Your guide to writing and presenting a paper at a WAI conference
The Wire Association International Inc. (WAI) is committed to assembling the most comprehensive and informative educational programs at each of our conferences and meetings. We strive to promote the continuing advancement of wire and cable products and processes by providing a platform for authors to share their ideas, research, and knowledge of the industry. Once your paper proposal has been accepted for presentation at a WAI event, we offer the following information to help guide you in the preparation and delivery of your written and oral presentation.
Because WAI accepts papers on a wide variety of topics from companies, individuals, and institutions of all sorts, we do not demand a rigorous, uniform style. There are no requirements for academic-style layout, notations, or reference citations. Nor are any specific fonts or point sizes required. Authors are welcome to present their material in whatever way they feel best presents their material.
Please use your most recent version of Microsoft Word. If converting from a non-US standard, format the document for 8.5" x 11" as opposed to A4 or another size. Portable Document Format files (PDFs) are not acceptable. Slideshows in a PowerPoint or similar format are not considered papers and also are not acceptable.
Authors are encouraged to limit their papers to approximately 3,500 words, but longer papers are acceptable if necessary to give appropriate detail. Authors are encouraged to be concise both in text and number of accompanying figures and photographs. If background material is generally well known, authors should either briefly summarize it or cite appropriate references. Only images that are essential to a paper's integrity should be included. To stay within space constraints, WAI editors may choose to make some images available separately (e.g., via the Wirenet Web site or in PDF furnished upon request) or even eliminate some images altogether.
Written papers must be submitted in English. Oral presentations may be made in other languages at conferences where live translation services are available.
Papers are only lightly edited before publication in the Conference Proceedings. WAI reserves the right to edit any part of the submission package including title, abstract, and body text for clarity, grammar, spelling, and good taste at its discretion.
Papers should be free of commercialism as much as possible. While commercial publicity is a natural part of a paper presentation, the audience should not feel it is being presented with an advertisement instead of an educational opportunity.
Generic names should be substituted for trade names wherever omission of trade or company names is not likely to confuse the reader. WAI reserves the right to edit for removal of references deemed too commercial.
All images should be submitted in full color, not black-and-white or grayscale.
All graphic images, including photographs, diagrams, and illustrations, should be in a digital format whenever possible. They should be high-resolution files (a minimum of 300 dpi), preferably in a .TIF or .JPG format. Other acceptable formats are .BMP and .EPS.
Images may be placed within the Word document to indicate where they belong, but additional copies of each image should be sent in individual files separate from the Word document.
It is advisable to send printed copies of any images or photographs by post. These can be used for comparison purposes in case the image quality of the digital copies is compromised by the file transmission process.
Be sure to label all hard copies with easily recognizable names or numbers. For digital copies, be sure their individual file names correspond to references to those files that appear within the document.
If captions are not inserted in the text of the manuscript, print them on a separate sheet.
An equation must occupy its own line and cannot appear within the text of the article unless it can be written on one line. When creating one-line equations or simply using symbols, use Word's "insert-symbols" function, the Windows character map, or a symbol font.
Example of in-line symbols (symbols were placed by using the insert symbol option, not the equation editor):
"...gradient (βТ/βξ) is shown...:"
Example of an equation that must be placed on its own line (equation created with equation editor):
∆ρ = ƒcL
Operational presentations (Ops. Reports)
The requirements for an operational presentation (or "Ops. Report") are different from a traditional paper. The following is an explanation of the differences and similarities between the two.
Operational presentations are practical rather than technical, and are meant to relate real-life experiences in the industry. Presenters share their own stories to demonstrate what they've learned in their day-to-day operations. Technical papers, however, are typically scientific or academic work detailing R&D projects, quality assurance issues, and relevant technology.
For operational presentations, presenters submit an informal essay describing their experience as well as deliver an oral presentation at the conference. They are not required to write a formal paper.
Whereas technical papers typically range in length from 5 to 10 pages, the written report for an operational presentation can be as short as one page. In some cases an outline will be sufficient. The oral presentation component is allotted 20-25 minutes, including time for Q&A.
