presenting at Conference can be this easy!

Presenting at Conference can be this easy!

So you submitted an abstract

Then your abstract was accepted – HUZZAHH!!!

Your session is listed in the Conference Programme

And you’ve booked your flights and accommodation in Christchurch.

But the last few nights have been horrible.  You’ve tossed and turned, driven away your partner, counted all of the rivots in the ceiling, and sweated through your favourite pyjamas.

You tried to attend a Conference Presentation Session but they were always the same night as your Star Trek marathons, or the local “stitch and bitch”, and it was just too dark or too hot to get off the couch… 

Now EEEEKKK!!! Conference is only a few days away.

What will you say?  How will you say it?

What if the delegates all get bored to sleep by your powerpoint?

Before you find yourself rocking under the table, here’s something that may help.

Moira Fraser and Paddy Plunket ran a series of workshops during May that focused on how to deliver great presentations.  Their top tips are:

  • Always focus on telling your audience something that will be important or interesting to them. 
  • Start by telling your audience WHY you think what you have to say will be  important or interesting to them.  This is a useful statement to work out in advance because it helps you stay focussed on your “value proposition”.  Audience members that know why a presentation is useful will pay attention to it differently and remember it better. An example of this kind of statement is “I hope that by the end of my presentation you will have a good understanding of some of the things to do, and some of the things to avoid, when starting up a new service for elderly users”, or “this will give you a framework for designing an information literacy programme in any kind of library or information service”.
  • Audiences remember better the more involved they are in the presentation.  In the hierarchy of involvement listening is near the bottom!  Quizzes, practical exercises and discussions require the kind of involvement that helps people to remember.
  • Your voice and your body are the most important and sophisticated delivery technology available to you.  Work on delivering your presentation in a confident and engaging tone and with strong body language.

Aoraki held a session in April during which Sally Thompson and Aurelia Arona (amongst others) spoke generally about doing a presentation and what to put on your powerpoint.  Their powerpoints are available online on the Conference Slideshare and contain many good ideas. 

But if you’re still chewing on your computer keyboard, there may still be time to register for the LIANZA Ikaroa presentation skills session.  It’s being held next Tuesday (29 September) at Massey University.  See their page on the LIANZA website for more information and to register online.

If all else fails, don’t forget, the delegates are interested in hearing what you have to say, and they are not there to give you a hard time.  They will forgive you your stumbles, and the odd powerpoint slide.  And there’s always light at the end of the gin bottle…

Do you have any other good ideas?  Post them here and we can share them.


For anyone unfamiliar with how a LIANZA Conference works (or conferences in general really) you get the “rock star” big names as Keynote speakers and then you get the still awesome but not quite as high profile “invited speakers”.  This year the folk that we’ve invited have knowledge and experience covering a wide range of areas and we think you’ll be interested and inspired by what they have to say.

Dr Chris Brickell – A Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, Gender & Sociology at Otago University and his book Mates & Lovers: A History of Gay New Zealand was a finalist in this year’s Montana Book Awards.  During conference he will speak about his experience using libraries and archives to research this book.  What were the challenges and successes in this process?  How can we ensure that researchers continue to have access to invaluable material like this?  For more on Chris check out – (more…)

So you’ve been sitting at home, gnawing your nails, thinking you’ve missed your chance to tell the library community all about your latest research/project/initiative …This is not an abstract

Well fear not dear reader.

The good people on the Conference Committee have decided to extend the call for Abstracts.
The new date is Wednesday 27th May – and it isn’t far away.
  • So note it down in your diary, on your calendar, or in your PDA.
  • Check out the official Conference pages on the LIANZA website for more information about what they are looking for and how to submit your abstract.
  • And have a look at this handy post for more.

Above all, get thinking, get writing, and get onto it.

More people than this will turn up

More people than this will turn up

Though LIANZA Conference is still many months away and we’ve all got a winter of flu-dodging to get through first, time is running out if you want to contribute by presenting this year.  Abstracts for LIANZA conference 2009 will only be received until Friday 22 May, which is only a little over three weeks away.  Plenty enough time to submit your abstract via the online form, but not if you keep “thinking about it” and putting it off.  Now’s the time to kick procrastination in the butt and get your abstracts in.  Don’t leave it until the last minute!

The process really couldn’t be easier.  The online form is a two stage process.  First enter in your details and on the next page attach your abstract.  There’s also the facility to access your submission in order to make changes at any point up until 22 May.  And if you’re at all confused about the formatting required there’s already a handy-dandy example that you can download, then just change it to include your details.  Easy peasy.

