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EAA-Guidelines No. 4.8
Guidelines for organisers of sessions and round tables

Proposing a session or round table 
  • When considering a proposal for a session, please evaluate carefully what the issue is you want to address and its relevance to colleagues at a European level.
  • Mono-national sessions are discouraged and disapproved of by the Scientific Committee. The session should have organisers from at least two countries and speakers should normally be from at least three countries. Individual papers in languages other than English will be accepted but must be comprehensible to an English-speaking audience; the abstract in English must be provided.  
  • Please consider the format best suited for your purpose (see Themes and Sessions tab).
  • Also consider the appropriate balance, whether you want all papers chosen by you, all papers found by a call or something in between.
  • Please note that the EAA does not normally allow one person to organise more than one session or round table. Organisers may, however, be involved with one other session as co-organiser, chair or discussant.
  • Submit a proposal through the on-line submission form explaining the theme and goals and your preferred format (regular session, round table, working party meeting, poster session, etc.). Make sure you observe all deadlines set by the organisers.
  • Approach colleagues interested in the theme, ascertain their willingness to contribute a paper and do not forget to verify their membership status. Do remember that sessions should normally have contributors from at least three different countries. Please note that the EAA Secretariat is not normally capable of assisting you in finding suitable persons, but you may use other means of communication such as TEA or the EAA-website. If you do not intend to take the chair yourself, invite a chairperson. Sessions should not normally be repeated or continued from one AM to another. Only in rare cases, when the Scientific Committee is made aware of a strong interest amongst members, can exceptions be made.
  • If your session does not have all the speakers by the deadline, co-operate with the Scientific Committee in completing it – the ScC may propose some from among the papers offered by members.
  • Session organisers are responsible for preparing the complete programme of their session and for submitting the final version of the session to the local organisers for inclusion in the AM abstracts book.
  • Please note that as organiser it is your responsibility – and yours alone – to ascertain that all presenters are registered and have fully paid for the AM by the deadline. Failure to do so may result in the removal of a presenter or even in the cancellation of your session.
  • Be aware that in the event that an insufficient number of papers are proposed or accepted for your session, it may be cancelled or merged with another session
 
Planning the session 
  • Session organisers should stay in contact with the local organisers for any changes to the programme, equipment needed, consultations on the size of room where the session will be held, potential dates, etc. Session organisers should respect the deadlines provided by the local organisers.
  • Communicate with the speakers about the way you intend your session to run, give them any necessary instructions, and in any case make sure all your presenters  have read the ‘Notes for speakers’ (EAA-Guideline No. 4.9) which will be circulated by the organisers before the conference. Ask about desired equipment.
  • When programming your session and allotting times to papers, bear in mind that although 14 / 28  papers are the average number allowed, you need time for an introduction, changeover between speakers, and discussion.
  • Prepare an introduction to the session that sets the papers into context, explaining where the session will lead and why the papers are set in the order they are. Also prepare some links to go between the papers to lead the audience through the session rather than be confronted with a series of apparently disjointed presentations.
  • Be prepared for the discussion element of the session. Have a series of themes and points that you can draw on to direct the discussion rather than just expect it to take off of its own accord. It is also useful to be able to call on specific members of the audience to contribute if the discussion is a bit slow or needs moving on to another topic. Such people need to be warned in advance that you might call on them for a comment; do not call on people you have not consulted.
  • When relevant (when the format is that of a working party meeting, usually when it is a round table and in exceptional cases for a session) ensure that you have someone to take notes and prepare a report or proposal for the EAA Executive Board.
  • There is the possibility that papers from sessions or round tables may be suitable for publication in the EAA’s European Journal of Archaeology (EJA) or the THEMES in Contemporary Archaeology in whole or part. Please contact the EJA / THEMS Editors in advance of the AM, or as soon as possible after it, if you are considering this option (see http://www.e-a-a.org). Any AM papers submitted for publication in the EJA / THEMES will be subject to the normal editorial conditions, including external peer review. 
  • There may be the possibility to film selected sessions at the AM and place the record on the web. If this is the case, session organisers will be contacted by the EAA staff with call for submissions and further details.

