In many ways my first conference presentation marked a significant transition point in my career. Albeit a small step, I had made the jump from being teacher to being a contributing professional who was concerned about the advancement of English language teaching. For the first time I felt that I might be doing something that few others had done and therefore my travails might make for a suitable topic to present to other teachers. A local conference came up that was focused on a theme appropriate to what I wanted to present, I submitted the proposal, was accepted, and then the panic began!
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One of the most rewarding ways of becoming more involved in your profession, I believe, is through presenting at a conference. For the large part, audiences are positive and encouraging and the prevailing atmosphere is one in which everyone has a feeling that they have something to contribute.
Although it is a lot of work and stress and it can be a huge challenge, presenting at a conference is an important step for those of us who are looking to make a mark in this profession. What’s more, conference presentations may lead to you getting published, as you can get instant feedback on the degree of interest in your work, plus you get the chance to learn from your audience as they share ideas related to the subject and, hopefully, offer constructive feedback. Furthermore, you’ll be able to start networking with people who share your professional interests. Above all else, you’ll really start to feel more a part of a wonderful profession.
Over the course of the four chapters of this book, you’ll find a series of steps dedicated to getting ready for a conference presentation, which I hope all those of you who’ve gone through the process can relate to and those of you who’ve never done it but are giving it consideration can learn something from.