In terms of what Guy and the folk on the Programme sub-committee are looking for in possible presentations, anything goes.  They want as diverse a range of topics as they can get so they can choose a programme that has breadth and depth and something to offer everyone.  Perhaps you think your topic will only be of interest to a handful of people?  Maybe that’s true but it’s actually more likely that there are many people who can take something away from your experience, project or idea.  We may work in vastly different institutions but there are common themes and issues that we deal with that may apply as much in a special library as it does in a tertiary or public one.

This is not a powerpoint presentation

This is not a powerpoint presentation

Also, don’t be tied down to the idea that a presentation has to be one person talking to a million powerpoint slides.  You’re encouraged to be a bit more freeform with your presentation.  Depending on your topic a workshop might work well.  Interactivity with the audience is key.  What kind of presentation would you like to see?  Why not do that?  If you’re not keen on a full-fledged presentation what about a poster session?

In terms of reasons to present how about the fact that it’ll look good on your CV (professional registration anyone?) or that your institution is probably more likely to fund your trip to conference if you’re presenting.  And if that’s not enough reason how about that presenters usually get a little thank you gift?

At the end of the day LIANZA conference is only as good as we, the people in the profession, can make it.

He aha te mea nui o tēnei ao
Māku e kī atu
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

You ask me, what is the most important thing on earth?
My reply is it is people, it is people, it is people

Guy wants you to get with the Programme

Guy wants you to get with the Programme

This week, in our continuing mission to find out about the people behind LIANZA Conference 2009 we talk to Guy Field who has the not inconsiderable responsibility of determining what features on the programme for this year’s conference.

Kia ora Guy, could you start off by telling the nice people a little something about your library (or non-library) background?

I have been working in libraries for an embarrassingly long period of time. I started my library career as a “super numerary” (that dates me!) library assistant in School Library Services in Nelson in 1986, having returned from my OE needing to find a job and a vocation. I’ve never really looked back. Completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Librarianship at Victoria the following year, and then moved to Christchurch as a School Library Advisor with National Library. A highlight of this job was the trip all the way to Haast in the late model work car, to advise on school library development (they used to throw their weeded books into the swamp!).

A lowlight was cleaning out the Greymouth branch of School Library Service after the Grey River had once again flooded the town. However the novelty of driving around the middle of the South Island and staying in motels wore off after a few years, and I moved to the highly regarded library at Christchurch Polytechnic (as it was then) to work with luminaries such as Penny Carnaby, Mirla Edmundson and Rosemary Nicholls. Sixteen years later (where did the years go?) I decided it was time for a change, and I have been enjoying the challenges of information service delivery in the highly regarded Christchurch City Libraries since the beginning of 2008.

You’re the chair for the Programme sub-committee. What does that involve?


Abstract art.  Not exactly what were talking about

Abstract art. Not exactly what we're talking about.

Got any abstracts lying around that might like to go to conference? Are you sure? Have you checked behind the couch cushions? Under the bed? What about in the shed?

What I’m very flippantly referring to is that the call for abstracts for this year’s conference has officially gone out.

I think a lot of people assume that they don’t have anything “conference-worthy” to contribute and dismiss the call for abstracts, leaving it for people who are “more important” than them to deal with. I think that’s a shame and that there’s a lot of sterling work going on out in library-land that would be really useful for others to know about.

Last year my colleague Aurelia Arona co-presented a session on bi-lingual storytimes at Christchurch City Libraries. I know that she was nervous about doing it and that on some level she wondered if what she had to say would be of interest to anyone else. Sometimes it’s easy to take the work that you do for granted and assume that everyone already knows how to do it too.

The session was a great success (it’s not every day I do heads, shoulders, knees and toes in three different languages…with a hangover) and it was clear from the Q and A afterwards that many people attending got a great deal out of it. So the moral of the story is – share your knowledge, there will be grateful recipients (and if you must drink too much bubbly at the dinner do pack paracetemol).

So have you been involved in a project where you’d wished someone had warned you of the pitfalls beforehand? Why not do that for someone else? Are you a recent MLIS graduate with a piece of research burning a hole in your pocket? Have you just got something information-related to skite about? If so, then take a few minutes to consider whacking together an abstract and submitting it for consideration.

You’ve got until Friday 22 May and that’s heaps of time to deal to your own or needle someone you know into telling the world about the great work they’ve been doing.  Go to it!