Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Presenting to an International Audience at Professional Conferences

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Presenting to an International Audience at Professional Conferences

Article excerpt

PRESENTING WITH STYLE

The purpose of this column, "Presenting With Style," is to help individuals present their work more successfully at international conferences. Although the NASP annual convention is the most recognized school psychology conference in the United States, the International School Psychology Association (ISPA) holds a large conference every summer in various locations all over the world.

In this column, we will discuss the experience one of us had in presenting this previous summer at the ISPA conference and will also provide some important tips for presenting work for international audiences. The ISPA conference was held this past July in Montreal, Canada and representatives from hundreds of countries were in attendance, making it a very diverse audience.

On my first day at ISPA, I (V.C.) had the privilege of participating in the PREPaRE workshop led by Dr. Shane Jimerson, who coordinates many activities within both the United States and abroad pertainingto school psychology. I was lucky to be a part of this presentation because it took place prior to my own presentations, and Dr. Jimerson is an excellent public speaker who is able to reach highly diverse audiences. I tried to take in some of the ways in which Dr. Jimerson presented in order to channel them into my own work. For example, Dr. Jimerson spoke slowly, and at the beginning of the session, told the audience that they were welcome to ask any questions pertaining to a word that might not be familiar in English. I also noticed that he made very clear and consistent eye contact with everyone around the room, making each individual from different parts of the world feel equally important.

Following Dr. Jimerson's lead, I tried to emulate many of the qualities he exhibited during his presentation while presenting my poster session and two individual presentations. For example, during the poster session, I did my best to make eye contact and maintain adequate personal space from participants, because people from various nations regard personal space differently. I also introduced myself cautiously to the foreign presenters (e.g., in terms of handshakes) since many countries have different rituals. For example, one Japanese psychologist gave me a short bow, which was anice surprise. Being from New York, I naturally talk extremely fast, but for this presentation, I made a more conscious effort to slow down while communicating the main findings on our poster exploring gender differences and posttraumatic stress disorder. …

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