 

Before the session or round table
  • Make sure you check with the Registration Office to verify that all presenters have indeed arrived at the AM. If you have speakers you do not know in person, please make sure you meet them well before your session is scheduled, preferably on a previous day.
  • Familiarise yourself with the room your session will be held in and the equipment available. There will be a technician on hand through the session to assist with visual aids.
  • If possible, arrange a meeting of all presenters beforehand to go through the schedule and any other relevant items.
  • Brief speakers on how you will indicate to them that their allotted time has expired, and how you will be handling questions and discussion.
  • Ensure speakers have given their PowerPoint presentations to the technician as specified by the local organisers. These must be loaded in due time before the session begins.
  • Make sure all your speakers are present before the session starts and that they know the ‘running order’ of speakers and for how long they are allowed to speak.

  

During the session or round table
  • Remember that it takes several minutes for the change-over between papers; during this time the chairperson is the link, thanking the previous speaker and introducing the next.
  • Remember that participants at the Meeting are there as individuals, not as spokespersons for the organisations that employ them (unless they specifically indicate to the contrary). Be prepared to divert pointed questions from participants should they attempt to solicit views about the policies of particular organisations from individuals.
  • During the discussion/question element of the session, request that those asking questions or making points introduce themselves to the audience – this helps people make contact with one another.  Make sure that those participating in the discussion address and are audible to the whole audience and wait for the microphone to arrive if there is one. A private discussion between the speaker and someone in the front row helps nobody!
  • Remember to thank all contributors in an appropriate way.

 

After the session or round table
  • Prepare a report on the results of a round table or working party meeting and ensure that any proposals to be put before the AMBM are submitted in writing to the Vice-President or Secretary of the EAA at the earliest possible moment; in any case, such material has to be delivered by 12.00 on the day of the AMBM.
  • In case of a report and/or proposal resulting from your session, your presence at the AMBM is required. If you are prevented from attending, make sure a colleague will be present who is fully aware of all aspects and notify the Vice-President of this.
  • You will be asked to prepare a short written report on the session for publication in TEA.

EAA-Guidelines No. 4.9
Notes for speakers  

Lecturing at an international conference demands a particular effort beyond all the normal requirements of public lecturing. You will be talking to an audience whose language is not your own. In addition, you may be lecturing in a language which is not your own first language. It is therefore important to make a special attempt to make yourself understood. Awareness of this should be good experience in making you think more about your presentation, and hopefully make you a better lecturer! The aim of this advice is to improve our communication with one another, so please read it even if you are an experienced lecturer, and if you have suggestions for improvement, please let us know.  Also if you are organising a conference yourself or teaching students how to lecture in public, please feel free to plagiarise these notes.

General guide lines on lecturing

The basics of how to be heard:

  • Before you start, check the microphone if there is one, and make sure you can be heard at the back of the audience.
  • Do not move away from the microphone when lecturing in a large hall.
  • Try always to look at your audience. Do not turn your back on the audience, talk to the screen or down into your notes.
  • Choose someone at the back of the hall as the person to whom you are talking, and try to keep their interest. This will help you to project your voice to the whole audience.  

 These are some of the basics of how to be understood:

  • Speak slowly.
  • Keep it simple. Short sentences are most easily understood.
  • In a 15-minute presentation you can only make a limited number of points. Be clear about what is important, and do not attempt to do too much.
  • Try to highlight the main points of your talk in your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Use the Arial or Helvetica fonts because they are most easily read from a distance and of course by people with difficulties such as dyslexia.
  • Names of sites, people and numbers in another language can be difficult to catch, so make sure these appear in your visual aids.
  • Help your audience to concentrate. When pointing to details on the projection screen hold the pointer as still as you can on the detail being indicated for a couple of seconds. Do not wave the pointer about on the screen. Try to avoid pointing and talking at the same time as the audience will probably not hear you if you move away from the microphone. Be sure to point only at the screen if using a laser pointer.
  • Finally, English is the international language for the EAA. You must therefore ensure that your presentation can be understood in English, whatever language you may be speaking in, by using English in your PowerPoint presentation, or in any handouts you prepare. There are various ways of doing this, and rules for helping the audience, and some are listed in the following sections.  

 

Specific guidelines for lecturing in your own language

Note – this section has been written especially (but not only!) for native English speakers. This is because native English speakers are generally less used to lecturing in or listening to another language (and to trying to grasp its meaning) and therefore they can be less sensitive towards an international audience’s difficulties of comprehension.  
In addition to the suggestions given in the general points above, there are various further suggestions for those lecturing in their mother tongue: 

  • Assume you will have three types of people in the audience: those who understand very little or nothing, those who have various levels of understanding but are still improving their skills, and those who speak the language fluently. You must try to cater for all of them.
  • Be extra careful to speak VERY clearly, slowly, distinctly and keep it simple. Do not mumble or run your words together.
  • Summarise  the main points of your talk in your PowerPoint presentation because most people usually read a language which is not their own much better than they understand it when spoken.
  • Do not use colloquialisms or expressions which may not be easily understood by those whose mother tongue is not the same as yours.  

