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AFS Review: Did You Know...?

Diamond Presentations Offer Diverse Advantages to Presenters and Audiences

Wednesday, March 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind V. Rini Larson
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The AFS Annual Meeting began to accept proposals for diamond presentations in 2010, when this innovative presentational format was introduced as a highly visual, focused alternative to the standard conference paper. Because the diamond presentation consists of 21 slides that advance automatically every 20 seconds, it was originally designed to serve the particular needs of those who specialize in visual communication. However, it turns out that this format offers a number of other benefits as well:

  • The visual basis for the presentation bridges language barriers.
  • Slides don't have to be images; presenters can experiment with other visual techniques to aid communication.
  • The shorter presentation is accompanied by more time for discussion.
  • While papers may be better suited to some well-developed arguments concerning complex subjects, the diamond format allows presenters to experiment with a particular dimension of a broader topic, or get feedback on a work in progress. 
  • Diamond presentations can be more durable and portable, as they can be easily adapted to digital exhibition.
  • Because presenters have to be creative and selective, diamond presentations are usually fun to watch—and if not, at least they're short!

One presenter reported, "Doing a diamond session two years ago was a fascinating and valuable challenge, and it was refreshing to see how much more productive discussion emerged from these relatively brief presentations.”

Other presenters have been creative in adapting the format to their own ends, taking advantage of the short presentation format in pre-organized sessions to show various facets of a larger subject.

We encourage experimentation with short presentations, which may be more or less strict in their interpretation of the diamond format, at the 2018 AFS Annual Meeting. Contact Lorraine Walsh Cashman at with suggestions or questions about alternative formats.

For more about the history and virtues of the diamond format, see "Annual Meeting 'Diamonds' Are Compressed, Multifaceted, Beautiful, (Hard)--and Conversation-Starters."

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