The written reports for operational presentations are eligible for publication in Wire Journal International at the editors' discretion. They are also eligible for consideration as topics to be presented in future live webinars. Unlike technical papers, they are not formally reviewed and graded by WAI's Paper Awards Committee and therefore are not eligible for paper awards.
Include a one-paragraph biography for each author. This may include information such as job title and areas of responsibility, past work experience, education, involvement in industry activities, publication credits, and awards. If an author's biography has been published at a previous WAI event and no update is submitted, WAI will re-publish the previous biography.
Include one photograph for each author credited as contributing to the paper. Follow the same guidelines as other materials listed above under "Graphics."
One author for each paper is required to sign and date the copyright transfer form. The terms of the transfer appear on the form, but the basic intent is to give WAI the right to be the first to publish the work to a general audience (i.e., in Wire Journal International magazine after the conference) and to continue to make copies of the paper available as part of its technical library. Authors resume the right to distribute and re-print their own work after WAI has had the opportunity of at least a year to re-publish it.
Be sure to include contact information for the main contact author somewhere on the first page of the paper, on the author biographies, or even on a separate sheet. Please include a telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address.
It is preferred that materials be sent both by e-mail in digital format and by post in hard copy. E-mail ensures materials are received in a timely fashion and the files can be easily manipulated. Mailed copies provide an important backup and point of reference for potentially corrupted digital files.
The following materials should be sent to WAI, ideally all at once and in the same submission. Digital and hard copies will serve as back-ups for each other, and it is not necessary to send more than one hard copy of any item.
□ Graphics files (diagrams, figures, illustrations)
□ Author biographies
□ Author photos
□ Copyright transfer
We cannot guarantee that any paper received after the manuscript deadline will be published in the Conference Proceedings. It will be listed in the Table of Contents under "Papers not received in time for proceedings." Late papers are still expected to be presented at the conference unless the author or WAI specifically indicates plans to cancel the oral presentation. In the event a paper is not included in the Proceedings, authors are expected to bring printed copies for distribution at their presentation session.
We cannot guarantee that last-minute revisions to papers that have already been submitted will be included in the Conference Proceedings. WAI discourages making revisions to papers after they have been submitted as the production schedule rarely allows for late changes before publication in the Proceedings.
As a presenting author, you and one co-author are entitled to a complimentary full registration to the conference. When you submit your registration form, write "AUTHOR" somewhere near the top on the form to indicate you are entitled to the free registration. You are responsible for your own travel and lodging.
WAI does not require that you submit an advance copy of any visual materials (e.g., PowerPoint slideshow) you will use during your oral presentation. It is recommended that you submit a copy regardless because that will enable conference organizers to place a copy of your presentation on a session laptop prior to the day of your presentation. However, if you anticipate making late changes to the presentation, you may simply prefer to bring the slideshow with you the day of your presentation.
An LCD projector, microphone, laser pointer, flipchart, and laptop will be provided. Be sure to notify WAI of any special requirements.
You will have 20 to 25 minutes to present your paper. Be mindful of the clock and careful to leave time for questions from the audience. It is important to adhere as close as possible to the posted schedule to avoid delaying subsequent presentations.
See the appendix at the end of this Author's Guide entitled "How to Give a Lousy Presentation" for a humorous look at how to make an effective oral presentation.
Authors should notify WAI as far in advance as possible if they are unable to present their paper at the conference as originally planned. It is recommended that authors make their best efforts to find an alternate presenter to present the material as a proxy.
Publication and awards eligibility
All technical papers presented at WAI events are reviewed by the association's Paper Awards Committee. The papers given in each calendar year are rated according to a set of specific criteria. Based on their scores, some papers are selected for publication in Wire Journal International magazine. Some are also selected for first- and second-place awards as best papers for the year in one of these four categories: ferrous, nonferrous, electrical, and general. Papers that are not presented in person at a conference, even if they appear in the Conference Proceedings, are not eligible for awards or an appearance in the magazine.
Editing for Wire Journal International
Papers are edited very carefully prior to publication in Wire Journal International. The magazine's editorial staff consults directly with authors during this process.
