I did it my way: a post panel reflection
It took me quite a while after my panel day (January 16th) to write this blog post. There have been lots of things going on after the big day and I don’t know where the time has gone! The following is what I have learned from presenting at my panel review.
On the panel day
I didn’t sleep well the night before the panel because I was so nervous (which I think is an absolutely normal process). In the morning I was thinking what to wear to the panel. Earlier, I thought it had to be something that was polite and looked professional. But it was a cold morning and I didn’t want to be cold and cough during my presentation, so I went with jeans and a new jumper. It wasn’t a look I expected but I thought that I had to be warm and be myself! I arrived at the building 30 minutes before the schedule to get ready. I also brought the latest version of my slides with me in my pen drive because I made some minor changes to the version I had sent to Debbie.
During my presentation
I chose to use PowerPoint because it is simple to use and to present. Some might say it’s boring, but I have learned to use some features that could help me give a presentation effectively, for instance, the hyperlink and animations that would appear at the time I set. (I need to rehearse several times to get the timing right!) Anyway, as my supervisor has said, we are not obliged with any visual media. For me I need one to help my memory and to help me explain some concepts in visual formats. I had only 10 slides all together to present but I prepared some (PowerPoint) appendixes after the actual slides in case I need them. I didn’t read everything on the slides but tried to talk through the slides instead. (I ALWAYS need to write a script for any presentation I give.)
Pacing the talk is important as I tend to go fast when panic and will not make any sense in the end. Once you are in the panel room, the time is yours; no need to hurry! I chose to stand because I feel more confident than when I sit, but again, it’s your choice. I smiled a lot as usual and responded to the questions with enthusiasm. My supervisor said I had nice manners during the panel. 🙂 I think it’s because I am humble and open for suggestions.
Questions and answers
I was asked two main questions about the theoretical lens I would use to make sense of the data and one question on how to recruit and select my participants. I couldn’t answer all of them but I tried to carefully think about the questions and give them the best answer I could. The questions were helpful as they made me see what I need to work on to improve my research plan. The panellists were friendly and they offered suggestions for me to consider as well.
First, I have learned that there is no need to be perfect in the panel presentation. The most important thing for me is to feel that I am well-prepared. How do we know that we are well-prepared? Practice, practice and practice! I spent four months working closely with my supervisors and I knew my proposal inside out (at that time). My friends and I went through four mock panel presentations with tutors, supervisors and loads of critical friends. Second, work-in-progress (e.g. some methods that you didn’t have a chance to pilot, literature review, ethical challenges, etc.) is acceptable, but you need to show that you are well aware of them. Last, I always told myself that the panellists want to see us successful with our studies; they are not there to fail us. So, I did what I could and what I thought they were expecting from me as an MIE research student.
I got the green light to do the job and all this is what I learned from my panel presentation which can be totally different from yours. I wish you all the best for your panel review.