Guidelines for 2021 Panel Presenters

2021 Beacon Conference Walk-Through

  • All panel sessions will be conducted via Zoom.
  • If you have never used Zoom, instructions on creating an account and basic features can be found here. We strongly recommend that you create an account to familiarize yourself with the Zoom environment and to practice your presentation in advance.
  • However, please note that you do not have to have a Zoom account to make your presentation. What you will need is a computer with a camera and audio.
  • Each panel will take place in its own separate virtual conference room. Additional information and a link to log in on conference day will be provided to you by email.
  • Plan to join your panel at least 15 minutes early. The panel Moderator and a technician will be there. Upon entry, please notify them that you are a student presenter.
  • Make sure that your webcam and audio are on.
  • Your panel session will start with the panel Moderator introducing the presenters, their mentors and the panel Judge, and explaining the protocol.
  • Presenters will be given Co-Host status so that, if they choose to do so, they can display .pdf files or PowerPoint slides using the Share Screen function.
  • As with a physical meeting, each panel will proceed in the order listed in the Program and maintain the schedule of 20 minutes maximum per presentation, followed by questions from the Judge and the audience.
  • The audience will be muted throughout the session and will be instructed by the Moderator to submit comments and questions through Chat. The Moderator will read all or some of the comments and questions submitted by attendees.
  • After the session concludes, the Panel Award winner will be chosen by the panel Judge. The Judge’s decision will be announced during the 4:00 – 5:00 PM Awards Ceremony.

Hints and Tips for a Successful Zoom Presentation

  • Use a desktop computer or laptop that is hardwired to the Internet or in close proximity to the wifi signal (not a phone or tablet) for your presentation. While Zoom is available on all kinds of devices, a full sized computer and keyboard will provide the best experience. The recommended browser is Google Chrome. Please download and install the latest version. For instructions, click here.
  • Practice your presentation in a Zoom setting in order to test your Zoom connection ahead of time, especially your audio and video.
  • Test any virtual backgrounds that you may be utilizing to ensure the chosen image is not distracting and that there are no video irregularities. If not using a virtual background, be sure that your physical background does not distract from your presentation.*
  • Place your microphone near you and mute your audio when not in use.
  • Avoid bright lights and windows behind you. Good light in front of you (on your face) will provide for a better image.
  • Wear professional attire.
  • Look into the camera while speaking.
  • If you choose to share your screen during your presentation, share only the desired window, not the whole desktop.
  • Attend the technical dry-run session in May. You will receive an invitation by email. Make any adjustments necessary to the location of your camera, microphone, and lights after the dry-run.

Helpful Zoom Links and Tutorials

Standard Beacon Conference Guidelines for Panel Presenters

  • Prepare a Professional Presentation
    Beacon presentations vary tremendously. Some presenters give traditional academic talks, essentially reading their papers to the audience. Most presenters augment their presentations with visual aids: PowerPoint slides, video clips, etc. Regardless of the presentation method used, the best presentations have the following characteristics:
    • They respect the conference's time limits.
    • If a PowerPoint presentation is used, the slides augment the talk instead of driving it. In other words, the talk advances the slides instead of the slides advancing the talk.
    • They make clear whatever is original in the paper or project.
    • They are well organized so that an attentive audience can follow them.
    • They are given in a professional manner.
    • They are formed and rehearsed in consultation with a Faculty Mentor.
  • Anticipate Likely Questions
    While it is impossible to predict exactly what questions panel judges and attendees will ask, it is possible to anticipate the general kinds of questions your paper and presentation are likely to raise. Your Faculty Mentor can help you anticipate likely questions and prepare to answer them.

    Panel Judges often ask questions about research methodology, how to refine one's approach to an issue or problem, how to take the next step or apply to a future research endeavor what was learned or discovered in this project, or how the ideas presented in the paper or presentation relate to current events or recent scholarship. Sometimes, presenters are asked to respond to opposing arguments or evidence, real or hypothetical, that would appear to counter your conclusions.

    It is helpful to remember that, generally speaking, your audience is supportive and interested in your success.
  • Pay Attention to Fellow Panel Presenters
    While your fellow panel presenters are your competition, they are also your peers and you are part of their audience when they are speaking. Panel Judges and audience members will assume that you have paid attention to the panelists who present before and/or after you. As your fellow panel presenters give their presentations, be sure to follow their arguments, to think about how your project and talk relate to theirs, and to jot down a few notes. Doing so can help you prepare to respond should the panel Judge or an audience member ask you to discuss connections between your talk and your peers' talks.
  • Take Time to Think
    Most people giving a talk in a competitive setting are at least a little nervous, especially when being asked questions about their work. That nervousness sometimes leads panel presenters to rush to respond to questions during the Q&A portion of the panel. It is appropriate to take a moment to think about at least part of your response before you begin responding to the question.