I write to say that members of the AIP look forward to the paper you will
be presenting at the 24th International Congress of Papyrology in Helsinki.
Such an occasion offers both audience and lecturer an opportunity to benefit
from the work you have been doing and that you plan for the future.
Since this may well be the first international congress at which you have
given a lecture, I thought I would put down a few 'do's' and 'don'ts' to
bear in mind as you prepare your paper.
- speak slowly and clearly. Some of us may have problems following
an argument in a language we don't know well.
- have the confidence to look at you audience from time to time.
This will help your rapport with those whose comments may help your work.
A lecture should be a two-way process.
- remember that we do not all necessarily share your expertise and may
need some basic background explanation to benefit from your argument.
- present the information you will discuss and the main points of your
argument on a handout / overhead / or screen. This will certainly
aid your audience and is a way to avoid the need to quote long papyrus references.
Figures and names are often hard to follow in a language other than one's
- suggest questions where members of the audience may be able to help.
- time your paper carefully, leaving time for questions at the end.
- find out in advance how the technical aids work. And please use
a microphone if available. Some of us may be somewhat hard of hearing.
- enjoy the experience!
- try to say too much. If you are to benefit from the discussion
you must not overrun your time. Stick to the main points and make
them clearly. You can use a handout (or similar) to fill in the detail.
- speak too fast. If yours is not our first language we need you
to speak slowly and to enunciate clearly so that we can follow what you
want us to hear.
- expect your audience to know all that you know. We may need explanation
of what to you is well known.
- be over nervous. Your audience wants to hear what you have to say
and to offer help and expertise rather than criticism.
I do hope your paper goes well and that you find help in your work from
other participants both in your audience and at the congress more generally.
Ours is a friendly discipline with many distinguished scholars. The
contributions of those of you new to research are important for our future.
So enjoy the congress and meeting fellow papyrologists.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR PAPER.
Dorothy J. Thompson