19 January 2023

Review: Academic Conference Presentations

Cover to book "Academic Conference Presentations"We have a new addition to the “academic advice” genre! Academic Conference Presentations has a 2022 publication date, but was released early January 2023.

This book is aimed at conference novices, and is short and breezy.

The text isn’t burdened by citations. Mark Freiermuth is giving personal advice based on his experience, not giving a data driven analysis of presentation effectiveness. He isn’t afraid of using an exclamation point or two once in a while. There are even occasional appearances of triple exclamation points!!!

Nanase Iwahori add to the fun with manga styled artwork for each chapter.

Two women fist bumping, drawn in manga style.

I suspect that most readers of this blog are in the sciences and allied fields, so it is refreshing to get an insight into practices from something more in the humanities. Freiermuth uses many examples from linguistics, particularly working with Japanese students.

Readers of this blog will know I read this looking for advice on posters, and I found it. Three pages worth (Chapter 4, pages 45-47) out of 156 pages in the main section of the book.

I tend to agree with his assessment:

(M)ost presenters’ posters look unprofessional—actually crappy—well in excess of 50%.

But Freiermuth admits that he never, ever opts to give posters. He describes his one time presenting a poster as his presentation being “semi-rejected.” This, unfortunately, indicates how many people see posters as a second rate form of presentation, even though Freiermuth goes on to say that he had a good time presenting his poster. 

His three point summary of poster advice:

  1. Make it look nice.
  2. Protect it when you’re traveling.
  3. Stand by your poster during you allotted time.

I wouldn’t recommend this book for someone looking for advice on posters, but it is worth a look if you are expecting to do oral presentations.


Freiermuth MR. 2022. Academic Conference Presentations: A Step-by-Step Guide. Palgrave Macmillan Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-21124-9

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