My first CultNet experience

This blog post has two parts: the first is about my CultNet experience and the second is about how I plan my presentations.


My first CultNet seminar (hosted by Durham University) was a very enriching experience. I joined the CultNet mailing list last year but I didn’t join the 2013 Seminar because I didn’t know what I could talk about in my first year of my PhD. I feel more confident (and competent?) this year after I went through my panel review presentation in January, so I see 2014 as my conference year and the CultNet is a great place to go!

At the CultNet I met the ‘grandfather’ of the Intercultural Communication field of study, Prof. Mike Byram. I also met the ‘parents’ (e.g. Dr Richard Fay, Dr Prue Holmes and many more) and other ‘kids’ (i.e. post graduate students) of this CultNet family. These people are experts in the field because they share common research interest but very friendly supportive.

I had a chance to give a presentation entitled “The ASEAN Context of Intercultural Communication: Roles and Purposes of Thai ELT.” I changed the title from what I submitted to the organizer earlier because I wanted to make my talk fit with the CultNet which is a seminar that allows researchers at any stage to present their work-in-progress, to talk about issues they have found so far and to seek advice from the audience. So, I thought that it was an opportunity for me to introduce myself to this family, to talk about the background to my study, what I want to do, what I have been working on and any challenges I have. My presentation was about 12 minutes which left me plenty of time for Q&A but nobody asked me a question. Instead, some of the members of the audience, including Mike, gave me suggestions on what to look further and offered help on references.

You can find my slides here CultNet_Khwan_1.

My presentation style

The styles of presentation vary depending on presenter’s preference. For me, I feel comfortable with a rehearsed presentation because I want to make myself clearly understood. What I mean by a rehearsed presentation is that I have to prepare my slides ahead of time, write my script (thanks to previous experience as an MC), and rehearse until I feel confident enough. If I don’t rehearse, I will say anything that doesn’t make any sense and I hate the feeling of being underprepared.

Since my panel presentation, I have learned how to use the animation features of PowerPoint which works well for explaining cause-effect or a process. But I need to rehearse to get the timing right. This also helps me know how much time I will spend on each slide and I don’t have to rush at the end.

Using humor properly always help me feel less nervous because when people laugh or smile, it makes me realize that they are just human beings who are there to support me. I now have my signature jokes and always look for new ones (mainly because it might be boring for Richard, my supervisor, who has to pretend that it is his first time to hear the joke).

These are what I always do when preparing for a presentation. It works for a person like me who is not good at impromptu talking.


  • Hi Mariam! Thank you for your support and kind feedback. I’m glad you were there 🙂 and I’m glad that I am a part of this warm doctoral community as well.

    And a million thanks to Richard for your support as always.

  • Hi Khwan,
    I enjoyed listening to your presentation at CultNet. You had a calm and relaxed presence, your topic was interesting, and your work offered something new. Your subtle humour added a pleasant flavour to the talk but this is also because there was – as you rightly described – an prevailing ‘family’ atmosphere which is not characteristic of all conferences. So, don’t worry about having to think about new jokes, and let them naturally emerge as you connect with your audiences.

  • Richard Fay

    Thanks Khwan. The jokes are great 🙂

    I’ve mentioned CultNet also to Miri and Min who may come to pick your brains about the experience.

    So, next Edinburgh and then Cambridge?