The main aim of the II colloquium is to provide a forum where participants can broaden their horizon, where ideas can be discussed, and where cooperation and social integration between participants is stimulated. In order to achieve these aims, the II group has put together a set of guidelines for presenters, audience, and organization.
At least one week in advance, title and abstract should be e-mailed to the organizer of the colloquium. For PhD (and MSc) students: consider involving your supervisor in preparing for the presentation, so that you will get the most out of it.
Improve your skills - ask for feedback
Students are offered the possibility to use the colloquium to improve their presentation skills. It is highly recommended for students to exploit this opportunity so they can improve their transferable skill set. The procedure is as follows:
The student selects a small group of people (preferably 3 to 4 people) to provide him/her with feedback (privately!) after the presentation. There should be at least one staff member in this group, but note that this does not have to be the student’s own supervisor. In fact, it may be better to ask someone other than the supervisor, to get some alternative feedback for once. The other people can be anyone the student trusts with this task or that the student feels comfortable with. When unsure who to ask or how to ask them, students can always ask for help from their supervisor or from the organiser of the colloquium.
In order to receive concrete and focused feedback, students are recommended to think of certain points that they’d like their group of people to pay special attention to. Things that might require special attention can range from the structure of the talk, timing, or sheets, all the way to pronunciation, pausing between sentences or slides, posture, or even interaction with the public.
After the talk, the audience leaves, but the people who were asked for feedback will linger a bit longer (say 10 minutes or so), to provide the student with constructive feedback. NB: This is supposed to be an equal conversation, not a one-sided evaluation/jury.
We hope this will add an additional layer to the II Colloquium and that it will provide students with valuable tips and tricks that they can deploy during future presentations, job interviews, or their PhD defence.
Type of presentation
A wide variety of types of presentations can be considered. The presentation may, for example, focus on presenting an interesting new result, a demo, a small pilot of an experiment, a survey of a particular area, a problem that you are currently facing in your research, an interesting paper that you have come across, a paper that is about to be submitted (where the audience can give comments to improve it), etc.
In order to make the colloquium interesting and engaging for the presenter as well as for the audience, make sure that you reach out to the audience. An academic audience tends to like an intellectual exercise, so you can try to let them think along with you and to discuss open problems or (initial) results. Make it clear what the objective of your presentation is, and if a specific kind of feedback is seeked, then ask for this at the beginning of the talk. Standard forms on which the audience can provide feedback on content and presentation style are available from the organizer. For example, your objective may be to learn to explain things to people less familiar with your research topic, or to get comments from the audience on how they view your research.
The colloquium should not take longer than 45 minutes in total. Depending on the aim and type of your presentation, make sure that it does not take longer than 20-30 minutes, in order to leave enough time for questions and discussion.
Since the II group has members from diverse backgrounds, it is important to present the context for your work and to explain its relevance, both in general as well as for the II group in particular. This may include, for example, an overview of current challenges in the field. Also, be careful and make sure that the audience can still follow you when using formulas and equations that may require expert knowledge in order to understand them. In order to stimulate discussion, you can, e.g., consider explicitly incorporating possible discussion topics in your slides.
Research personnel of the II group is expected to attend the colloquium. In case of an internal speaker, the reason is that II members are expected to show interest in the work of colleagues. In case of a guest speaker, attending the colloquium (even if the topic is not directly related to your research) is seen as an act of courtesy. MSc students are strongly encouraged to attend several colloquia, to get inspiration and more background for the master's thesis research.
The presenter will make an effort to make it an engaging presentation. The audience can support this through an active attitude, for example, by asking questions if something is not clear. The audience is expected to be on time.
The organizer is responsible for maintaining the colloquium website and for sending out the announcements.
The colloquium will be held on Tuesdays at 15:30 hours. It will be held with a frequency of once every two weeks, with breaks over summer and Christmas. Several colloquium talks will be held by guest speakers. There will be one presenter per colloquium. This means that if an unexpected guest arrives to give a colloquium talk while there is already a talk scheduled for that same week, the colloquium scheduled for that week will be moved to another time slot. The variety of research topics in the II group will be reflected in the topics of the colloquia.
Networking and cooperation will be stimulated by providing drinks after the colloquium. A couple of colloquia with guest speakers will be "pimped" through more elaborate announcements, a thank-you gift, etc.
Other points worth mentioning
Before the start of each colloquium, staff announcements can be made. This means that, in the week before the colloquium, the organizers should ask the staff (e.g. Catholijn or Koen) whether they have any announcements to make at the beginning of the colloquium, and if so, how much time should be reserved for announcements, so they can be taken into account when scheduling the talk and keeping things within time.