 

Specific guidelines for lecturing in a second language

In addition to the suggestions given in the general points above, there are various ways of making your presentation comprehensible specifically for those lecturing in a second language. 
First and foremost, recognise that you will probably be speaking with an accent and intonation that may be comprehensible to native speakers but very difficult for others to understand, so try to speak especially slowly and clearly. 

  • If possible get a native speaker to check your text beforehand.
  • You can also have three types of additional aids to make your paper understood by everyone in the audience:
  • Simultaneous translation. If this is available (it is expensive and rare) try to speak to the translators before your lecture, and give them the text in advance so that specialist terms can be sorted out. 
  • Handouts for the audience. These should have more detail than the published abstract or summary, and should allow the audience to follow your lecture in detail. 
  • Verbal summaries of your lecture in another language. These should preferably be given before the lecture itself. It takes up precious time in a session, but may be necessary in discussion sessions.  
Styles of lecturing.

There is no single way to give a good lecture, and a mixture of styles may make a session more interesting. In any case, whichever method or combination of methods you choose, it is important to be thoroughly prepared. Nothing makes a worse impression than a hesitant delivery, with many pauses between words and sentences, and an appearance of disorganisation. There are, however, some basic rules which should not be broken. 

  • Speaking without a text. This is a good way for those who can do it – it works on the principle that if you cannot hold in your head what you want to say, there is no way the audience will be able to grasp it. Use your PowerPoint slides as prompts. Remember that it is usually recommended that each slide should have a maximum of 30-35 words. If you are lecturing in a language which is not your own, and forget a word, ask the audience – it keeps them involved! This style needs careful preparation beforehand (talking to oneself!). It allows you to address the audience more directly, to adjust your time (but keep a close eye on the clock!). The disadvantage is that you may miss a key point or over-run badly.
  • Lecturing from a prepared text. Reading from a text gives you greater control over the timing, but you should read the lecture out loud to youreself - slowly - two or three times beforehand. If you have to read fast, then it is too long.Although this style is normal in some countries, it may not be ideal when speaking to international audiences. Your written style may be too literary for your audience so you should make a special effort to write simply. Pay particular attention to your speaking style and intonation, as this type of lecturing may lead you to read it in a monotonous tone and not to look up at your audience. If something goes wrong, you have very little flexibility. In some lecture theatres there can also be problems with lighting so you cannot read your text and show PowerPoint at the same time. Make the text easy to read – large lettering, and widely spaced. A 15 minute lecture will consist of about 3-4 typed pages with 1.5 line spacing, but usually you should restrict yourself to 13 minutes to allow time for changeover of speakers.
  • Lecturing with only brief notes. This can be difficult as you have continually to look up from your notes to the audience, and then back again to the notes. It is better – and helps the audience to follow you – to put your headings on your PowerPoint slides.    
Visual aids. 

General guidelines: 

  • Visual aids should generally be bold and simple – audiences cannot take in too much information when they are listening at the same time.
  • Make sure that every slide makes a point, and do not pad your lecture with unnecessary slides – it is a sign you are insecure.
  • Leave the slide on the screen long enough for the audience to absorb its contents.
  • Ensure your text is legible: use a large font size (24 pt or bigger).
  • Do not put too much text on one slide. The ideal maximum number of words is 30-35 per slide. If you have several points to make, spread them over several slides rather than on one slide. 6. Use lower and upper case characters in text rather than simple block letters.
  • Use line weight, style, symbol, etc. to convey important information, but do not use too many variations.
  • Maintain consistency in images, legends, colours, etc.
  • Check for misspellings.
  • You may want to use the background colour to link points together and to change colour when you change topic.