WAI contact information
All author correspondence should be directed to WAI's education department using the contact information below. This includes submission of materials as well as questions about papers or presentations.
The Wire Association International, Inc. | 1570 Boston Post Rd., PO Box 578 | Guilford, CT 06437-0578 USA | Tel.: (001) 203-453-2777 | Fax: (001) 203-453-8384
Author's Guide Appendix
How to Give a Lousy Presentation
Fifteen ways to make a bad impression
By Carmine Gallo
Giving truly great presentations requires skill, work, and practice. Giving catastrophic presentations is far easier. So if you want to take the easy way out and look like a rank amateur, here are 15 surefire tips to guarantee that you leave a really, really bad impression.
1. Misspell words. Failing to check the spelling on your slides shows a complete lack of care. If you don't care enough to proof your presentation, your audience will care less about you and your message. It's the easiest way to look unprofessional.
2. Create distracting color combinations. Blue on green is especially hard to read.
3. Use inconsistent fonts. Professional PowerPoint designers will use no more than two, perhaps three, font styles in an entire presentation. But why stop there? There are thousands of typefaces available. See how many you can incorporate into your slide show.
4. Use a really small font size. If you really want to drive people crazy, say something like this: "I know you can't read this, but if you could, here is what it would say..."
5. Insert improperly sized photos that are stretched to fit the slide. Images used in PowerPoint slides should be at least 900 pixels wide by 720 high. Designers start with larger images and shrink them to fit the slide. If you really want to look bad, however, find much smaller thumbnail images, say 200 x 300 pixels, and simply stretch them to fit the slide. They will look blurry, cheap, and bush-league.
6. Look completely and totally disinterested. I attended a conference in which the keynote speaker hadn't even bothered to create a presentation and had a few handwritten notes in front of him. That's fine, if you can pull it off. This speaker could not. He shuffled through his notes, lost his place several times, and twice asked the organizer, "How much time do I have?" The people in the audience—influential venture capitalists—found this so appalling that they started looking at each other and laughing.
7. Look disheveled. If you really want to leave a bad impression, wear faded blue jeans, worn, dirty shoes, and a stained shirt.
8. Read every word of each slide. Better yet, turn your back to the audience and read your slides word for word.
9. Don't bother with a backup plan. If you need a live Internet connection to demo a site, don't bother making a screen shot of the site in case the connection doesn't work. That way, you'll be at a complete loss for words when the connection fails.
10. Don't practice. At all. Practicing a presentation out loud takes work and will make you look far too polished. Just wing it.
11. Call attention to your mistakes. If you want to show a complete lack of preparation, say something like "Oops, I have no idea how that slide got in there."
12. Open with an offensive or off-color joke. Half your audience will walk out immediately and you'll have succeeded in making a really bad impression right out of the gate.
13. Use wild animations. Letting text simply fade into a slide is way too straightforward. Especially when PowerPoint offers you the bounce, the boomerang, and the dreaded "neutron," which makes letters circle wildly. All are effective at giving your audience a headache.
14. Use cartoon clip art. Why spend $3 on high-resolution photos from a stock photography service such as iStockphoto when there are plenty of cheap-looking and free cartoons that will make your presentation look like a sixth-grade project?
15. Use ancient presentation software. PowerPoint 2003 served its purpose (I used it for years). But there's no comparison with PowerPoint 2007, which is simply a better, more robust tool. Says Darla Wigginton, an expert PowerPoint designer and creative director at eVision Design in San Francisco, "When [PowerPoint] 2007 came out, it scared the design world because the average user could now create some impressive-looking work." Why scare professional designers? Stick to older versions of the software and leave the slicker presentations to others.
I hope you find some of these tips memorable enough to avoid them at all costs. But make no mistake, these presentation "techniques" are alive, well, and thriving. Just when I think I've seen or heard it all, someone has one more observation to add to the list.
Carmine Gallo is the communication skills coach for the world's most admired brands. He is a popular speaker and the author of several books including Fire Them Up! His latest title, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2009. For more information, visit www.carminegallo.com.
Reprinted with permission.