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Speaker Guidelines

The Section offers the following guidelines which might be of assistance, especially to first-timers.

Before you arrive:

  1. Submit your title and abstract using the Call for Papers web form on the INMAA web site.  The form also collects some demographic and contact information to help the organizers optimize the parallel scheduling.  You can refer to previous years’ Abstracts of Presentations documents (archived online as Columns in the Newsletter), to see which information is provided to attendees, and about how long abstracts should be.

  2. Most talks on appropriate topics submitted by the due date are accepted.  There will be a delay of a few days after the due date while the organizers review the abstracts and fit the talks into a schedule.

  3. You will get an email before the Meeting, asking you to review the schedule and list of abstracts.

  4. Requests for talks of lengths other than 20 minutes are subject to approval in advance to fit within the limitations of the schedule. Once you have been notified of the amount of time allotted, carefully prepare your presentation accordingly.  Many speakers find that giving a practice talk to a small audience helps them to adjust the pacing and overall length of a presentation.

  5. Do not plan to present so much detailed material that your presentation becomes rushed. Focus on providing the audience with insight into your topic and its key notion during the presentation. Remember that very few members of the audience will be experts in the field you are discussing and that the audience will include some students.

  6. At most meetings, the host institution will have a computer connected to a projector, so you can just use an external memory device to upload your presentation.  If you prefer to use your own laptop, bring your own connecting cables and adapters.

  7. Have a backup plan in case your presentation does not display as planned.  Store your electronic files in more than one place and bring a paper copy of your talk.

  8. If you prefer to prepare transparencies for use on an (old-fashioned) overhead projector, make sure that notes on transparencies are written or typed in a font big enough and with spacing adequate to be seen clearly 50 to 100 feet away. Simply copying ordinary typewritten pages will not produce readable transparencies.  Notify the organizers (via the Call for Papers web form) that you would like an overhead projector.


Before, during, and after your talk:

  1. When you arrive on campus, register as a participant and get the official schedule to locate your session’s room.   Before your session, go to the room and check the available equipment.  Upload and preview your presentation.  If you have any problems, find a local organizer.
  2. Most talks are 20 minutes, followed by a short break allowing for both questions and time for audience members to move to a parallel session. Program organizers will attempt to stick to this schedule to allow participants to plan which talks to attend. A moderator will be assigned to facilitate each session of presentations. The moderator will introduce the speaker, assist in distribution of any handouts, signal the end of the presentation, and ask for questions from the audience.
  3. If handouts are to be provided, give them to the moderator prior to the beginning of the session including your talk. Plan to bring about 75 handouts (fewer for a talk given in a parallel session) and be prepared to give attendees your contact information in case the supply runs out.
  4. First-time and student speakers: relax and be confident!  People have chosen to come to your talk not to grade it or even to understand every detail, but because your talk’s title and abstract has attracted their interest and they want to hear more about your idea.  There will be time for discussing the technical details with the experts after your presentation.

More tips from the MAA and from the AMS.

Do you have other advice to share or that you wish you had known before your talk?  Contact the Indiana MAA Public Information Officer with your suggestions for this page!

Comments? Email the Public Information Officer.
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