Last updated: June 2023
Proposing a session or round table
The scientific sessions are the core unit of EAA AMs. They must work as a whole, and as an inclusive unit that joins different perspectives (individual contributions) together. This overall character of sessions is a key feature of EAA AMs.
If possible, all sessions are planned in a hybrid format to allow also online participation. At least one session organiser needs to be present onsite.
- When considering a proposal for a session, session organisers are expected to evaluate the theme/topic/issue to be addressed with care and with reference to its relevance to colleagues at a European level.
• Mono-national sessions are discouraged by the Scientific Committee and disapproved of. EAA seeks to avoid situations where only one country is represented.
- Sessions should normally have organisers from at least two countries and representing at least two different institutions (maximum number of session organisers is five, incl. main organiser) 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; an abstract and PowerPoint presentation in English must be provided.
- Session organisers must consider the session format that is best suited to the session theme and purpose. Most of the sessions must contain abstracts submitted during the Call for contributions.
- We allow the following session formats (each with different requirements):
- Regular session. Contains 15-minute oral contributions followed by discussion and possibly posters. All abstracts must be submitted during the Call for contributions. The minimum number of oral presentations is six, including introduction.
- Session with presentations of 6 slides in 6 minutes (Pecha kucha). Contains short presentations submitted during the Call for contributions and allows a longer time for discussion. The minimum number of oral presentations is six.
- Session with keynote presentation followed by presentations and / or discussion. Contains keynote presentation(s), 15-minute oral contributions and/or poster presentations and discussion. All contributions (incl. keynote presentation) must be submitted during the Call for contributions.
- Session with pre-circulated papers. Contains oral / poster presentations submitted during the Call for contributions. The minimum number of oral presentations is six. The papers are circulated to the speakers at least one week in advance, and only shortly presented during the session, allowing a longer time for discussion.
- Discussion session (with formal abstracts). Contains oral / poster presentations submitted during the Call for contributions. The minimum number of oral presentations is three. There is a longer time for discussion. Session details can be discussed on individual basis.
- Round table (without formal abstracts). No contributions are submitted during the Call for contributions. Session organisers only provide a list of confirmed speakers and specific requirements by the deadline specified by the EAA Secretariat. All speakers must be registered for the AM.
- Workshop. Oral / poster contributions can be submitted during the Call for contributions or a list of speakers is provided by the session organisers. Details of the session (schedule, duration, room size and other specific requirements etc.), must be shared with the EAA Secretariat.
- Other - to be specified in the submission.
- Session organisers are asked to consider the appropriate balance between invited papers, papers chosen personally, or papers submitted in the general call for papers and identified by the Scientific Committee as suited to the theme or topic of the session. A balance of all three works very well.
- Session organisers must note that the EAA does not normally allow one person to organise more than one session as the main organiser. Organisers may, however, be involved with one other session as a co-organiser, or a chair of the General session.
- Session proposals should be made after the call for sessions in September, the year beforehand (the call for sessions closes typically in early/mid-November). Session proposals and abstracts are submitted through the on-line submission form, outlining the theme, aims and hoped-for content. The goal and preferred format should be identified at this stage. Deadlines for each AM are clearly outlined on the AM website at the time of the call for session proposals. The person submitting the session abstract is considered the main session organiser and is the main contact person during the Annual Meeting preparations.
- The membership and AM registration status of session organisers is verified once the session is accepted by the Scientific Committee.
- Session organisers are advised to identify and invite colleagues to participate in their sessions and are expected to approach those that can contribute effectively and/or have a contribution to make to the session theme.
- It is important to note that sessions should normally have contributors from at least three different countries.
- The EAA Secretariat cannot normally assist in identifying suitable session co-organisers and / or presenters. A call for contributions to particular sessions, if required, can be made through social media or TEA.
- Sessions should not normally be repeated or continued from one AM to another . In rare cases exceptions can be made, after the Scientific Committee has assessed the session proposal and ensures that it demonstrates a strong interest among members, or demonstrates significant development.
- If a session does not have sufficient speakers by the deadline, the session organiser must co-operate with the Scientific Committee on the further steps. The ScC may propose one or more paper proposals from among the papers offered by Members. A failure to identify sufficient papers (at least 6) results in changing the session format, merger with another session or cancellation of the session and identifying another session for the submitted contributions. Session organisers may be offered to present in another session. Session organisers are responsible for preparing the complete programme of their session and submitting their final version of the session programme to the EAA Secretariat for inclusion in the AM Abstract and Programme Book.
