Home > Research, University life > Eek! My first long research talk…

Eek! My first long research talk…


Yesterday, I did my first talk about the role of social media in sociolinguistics reporting, and I’m pleased to report that it went quite well (thankfully). The presentation was to the post-graduate linguistics research group at University of Birmingham (they have a regular e-mail and web-group brilliantly named ‘PG Tips’).

I have to admit that I was more than a little bit nervous about doing this talk. Before yesterday, the biggest (research) talk I had done was probably the Sociolinguistics Symposium talk a few years ago in Amsterdam, which was only about 20 minutes or so (as are more conference papers). Yesterday’s talk, though, was about 50 minutes and it felt like quite a step up (ok, I did a 45 minute talk at work when I first arrived, but that doesn’t count. It was at work!).

Because the material I was talking about yesterday was relatively new (as in, I hadn’t presented on it properly before), I had to write out what I wanted to say (you cover a lot of material in 50 minutes and unless you have the memory of an elephant, you need crib notes). Unfortunately, one of the hardest things about doing a talk is figuring out how many typed words = time. In the comfort of your own flat, reading aloud doesn’t give you much of an idea of how the real thing will go (although it’s a good approximation), and when you get to presentation itself, you usually find that you don’t stick as slavishly to the script as you perhaps should do. There will be wee things that you want to add, new ways of moving from section to section, and so on and so on. So when I did my run through on Friday afternoon, I was bang on about 45 minutes, so that left about 10 minutes for questions. When I did the presentation itself, though, I ended up having to cut out about five minutes of material so I could finish on time and still do questions. Thankfully, I hit a good point in my talk where I was able to segue from one section to my conclusion, and if I had an hour, I would’ve been able to cover everything (we started a bit late, hence the shortness of time). Not to worry, it didn’t impact on the message I wanted to get across anyway, so it was all good.

Despite the nervousness though, I really enjoyed giving the talk, and it’s always good meeting new people and hearing about what they’re working on. They have a really strong postgraduate cohort at Birmingham Uni and having a strong cohort is something that makes doing a PhD all the more easier. Knowing that there are people there who are going through the different stages of a PhD means that there’s always someone who knows what it’s like to be going through what you’re going through, so help and advice is usually relatively easy to come by.

And now I’ve only got two weeks to get ready for my next research group talk! These things are like buses… None at all for ages and then two come along at once!

The Social Linguist

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  1. Kami
    March 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Hola!
    May I ask what was the main thesis of your talk? What is the role of social media in sociolinguistics?
    Congrats on your success šŸ™‚

    • March 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Hiya, and thanks for your comment. I’m mainly interested in the role of social media in reporting sociolinguistic research (and linguistic research more generally), and about the application and impact of sociolinguistic research, and I’m working on an edited volume at the moment about it šŸ™‚

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