Presentation and Display Best practices for presenting Arts and Sciences displays or competition.

Master Philip White (Craig Shupee)
Raziya bint Rusa (Elizabeth Burdick)

Physical Display

Event Particulars

• Find out what you can about your space before you get there.
Open flame
Trash receptacles

• If you need special arrangements, contact an organizer and ask politely.
Accommodation due to disability
Extra space Electricity Clean area for heirloom pieces
Open air for fire or martial arts
Extra large displays
Wall hangings

• Identify your audience and display for them.
Judges, laymen
Experts, novices, newcomers to the society

• You may not be able to control it, but you can prepare for it.
Noise level

• Wind. Secure your display.

• Hot temperature may cause food spoilage.

• Bring cleaning supplies for dirty tables.

• Where does your entry end and the next begin?

• Horizontal space.

• Vertical space.

• Background clutter.

• Width AND Height.

• Find out the size of your display space beforehand. If unlimited, practice a size that works best.

• Levels
Prop up physical items
Create a backdrop
Hang items from the wall
Use neutral objects to prop up the actual display items
How tall is too tall?

Hierarchy and Flow
• The most important thing

• Less important parts fall back

• Bookmarks in your documentation

• Where do you start looking, where do you end up?

• Natural flow

• Layman test

Visual VS Text – Pretty objects and necessary words.
• Made objects draw the eye.

• Balance made objects with documentation.

• For heavy documentation, use images or diagrams.

• Diagrams!

• Bring a sample of your data, even if you have the analysis.

• Display mistakes.

• Take pictures or videos of ephemeral processes.

• Put your name on it (unless it’s anonymous)

Business cards!

• Label the objects with relevance

• Which objects are okay to touch

• Where to find an absent entry: “My full size Viking tent is in the front yard of the site. Come outside to see it!”

• Dedications and thanks. Remember to thank your patrons, conspirators, and allies.

Overall Feel
• Modern looking display. Good for non-garbed events.

• Period display, which period?

• A museum feel? This is fun for displays of SCA history.

• You are part of the display. Consider dressing in character.

Verbal Presentation

Structure of Information
• General to specific: Introduction  body of information  conclusion

• Add a little bit of storytelling.

Gauge your Audience
• Tailor your speech to the interests and background of your audience.

• Assess their familiarity with your work.

• Proceed faster with experts, slower with novice.

• Good phrases to tailor the same info to different audiences:
“As you probably know”
“You may not be aware”
“It’s very interesting to note that…”

• Watch the members of your audience for comprehension. Eye contact, different people.

Depth of Explanation
• Have your elevator speech ready.

• Have a once sentence, one paragraph, and five minute version of your information.

• If you need to omit information, mention that you are.
“I’ll get to that later.”
“I mention that at the end of this paper.”
“I can discuss that part if you need me to.”

Practice and Preparation
• Practice your speech.

• Memory Palaces. You can use a mental image to memorize a speech.

• Avoid the words: “um”, “ah”, and “errr”.

• Know your time limit. That includes the attention span of the audience.

• Speak loud enough to be heard.

• Notes on your talking points are fine. Make them brief for ease of reference.

• Put bookmarks in books or papers.

• If you don’t know an answer to a question, admit that you don’t.

• Be honest about your nerves.

• Instead of freezing try:
“Let me see”
“I need to think about that”
“Hold on while I find that page”.

• You don’t have to know every answer. If it’s not relevant to your project, you can truthfully say that you haven’t gone in that direction yet.

• Present from a position that is physically comfortable. Make sure you can still project your voice and reach everything you need.

• Posture conveys confidence. Try to stand straight and comfortably. Watch your fidgets.
• Dress to impress… yourself. If you feel comfortable and impressive, you’ll act as such.
• It’s okay to show emotion!
• Passion is what brought you here, and will sell people on how awesome you and your project are.

Thank you to all the contributors and helpers: Philip White, Lissa Underhill, Magnus Hvalmagi, Martin Wasser Speier.

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