What makes a speech a very good one —in South Asian studies? No reading, of course, good time-planning (vs. "I now have to skip to the conclusions…" while frantically looking for the right sheet) and being prepared by pronouncing it aloud, but what else?
During and after the last Coffee Break Conference, I collected some good advices from friends and colleagues:
- 1. If you are supposed to deliver a paper in a language which is not your mother-tongue, do not fill it words you would not normally use. The effort of remembering them (or, worse!, reading them) will make you nervous and unnatural. Just write your speech in a plain, colloquial way, using the same sort of language you would use for explaining it to a friend.
- 2. Focus on conveying an idea.
- 3. Examine your audience. Many papers have been enhanced just be the fact that the speakers had had enough time to adjust to the audience.
- 4. Less is more. Do not aim at re-shaping the history of South Asian studies, no one will follow you. Instead, convey one core point.
What would readers suggest? What sort of papers do you like more?