- Session organisers should liaise with the EAA Secretariat to ensure that all presenters (incl. those in round tables) have registered for the AM so that session programmes are accurately planned.
Planning the session
- Session organisers are expected to stay in contact with the EAA Secretariat with regard to possible changes required: in the date, in the programme, in the equipment needed or the size of room where the session will be held. Session organisers are expected to respect the deadlines provided.
- Session organisers should communicate with ‘their’ speakers directly to explain how the session will run (including the programme); provide any necessary instructions, including the ‘Notes for speakers’ (EAA-Guideline No. 5.2.16), and to ensure that they have read these – and find out whether they attend onsite or online.
- When preparing the session programme, session organisers are asked to allot appropriate time slots to all contributions, bearing in mind the session length, and include time required for a general introduction, introduction to individual presentations/speakers and discussion.
- Session organisers should prepare a general introduction to the session that sets the papers into context, explaining the overall ‘shape’ of session programme, where the session will lead to and why the papers are set in the order they are. Links between papers should also be pointed out. This all assists the audience and ‘leads’ listeners through the session rather than be confronted with a series of apparently disjointed presentations.
- The discussion elements of the session should be prepared somewhat in advance. A series of themes and/or points should be identified that can be drawn on to direct the discussion, rather than just expecting it to develop its own accord. It is also useful to be able to call on specific members of the audience to contribute to the discussion, especially if discussion is a bit slow to start, or needs to move on to another point. Such people need to be notified in advance if they are to be called on to make a comment; members of the audience should not be asked without warning.
- When relevant (when the format is that of a round table discussion or a meeting of a particular EAA Community) session organisers are asked to ensure that they identify a Rapporteur to take notes and prepare a report or proposal for the EAA Executive Board, those attending and for The European Archaeologist (TEA) newsletter.
- There is the possibility that papers from sessions or round tables may be suitable for publication in the TEA, the European Journal of Archaeology (EJA) or developed into topics for publication in the THEMES in Contemporary Archaeology monographs. Please contact the TEA, EJA and/or THEMES editors in advance of the AM, or as soon as possible after it, if you are considering any one of these options (see http://www.e-a-a.org). Any AM papers submitted for publication in the EJA / THEMES will be subject all normal selection and editorial criteria, including external peer review.
- Selected sessions may be filmed and placed on the EAA website / social media. Session organisers will be contacted by the EAA Secretariat staff with call for submissions and further details, including authorisation forms to be signed by presenters.
Check list for session organisers
Before the session
- All sessions are planned as hybrid, allowing also online attendance. At least one session organiser must be present onsite. It is not possible to organise completely online session.
- The meeting rooms are fully equipped with computers / laptops, cameras, microphones, speakers and projectors.
- Make sure you are in email contact with all your presenters, and ask them to inform you in case they wish to present online or need to cancel (in that case, inform the EAA Secretariat urgently).
- Familiarise yourself with the room in which your session will be held and the equipment provided. There will be a technician / volunteer on hand throughout the session to assist with audio-visual aids.
- If possible, arrange a meeting of all presenters beforehand to go through the schedule and any other relevant items.
- Be prepared to brief speakers on how you propose to introduce them to their allotted time and how you propose to indicate that their time is up. In addition, if it is not included in the session programme, inform speakers how you intend to handle questions and discussion.
- Ensure that speakers have all given their PowerPoint presentations to the technician, as specified by the local organisers. These must be loaded in due time before the session begins. Online participants are asked to provide a pre-recorded presentation or at least a PowerPoint presentation to the session organiser(s) before the session so technical issues of unstable internet connection are avoided.
- Make sure all your speakers are present before the session starts and that they are familiar with the programme and that they are aware of the ‘running order’ of speakers (including any changes) and for how long they are allowed to speak.
During the session
- Remember that it takes several minutes for the change-over between papers; during this time the chairperson is the link, who thanks the previous speaker and introduces the next.
- Alert onsite speakers to talk to the microphone, so that online participants can hear and see the onsite speaker. Check that the session is live-streaming; in case of problems, please talk to the IT support / volunteer available in the lecture room.
- Remember that all participants at the AM are there as individuals, not as spokespersons for the organisations that employ them (unless they specifically indicate the contrary). Be prepared to divert ‘pointed’ questions in the event that attendees or participants attempt to solicit views about the policies and practice of particular organisations.
- Identify a rapporteur for a round table discussion, it is generally very helpful.
- Prior to discussion/questions, request those posing questions or making points to introduce themselves to the audience – this helps people make follow-up contact with one another. Make sure that those participating in the discussion are audible to the whole audience and that they wait for the microphone to arrive if there is one. If the room is large enough, invite all the presenters (or those involved in a ‘block’) to the top of the room to answer the audience.
