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What Makes Good Presentation Material?

March 10, 2011

How do you decide what to present?  Do you wait for ideas to just present themselves to you, or do you have to dedicate to think of something?  How do you know if your ideas are good enough?  Amongst several ideas, how do you choose one (or two or three)?

My first paper came at the suggestion of someone else.  Since I knew almost nothing about SAS conferences or conference paper presentations in general, that was the only way a paper idea was ever going to occur to me.  We had been working on a project that had some interesting and unique solutions, and so it seemed reasonable that putting it into a paper and designing a Powerpoint presentation might draw some people to it.  I enjoyed the experience and for the next couple years made it a point to take some time to develop details around certain areas of interest for presentation.  I don’t know if it was just the experience or if the work I was doing at the office was just getting more interesting, but as the years went on, I learned to recognize good paper ideas in my day-to-day work.  When abstract submission time came along, I’d have a list of ideas from which to choose.

Everyone has their own set of standards when it comes to deciding on paper topics.  Personally, my preference is to talk about something unique, something that I have a feeling not a lot of people know about.  At times that might be familiar topics presented in a unique style to give people a different way to think about things.

What other criteria are out there for deciding on paper topics.  To the experienced speakers – how have you been able to come up with good topics for so long? 

Of course SAS conferences allow have different presentation formats too.  How do you decide when a topic is good for a Hands on Workshop?  For a Coders Corner presentation? How about for a poster? 

We’d love to hear from ya!


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