Giving an invited talk on-line

I am going to give an invited talk later today. This one is a bit different because it is going to be over Zoom (of course).

I have a fair amount of experience giving invited talks, but not so much on-line. I am curious to see what will be better and what will be worse.

For one thing, there is the question of audience engagement. When you give talks in person, you learn how to read a room.

Different audiences respond to the same thing in different ways, and you can pick up on that. That’s very useful because it lets you adjust your presentation, as you go on, to better communicate with that particular group of listeners.

I don’t think you can do that very well on-line. It’s all too abstracted. Most of the feedback comes in the form of chat messages, which can be distracting during a presentation, because you need to stop and read them.

On the other hand, being in a separate physical space gives you a nice staging area. You can read notes, wear something more casual (from the waist down), and have your favorite snack within reach.

In any case, this one will be held on-line. Guess we’ll see how it goes!

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