Academic Conference Politeness
1. Try not to dress like a hobo (I mean street person). We know that academics are often unkempt and idiosyncratic, but wrinkled clothes that don’t fit are a bit much.
2. If you are a female, don’t dress like an aspiring harlot. Dress professionally, which means smartly, but modestly. Your body is not supposed to be on display, but your mind.
3. When giving a paper, don’t tell the audience what you are skipping. Give them a talk; don’t explain what they would get if you had more time.
4. Don’t complain for not having enough time. That simply shows you didn’t prepare well.
5. Don’t show video clips from Harry Potter.
6. Don’t rely on technology for your presentation; it will too often go wrong, especially for video clips.
7. Speak well in giving a paper. Eliminate “sort of,” “you know,” “um,” “I mean,” and the like. They are annoying and unprofessional. Whatever happened to oratory?
8. Stand up when you read a paper and look at the audience once in a while.
9. If you ask a question after a talk, make it pertinent to the talk. Do not say things merely show what you know in some other area.
10. If you haven’t finished the paper by the time you get to the conference, cancel the talk. Do not fake it. It is too painful for everyone.
11. If you like someone's paper, tell them what you appreciated. This helps the speaker. Don't just say, "Good paper" or "I liked it." This makes the presenter feel good, but doesn't help her better understand what you take to be the strength of your paper.
12. If you are chairing a session, try not to fall asleep during the presentations. This may require a near supernatural effort in some cases.
13. Try to encourage younger scholars who are just getting initiated into all this academic strangeness.