each presenter to ensure that his/her audio/visual
needs have been met. However,
please realize that no new requests can be made at this late date.
Further, SIOP discourages the use of video projectors (e.g., as hooked up
to a laptop) because of the excessive cost.
Show Enthusiasm for the Session.
Your first few comments will set the tone for the entire session.
If you can show excitement for the session, it is more likely that the
audience will as well.
A good presentation entices others to read the complete paper.
In the past, distribution of papers occurred at the conference.
Many people still use this method and it is, by far, the surest way to
make your research available. Recently,
however, the flexibility of e-mail and the Internet for distributing such papers
has lessened the need to carry as many papers to a conference. Nonetheless, the following guidelines will help make the
process of obtaining electronic copies of your papers easier for others and
Provide a Clearly-Marked Place for the E-mail/Mail Addresses of
those Requesting Your Paper.
In many sessions, business cards are scattered all over, making it
difficult to know who requested your paper.
Provide a large envelope clearly labeled as Requests for XYZ paper.
This not only ensures that all requests stay in the same place, but also
that you dont lose any business cards.
Provide Your Own E-mail Address or Web Address/URL.
It is difficult to correctly write down long URL or e-mail
addresses, especially in a crowd of people. You can make this process easier by having your own business
cards available in sufficient quantities (usually 40 minimum).
If you administer research via the Web and your business cards do
not have your Web address, consider printing this address on the back of your
cards, providing slips of paper with the address, or printing the address on
mailing labels for others to take with them.
Check for Potential Copyright Violations Before Posting Any
Article to the Internet.
Different journals have different guidelines for
posting material to the Internet. Some
journals consider any Web postings as a publication, and will refuse to consider
the article for publication. Others,
such as the APA journals, have specific guidelines one must follow before
posting to the Internet.