- Remember to acknowledge and thank all contributors in an appropriate way.
After the session
- Prepare a report on the results of a round table or a dedicated working meeting and ensure that any proposals to be made to the EAA Executive Board are received by the Vice-President or another ExB member identified.
- Session reports are welcomed by the editor of TEA (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the event that you bring a proposal to the ExB, you will be required to prepare a short report for publication in TEA.
- In case you have opted to have your session filmed, you will be asked to confirm the filmed material before it is published
Last updated: June 2023
Lecturing at an international meeting demands a particular effort beyond all the normal requirements of public lecturing. Speakers must remember to speak slowly and clearly, especially when presenting to an audience whose language may not be English.
In addition, speakers who are lecturing in a language that is not their own first language need to make a special effort to ensure that they are clearly understood. Awareness of these points ensures a good experience for all concerned.
The aim of this advice is to improve communication within EAA. It is aimed at all speakers, even those that are experienced in lecturing and presentation.
Suggestions for the improvement are welcome.
EAA Members are very welcome to use these notes in the event of personally organising meetings or teaching students how to lecture in public.
General guidelines 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 and do not stand too close to it where there is a danger you might touch it or breathe too forcibly into it.
- Try always to look at and think of your audience. Do not turn your back on the audience or talk to the screen. If you must refer to your notes be careful to look up at your audience frequently while doing so.
- 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, but less is better. 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 must read the lecture out loud to yourself -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 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, but less is better. If you have several points to make, spread them over several slides rather than on one slide.
- 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 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 the size of your files to alleviate problems of presentation – 200-300 dpi or even less 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 used at the AM (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 email it to yourself and preferably also the session organiser before the AM as well / store it in the cloud. 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 end only thanking your audience for listening!
- Acquaint yourself with the software used. The EAA enables test sessions usually in the week of the AM.
- We strongly recommend to pre-record the presentation even if you plan to present live, and provide this recording to the session organiser so they can use it if anything goes wrong, and it is a must if your internet connection is not stable / strong enough. We expect you to be available for the live discussion.
- We recommend using internet connection with a speed of at least 1.2 Mbps. Please also ensure you are not connected to a VPN.
- When presenting, it is best to use a microphone and headphones, or an all-in-one headset, to cancel out any background noise.
- If possible, please sit with your back to the wall, with all windows shut and covered.
- If you are not actively presenting, please turn off your camera and microphone. Make sure you are available via the chat feature for communication with the session organiser / assistant in the session.
- Acquaint yourself with the session running order and the time allowed for your presentation: ask the session organiser(s) if in doubt. Please note all times mentioned in the programme are local times of the AM – so it may differ from your own.
Last updated: June 2023
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. The session organisers and the Scientific Committee may suggest to members proposing a paper that does not fit into the session programme to convert this paper into a poster presentation.
There are two strategies that can be adopted to promote interest in your poster:
- Make it short, visually attractive and easy to read, with as many pictures and as little text as possible. This will attract the casual passer-by; or
- Aim for a limited, but more interested group, by having considerably more text.
In either case, a handout providing the same or more details is potentially very useful and helpful. Consideration needs to be given to practicalities (e.g. to distribute handouts in the session your poster is listed in).
English is the main language of the AM, and is recommended for this reason. However, bilingual posters are a good solution if there is not much text. If this cannot be achieved, the illustrations need to be annotated or self-evident. Alternatively, a translation as a handout would be useful. The assistance of a native English speaker is advised. If problems are encountered the organisers can be approached and they may be able to suggest someone. If someone is correcting your text, ensure that both the English version and original version are available so that problems of translation can be checked.
Include information personal information/affiliation, and contact details, including during the AM.
Posters describing sites must include a map to show the site’s location. The date of the site is also important for EAA’s many-national membership.
Posters should have simple and clear headings to attract interested people who are passing by.
Posters that form part of a session should be presented during the time slot reserved within the session, as specified by the session organisers.
At some AMs, there may be a general ‘poster session’ day.
The organisers will provide information about the recommended/maximum size and format - the EAA has been using e-posters recently for the sake of sustainability (e-posters are displayed digitally at the AM venue, the mobile app and on the web). This recommendation must be observed. Otherwise there is a risk that the poster will not be displayed.
Posters are normally part of a regular session and may be given a specific time slot within the session. Attendance at posters is required and provides an opportunity to answer questions, provide additional information and follow up on points made by your audience.
The programme may also include a general ‘poster presentation’. Attendance at this time is also required.