OK, I have a pet peeve, either that or I'm becoming a crotchety old man. ETS and many other professional society meetings are for paper presentations and then questions about the presentation. I have been to enough of these that I have learned that most people have a difficult time forming good questions. As a means for continued growth, I try to ask one good question at every presentation I attend, so I like to think I'm pretty good at it. Maybe I'm deluded. In any case, here are Burer's Rules for Asking Questions at an ETS Meeting:
- Be crisp. If you can't state your question in 10 seconds, don't ask it.
- Be clear. If the presenter doesn't understand your question, you lose your turn.
- Don't lead with a statement. If you have something to say, present your own paper.
- Don't interrupt. Allow the presenter to respond fully to your question.
- Don't double dip. Only ask a second question if you are certain there are no others who have a question.
- Don't self-validate. If you've written on this topic and the presenter did not mention you, just talk to them privately afterwards.
My point is that the Q&A at these presentations is for learning about the topic presented. My rules are intended to help that learning process move forward quickly and efficiently.