   PowerPoint 

  • Most speakers use PowerPoint nowadays. Please take into account that the use of other visual aids such as slides and transparencies (OHPs) is now discouraged as some institutions are disposing of their slide and OHP projectors!
  • PowerPoint allows a combination of text and graphics, but it is important to get the balance right: too much text is unreadable; too little can leave the audience lost. Here we offer only a few general words of advice.
  • PowerPoint allows you to use visual gimmicks, but remember that these are more likely to distract your audience than to help them understand your point. Use them only occasionally, when you are sure they will enhance your presentation.
  • In PowerPoint you have the option of editing the illustrations you import, e.g. darkening or lightening or sharpening them to improve clarity.  You can also reduce to size of your files to alleviate problems of presentation – 200-300 dpi is usually sufficient for lecturing.
  • Use colours in an effective way and remember that some member of the audience may be colour blind or dyslexic. Try to use either light background with black letters or, inversely, dark background with white letters.  
  • Make sure you label slides and plans with the name of the sites (names and large numbers are difficult to understand for those not familiar with them).
  • Make sure images are properly trimmed, redraw frames, and perhaps clean up lettering on scanned images (poor quality images reflect on your preparation and therefore your credibility).
  • Make sure your version of PowerPoint is compatible with that which will be usedat the conference (e.g. presentations prepared on the most recent versions of PowerPoint may not be compatible with earlier versions).  
  • Bring your file on a memory stick, but perhaps also on a disc as well. Always be prepared to lecture without the visual aids in case some disaster strikes. Make sure your filename includes your name or initials, not just the paper’s title or session title.
  • All the files should be loaded on to the computer before the session starts, and the icons should be displayed on the desktop in the order that the lectures will be given. This means that you should make sure that you contact the session organiser(s) beforehand to ensure that this is done before the session.  
  • Often the last slide will stay on the screen while questions are being asked or changing lecturers, so why not suggest three or four items for further reading on it? There is no need to thank your audience for listening!  
Some final suggestions -before and after the session. 

In addition to the points mentioned above, here are four further suggestions regarding what to do before the session: 

  • Make yourself known to the session organiser and any one providing technical help as soon as possible – the organiser should arrange a meeting beforehand of all participants in the session.
  • Try out the equipment in the lecture theatre beforehand, so you know how to switch equipment and lights on and off, use of the mouse, pointer, etc.  
  • Run through your PowerPoint to make sure it works, and if possible stand at the back of the room to check that the text is legible.  
  • Take a watch or clock with you – all lecture theatres should have a clock, but many don’t!  

After you have given your paper, try to get advice from someone on how you might have improved your presentation.
Finally, there is the possibility that papers from sessions or round tables may be suitable for publication in the EAA’s European Journal of Archaeology (EJA) in whole or part. Please contact the Editor of the EJA in advance of the conference, or as soon as possible after it, if you are considering this option (see http://eja.e-a-a.org/). Any conference papers submitted for publication in the EJA will be subject to the normal editorial conditions, including external peer review.

EAA-Guidelines No. 4.10
Notes for poster presentations

Posters are a good way of communicating about your research. They are particularly effective for presentations communicating quantitative data, but can be used for a variety of reasons. A poster may be an independent presentation, it may be an addition to your paper, and it can be an alternative to an oral presentation. The Scientific Committee may offer members proposing a paper that does not fit into the programme to convert this into a poster presentation.

You have basically two strategies in interesting people in your poster: 
  1. Make it short and easy to read, with as many pictures and as little text as possible. This will attract the casual passer-by; or
  2. Aim for a limited, but more interested group, by having considerably more text. 
In either case, you might want a handout giving more details, but think how you will make this available – to hand out only when you are next to your poster, or to have a pocket on the poster in which you can leave copies.

Language
English is the main language of the AM, so this is best, but bilingual posters are also a good solution if you don’t have too much text. If you cannot do this, try to make the illustrations self-evident, or make a translation available as a handout. Try to get a native English speaker to help you – if you have no assistance, approach the organisers – they may be able to suggest someone. If someone is correcting your text, make both your English version and your original version available so that problems of translation can be checked. 

Content
Include information about who you are, and how you can be contacted, both at the AM, and at your normal address. If your poster is part of a poster session, make sure you are present during the time slot reserved for the session. If it is not, leave a note to say when you will be available at your poster to talk about it. At some annual meetings, there may be a general ‘poster session’ day.  
If you are talking about a site, make sure there is a map to show the site’s location, and its date – what may be self-evident to you is not to someone from the other end of Europe. Make sure the poster has a clear heading to attract interested people who are passing by.  

Size  
The organisers will have provided information about the maximum size, please observe the indicated measurements as otherwise you may find it impossible to present your poster.

Poster Sessions
If your poster is part of a poster session that has been given a specific time slot, you should be at your poster to answer questions and follow-up points with your audience. The programme may also include a general ‘poster presentation’. At this time you should of course also be present.

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