Guest post: BESIG Summer Symposium 2012 report

On 16 June 2012 the Besig Summer Symposium took place in Paris. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there, so I asked Mieke Kenis and Vicky Loras, two people who were lucky enough to be present, to report back for me.

I was really looking forward to the symposium for various reasons. It would be my first ever Besig event, David Crystal was going to be the plenary speaker and the programme looked very promising. Furthermore I was taking a colleague of mine, whom I was going to introduce to some Twitter friends. The train journey from Brussels to Paris wasn’t long enough to tell him all about the benefits of a Twitter PLN 🙂

Mieke with Sue Annan

But what was most exciting was the prospect of finally meeting Vicky Loras. We had been talking to each other on Twitter for some time when one evening, a few tweets led to our collaboration on some of Vicky’s poems. It was just great I was going to see her live 😉

Vicky is also a regular contributor to the ELTchat Podcast, for which she interviews ELT people. When James Taylor asked us to write a guest post for his blog about the Besig Symposium I thought it would be a nice idea to reverse the roles this time and ask her a few questions.

Vicky enjoying the Parisian cafe lifestyle!

So Vicky, here we go…

What made you decide to present at the Besig Summer Symposium?
I love teaching Business English, so when I saw the call for papers, I decided to send in my presentation proposal. I was also very excited about the topic of my presentation, as it is an idea I have developed with my adult students and we absolutely love it.
You were a first time Besig speaker. How did you feel about that?
It was a great honour for me to be accepted as a speaker at the BESIG Symposium. I have presented at other conferences as well, but this would be my first where the sole focus was on Business English.
What makes a good conference presentation for you?
I love presentations where the speaker shares practical knowledge, things we can all use in our classes. I love theory too, but a combination with practice is even more beneficial for me!  I also like it when speakers are people who have actually taught and bring with them this enthusiasm of teaching.
You had the last slot of the day. How did you feel about that?
I thought at the beginning that it would prolong the waiting time (and hence being a bit nervous would last longer), but actually I had so much fun learning all day with the other presenters, that when my time came, I felt so comfortable and happy at the same time!
So, how did it go?

I think it went well. I loved the participation from everyone who was there – the atmosphere was very nice and I love it when people want to share their own experiences or comment on an idea. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did! It was truly a great experience for me.

Vicky after her presentation
We sometimes read some tips for conference presenters but what do presenters appreciate most in the audience?
I think an audience that participates is great, because it makes the speaker feel more comfortable and that the presentation can actually give something to everyone.  Even negative comments or disagreements can help. They can make you think!
Vicky, you won the second prize for best first time Besig presenter. How did you feel about that?

I was very very happy about it and that I could share this happiness with all my friends and colleagues there – and really excited to be presented the prize by David Crystal, a linguist that I have admired and read about ever since I was a freshman in university. It was a truly unforgettable moment!

Vicky after receiving her award from David Crystal

What was the highlight of the Symposium for you?
I loved many things about it: the presentations I attended were amazing and each gave me things to learn (I wish I could attend some other ones as well at the same times as the ones I attended). The networking that went on in-between the sessions and after the Symposium was absolutely fantastic, as we could reflect on our own experiences as well and share learning moments. It was also great to see people I had met before in person (people with whom I have connected to on Twitter), but also to meet new people face-to-face – like you!

Many thanks for this interview, Mieke!

Thank you, Vicky, and  thank you, James, for asking us!

Thanks to Vicky and Mieke for this interview.


6 thoughts on “Guest post: BESIG Summer Symposium 2012 report

  1. Hi James,

    Thank you so much for posting our interview (and coming up with the idea of the interview) with Mieke! We had a great time in Paris (wish you had come too) and it was a really great experience! A million thanks to Mieke for the questions – I really enjoyed them : )

    Thank you so much,

  2. Hi Mieke, Vicky and James,
    This interview is a great idea! Congratulations once again, Vicky! Hope to see all three of you at more BESIG events in the near future!

  3. Hi Chia!

    Thank you so much again! It was great to meet you face-to-face there for the first time. I really enjoyed the whole experience!

    See you soon I hope!

    Best wishes,

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