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SIOP Presentation 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 Session Members. 

o      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. 

o      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 the presentation.

o      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 presentation.

o      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.

o      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 starts. 

*     Ask Yourself, Whats the point?

o      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.

o      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. 

*     Summarize.

o      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.

o      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.

o      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.

o      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

o      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. 

o      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.

o      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. 

o      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.

o      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 audience. 

*     Describe the Information Presented in Your Visual Aids.

o      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.

o      Handouts with black print on white paper are generally preferred.  If possible, provide large print copies of your presentation when requested. 

*     Make Yourself Visible to the Audience.

o      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.

o      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.

o      This reduces background noise that is potentially distracting to your audience. 

*     Allow Extra Time for Reviewing Information Presented on Visual Aids.

o      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.

o      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. 

o      Planning for the session and helping presenters prepare contributes to an interesting and informative session overall. 

*     Plan the Use of Time.

o      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.

o      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.

o      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.

o      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.

o      Encourage your presenters to practice their presentations so they wont exceed the time allotted.

o      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.

o      Offer to review the presenters presentation, plans, visuals, or handouts.  Note any duplication in the content and suggest revisions to avoid excessive repetition. 

o      Have volunteers, or volunteer yourself, to place overheads for presenters. 

*     Ensure that Session Members and the Chair Review Each Others Papers Before the Conference.

o      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.

o      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. 

o      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 information. 

*     Assist with Seating those with Disabilities.

o      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.

o      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 attendance. 

*     Moderate the Audience Discussion.

o      Provide a few general comments at the start of the session to orient the audience to the papers, and how they fit together.

o      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.

o      Try to encourage a friendly feel to the session. 

*     Work Collaboratively with the Presenters.

o      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.

o      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.

o      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.

Distributing Papers.  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 yourself. 

*     Provide a Clearly-Marked Place for the E-mail/Mail Addresses of those Requesting Your Paper. 

o      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. 

o      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). 

o      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.

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