1. Prepare your paper for an oral presentation. Most papers start out from a text meant to be read, rather than spoken. We speak differently from the way we write. Consequently, we hear differently from the way we read. When preparing a paper for oral presentation at the Annual Meeting, hear it in your mind. Ask yourself whether it sounds natural as an oral presentation.

2. Speak, don’t read, to your audience. This may take a little practice, but it’s worth it. After all, the people in the audience have often come thousands of miles to hear you.

3. Be informal. It really is possible to be informal and scholarly at the same time.

4. Time yourself. We’ve all seen what happens when the chair tells speakers they’re out of time; it’s embarrassing, but worse still, speakers often are prevented from making their most important points. There is an easy antidote for this problem: Time yourself beforehand.

5. Briefly summarize the history of the literature. Don’t consume most of your time with a detailed recounting of what other scholars have said in the past. Your audience has come to hear what is new. Give it to them. They really do want to hear your ideas, not how brilliant you are at finding obscure citations to the literature.

6. In your opening sentence, tell your audience what your conclusion is going to be. Your audience will be more comfortable, less likely to doze off and better able to follow you if they know where you’re going. Give them a roadmap at the outset.

7. Edit your presentation beforehand. After you’ve finished preparing your talk, read it over carefully and ask yourself if there are any paragraphs that can be eliminated without damaging the flow of your thought or your argument. If so, eliminate them. Then do the same thing again, asking yourself if any sentences can be eliminated. Then do the same thing again, asking yourself if any words can be eliminated.

8. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

9. Practice, practice, practice. Giving a paper at the Annual Meeting is important—and it’s not easy, even for senior scholars.

10. Respect your audience and they’ll respect you.