How to Seminar!

‘Seminar’.

Part of any poorly designed Indian engineering curriculum is this dreaded word. There isn’t an engineering student that I know who doesn’t loathe doing it but we’ve been preparing for this our entire lives.

Countless times in school and college we’ve all read slides and textbooks to dull and disinterested crowds

But this time it’s different. It’s graded.

So listen up here are some tips and tricks for you to not only survive your seminar but also come out of it with pretty decent grades.

1. Choose your topic wisely.

Well begun is half done has never been more true.

You will need to take a seminar based on something that is new and not very well explored.

So choosing the right seminar topic will make the difference between an all nighter and weeks of preparation.

Read up on abstracts of research papers and shortlist the ones that make the most sense. This won’t be easy but go through at least a couple of dozen and you will be able to shortlist a handful that makes sense.

2. Early bird gets the worm.

Most schools will have rules dictating diversity of seminar topics, and there will only be a couple that is stupidly easy.

Make sure you don’t waste time and get your topic and base paper approved well ahead of the deadline.

3. Have your base paper ready

This is crucial, just take a damn print out of it. Its not that long and will be pretty nifty in case you want to refer something quick.

4. Manage time wisely

You will have a total time of half an hour in total

out of which 20 minutes will be to present your seminar and 10 minutes will be used to answer questions.

You will need at least 2 questions from the audience (aka your classmates).

So preferably find two people to ask you two questions that you know and you will be good to go.

5. The presentation should be a minimum of 15 slides long.

The slides should be between 15 to 20 slides long anything more would lead to you running out of time and anything less would cause you to bullshit to fill up time.

6. Try not to bullshit.

In many ways bullshit is like friction, it can never be completely eliminated.

But try keeping it to a minimum.

Always remember that the teacher knows more than you.

You will be asked questions based on what’s in your slides. At the bare minimum, make sure you can answer everything that’s on your slides. And if you don’t know the answer to something just say so. Bullshitting will always cause more harm than good.

7. Know the engineering side of the seminar.

Even though your teacher definitely knows more than you, there is something that can work in your favour the topic you are taking a seminar on is probably very new and your professors may not know all about it yet.

So learn all the keywords and buzzwords relating to the topic you and you should be able to coast by.

8. Don’t blatantly read the slides.

Okay, so you have a terrible topic and don’t know much about the technical side. This could be your saving grace.

Include gestures, add extra statements and don’t blatantly read off your slides.

In fact, keep your slides with less text so that you can explain all the content.

Also have a decent control over the audience.

9. Have your report ready.

For the love of god have your report ready. It just needs to be a rough draft because the teacher will undoubtedly ask you to make corrections. Also, use LaTeX.

Keep a cool head, choose your topic early and keep your bullsh*t levels to a minimum and you should be able to coast by your seminar. Or or you could… you know actually work. Either way.