Presenting your research at the 2021 Annual Meeting? Not sure how to prepare or what the experience will be like? Read on for some answers. Contact David Robinson, Director of Membership and Meetings, if you have questions not addressed below. 

Q:  What technology will be used for the LSA’s 2021 virtual Annual Meeting?

A:  The majority of the scholarly content – 20-minute papers, posters, organized sessions, and plenary talks – will be given using the Zoom platform. Some content – committee meetings, office hours, minicourses, etc. – will be hosted using GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar.  Links will be provided before the events.

The meeting as a whole will be run using virtual meeting software provided by Presentation Services Audio Visual (PSAV). Attendees will access most features of the meeting through this platform. Therefore it is important for attendees to register in advance of the event.

Q:  Must I prepare a PowerPoint or similar slide show to accompany my presentation?

A: Poster presenters are required to present a virtual poster, and we strongly recommend that this be in a standard slide format rather than in some of the larger formats used for posters presented at in-person conferences. Posters will be made available on the virtual meeting website for up to a week after the conference. Presenters of 20-minute papers and participants in Organized Sessions are strongly urged, but not required, to prepare a slide show to accompany their presentation.

Q:  I am presenting scholarly research at the Annual Meeting.  What should I expect?

  • Organized Sessions (Symposia, Workshops, Datablitzes, etc.) will follow the individual schedules and formats they choose. If you are the organizer of an organized session and have not yet provided a one-page session abstract and 150-word abstracts from each presenter to LSA staff, please provide them to David Robinson, Director of Membership and Meetings, no later than December 7.

Organized sessions are either 1 ½ or 3 hours in length.If they are 3 hours long, a half-hour break will take place between the first and second 90-minute segments of the session.

  • 20-minute papers are organized into sessions of up to three papers. As in a live meeting, there will be a session chair, whose job it will be to introduce the speakers, let them know when their time is up, and moderate any question & answer.
  • Poster sessions will be run differently than in the in-person meeting.  Instead of being in very large plenary sessions, posters will be grouped into smaller sessions (mostly of eight posters). At the beginning of each poster session, presenters will have a chance to give a five-minute presentation about their poster, followed by three minutes of question & answer. After all poster presenters have spoken, each poster presenter will be moved to their own breakout room, where attendees will be able to visit and discuss their posters at greater length with them. Session chairs will introduce the poster presenters, ensure that they adhere to the stated time limits, and facilitate the move to breakout rooms. 

For the virtual format, we recommend that presenters prepare their posters in PowerPoint or similar format. You will present your poster using the screen-sharing feature of Zoom.

We will also ask you to upload your poster/slide show to the virtual Annual Meeting site approximately one week in advance of the meeting, using a link we will send you.Attendees can reference it any time during the meeting. It will remain there for approximately a week after the meeting.We will also ask you to optionally upload it to the LSA website, where it can remain a permanent resource.

Each organized, 20-minute paper, and poster session will be attended by a volunteer student room monitor, whose job it will be to contact meeting staff in case of any technical problems.

Q:  I have never given a virtual presentation before and I am nervous about it.  What can I do to prepare? 

A: Don’t be nervous.

First, your presentation will be given over Zoom, which most of us have had lots of experience with over the past several months. 

Second, you will be among friends – other linguists who are interested in the topic you are presenting on and will be eager to give feedback that will help your research. 

Third, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to give a successful presentation. A modest investment in an external microphone can boost your audio quality, but the microphones available on most computers will be fine. 

Please see below for some articles about giving a successful virtual presentation: 

Ten Tips for Giving Effective Virtual Presentations (Stanford Business School). Note that items number 6 “be assisted” and number 10 “be early” will be taken care of by LSA and PSAV staff.

Creating a Video Presentation for a Virtual Conference (UC Davis). Good tips for lighting, dress, etc., and in case you are prerecording your presentation. 

6 Tips for Giving a Fabulous Academic Presentation (Wiley). Not specific to the virtual format, but good suggestions!

Presenting via Zoom (Hamilton College)

Q: I would really prefer to pre-record my presentation rather than give it live, but still attend my session to answer q&a?  Can I do that? 

If you prefer, you may optionally pre-record your presentation in Apple ProRes or MP4 format, upload it to the conference website -- ideally, one week in advance of the meeting -- and then attend your session live for Q&A and to participate in the full poster session. If you choose this option, please be sure to wear the same clothes on the day of your session as you did when you recorded your presentation.

Q:  What should I do next?


1.  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!  Rehearse your virtual presentation until you have found background, clothing, and lighting that work well for you. Also practice your presentation with friends and get their feedback on these items as well as on the scholarly content of your paper or poster.

2.  Register for the Annual Meeting. You will need to register for the meeting in order to have access to it as an attendee.

3. If your paper or poster has more than one author, please confirm which author(s) will be presenting at the virtual meeting. You will receive special instructions and links to enter the meeting as a presenter when it is time for you to give your paper or poster.

4. If you are a poster presenter, or if you are planning to pre-record your presentation, please be prepared to upload it to the virtual meeting site at least a week in advance of the Annual Meeting.