Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

When you are invited to an interview the institution should indicate what sorts of things they will be expecting from you. Many will give you a schedule of your events. It is perfectly acceptable to ask about the conditions for a job talk (or classroom presentation): How many people will be there, what kind of tech will be available, who the audience will be. Be sure to ask about time and whether there will be Q and A after. These questions show that you really want the job because you are willing to tailor your performances to their conditions.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

You have to know the audience and the kind of institution interviewing you to ace your job talk. Is the audience going to be department faculty, a mixed audience including students, and if there are students are they undergraduate or graduate. People are going to be assessing the talk both as an indication of the quality of your research AND your ability to interact and communicate in a classroom. Those are not always the same things, but the ability to make people care about your topic and go away interested intalking with you more about it would be the best outcome.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

And time your presentation, reading slowly! Some conferences, like Organization of American Historians, provide you with exact word counts for a 15-minute and 20-minute presentation and you would do well to adhere to these guidelines. And others, including OAH and the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities, require you to submit your papers to the person selected as "Commentator" no less than two weeks before the conference, so don't be that person still writing your paper on the airplane en route!

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

Read your paper aloud several times to catch (and change) awkward wordings. Time yourself to one minute less than the allotted time and edit as needed. Once you have it in final form, print it triple spaced in a large (size 14 or larger) font, bolded. Number your pages. Do not staple them. Put the pages in a folder, paperclipped. Remove the clip before presenting.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

Send your paper to your discussant by the deadline set by the conference. If organizers have not set one, email the discussant and ask her/him. Most people would like it a few weeks in advance. That -- and not the conference -- is your deadline. Send *exactly* the version that you will be sharing with the audience. Asking another scholar to read two or three times the material you can share in the time allotted to you and to guess what to address in her/his comments is disrespectful.

Rose Stremlau
Davidson College

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