Jalen Strix (jalenstrix) wrote,
Jalen Strix

On my second conference presentation...

...which was at Yale this past weekend. Big historical linguistics conference, happens once every two years, etc.

Things of note, mostly.

1) Strangely, everyone else presenting pretty much already had their PhDs. From what I gather, this is not normal - usually, the conference presentations are made by aspiring grad students.

2) The professor from UPenn who gave me such hell last time was there. He stayed just to hear my talk on Sunday...and he liked it. He made a constructive criticism in a very pleasant tone, emphasized that he thought the work I was doing was great, and was generally congenial. (Maybe he had a better breakfast this time? I certainly didn't cite him any more than I did last time.)

3) Just because you are a big name in the field does not mean you are guaranteed to give a good presentation. In fact, based on data from this conference, it often means you won't. And in one particularly noticeable case, it means you'll vaguely ramble through a handout with numerous typos and poor organization until your 20 minutes are up. Eep.

4) The dress code is entirely informal. Jeans and t-shirts were the standard for most of the presenters. This still vaguely confuses me. I always assume jeans and t-shirts are okay for the audience, but not for the speaker. Not that the speaker needs a formal suit....but maybe a nice shirt? Or maybe I'm just a snob.

5) Linguistics conferences like handouts. Everyone has them. Everyone except me. I, instead, chose to use flamboyant powerpoint slides with everything color-coded and eye-catching so the audience would actually pay attention. (I have no shame.) It seemed to work - they were definitely listening to me instead of flipping through random data in a handout. However, I may want to consider having a handout which includes implementation details of the model, since that was not distracting but actually very helpful in one of the presentations I saw.

6) Never ever take the GW bridge, unless you're driving in the wee hours of the morning. The way home Sunday afternoon took us 2.5 hours to get through the damned thing.

7) Hanging out with a top-knotch modeler in your field who knows his way around Yale is never a bad thing. I spent Saturday and Sunday in the company of Charles Yang, whose work I make great use of in my own stuff. He wants me to see a preview of his new book and comment on it. Hee.

To sum up: Yay. Except for the traffic.
Tags: academic, happy things, linguistics

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