So, I'm at a coffee shop, working on my conference paper. And I'm not sure about tone. My supervisor has, several times, advised me against colloquial language in my dissertation work. And despite being an English teacher, I'm not sure I can even recognize my own colloquialisms, which is a problem in and of itself. I mean it's not like I'm bustin' out with lines like, "I'm stoked, y'all!" But all that aside, right now, I'm wondering about how far such advice goes for a conference paper that will be presented to live humans.
It's been a long time since I've given a conference paper, and back then, I was just an M.A. student, so, really, I don't think anyone expected much.
But this time, I'm going to a real conference, and my work needs to good enough. I'm already paranoid that my argument and my scholarship will be third rate, but now I'm also thinking about tone. It seems that a conference paper might allow for a bit more of a personal voice than a dissertation. I mean I am actually talking to real people who are right there in the room. So. I'm not sure what "tone" to strike. I mean, how formal should I be? If I can be somewhat informal, how far does that go? I probably can't really mention The Princess Bride even though I currently have it in my draft since, when thinking about hermits in literature and the lovesick, how can one not think of Billy Crystal's character in PB?.
So let's say I leave out the pop culture references, still, what tone is best?
And on another note, at one point in the paper, I challenge the claim of another scholar (because, really, I can't believe he makes said claim). This is easy enough in a written text. But at a conference, what if he's actually there or something? I doubt he will be, since I think he might live in Spain, but still. What's the protocol here?
Also, any other conference tips would be great. Like, if there is something you really hate for presenters to do, maybe I should know . . .
Oh, and what if someone asks me a question about something I haven't read?
Oh, this could be rough.