posted March 31, 2013 2:57 PM by Jessi Bennett
I am still digesting everything...yesterday I participated in my first conference, Simmons 2nd Annual GSLIS Graduate Symposium. The day went well all things considered, but it was both an exhilarating and exhausting experience.
I presented on the art panel and chose to talk about how we can use technology to integrate more use of primary source documentation as a means of context in art museums. It was not an idea I thought would create any backlash at all, and perhaps backlash is not the right word. It wasn't hostile, but some of the questions I received after my presentation surprised me.
But that is a good thing, and is the point of a symposium. It is all part of the peer review. When my very first question was pushing back at something I said instead of just a general question for further explanation I immediately felt my pulse quicken and my self-esteem plummet. But I quickly realized that the questioner was not attacking me, she was not even really attacking my work but simply bringing up points that I had not considered. Especially in all the hustle and bustle of preparing a presentation (and your first one to boot) you can perhaps overlook some part of the content that needs to be addressed. I'm sure this happens to even the most experienced researchers at times.
The Q & A was definitely the more rattling portion of the symposium. You can prepare your presentation till you have it memorized it word for word if you want to, but you can only anticipate the questions. Anticipating the questions correctly means you would have probably already answered them in your presentation...
I enjoyed listening to my fellow students (albeit, a lot more after I presented than before) and seeing what interested them. All in all it was a great experience to develop presentation skills in a non-threatening environment with great feedback.