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At some conferences I attend(ed), plenary speakers are introduced with more than just name an title of the talk, but also a short CV by the session convenor.

While I don't know how these intros are compiled (do organisers run background checks on the speakers? do speakers provide the summary themselves?) it may happen that the presented information (roles the speaker holds / held) are incorrect. (Misunderstandings between the convenor and their sources, not full awareness of subtle seeming terminology differences, …)

I expect mostly nobody cares about the details in such a speaker introduction, but there may be cases where the speaker gets a role attributed which they didn't hold and the award of the role was disputed or a politically delicate topic.

I'm wondering, what is the correct way to deal with such an incorrect introduction (assuming the speaker didn't deliberately provide false information)? Should one embarrass the convenor by correcting them before starting the presentation or let it slide and off-stage apologize to those in the audience who will feel offended because the convenor attributed their reputation to the speaker?

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    The way you've written this it sounds hypothetical. Whose point of view are you asking from? – Jessica B Jul 13 '18 at 8:20
  • i'm wondering about all involved, but i think only the speaker has a chance to do anything (they have the word / microphone; if anybody in the audience would stand up and shout to correct the convenor that would probably be regarded unprofessional. similar for raising it as a comment after the talk) – pseyfert Jul 13 '18 at 8:57
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    "I don't know how these intros are compiled" The conference organisers will request a bio from the speaker. In my experience, the session convenor will simply read this out. A good session convenor will ask the speaker to help them pick out the most interesting/relevant things and double check everything ahead of the session. This more or less minimises the risk of an incorrect introduction. – Phil Jul 13 '18 at 12:29
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In case your name is pronounced wrong, just let it slip. You cannot expect someone to know all of the correct pronounciations of strangers' names. As for the title, I would recommend to only speak up when you are introduced with a status higher than your real one. A side remark like "Oh, and I do not actually hold a PhD" should be enough to clear the confusion and to show people you are not adorning yourself with borrowed plumes (taking false credit). Any further would probably unneccessarily embarass the speaker.

  • I was more thinking about awards the speaker supposedly received or jobs of recognition ("is in charge of leading the XYZ project" - with the actual project leader in the audience). (People in my experience don't get addressed by their title anyway, so their PhD only comes up in introductions like "did their PhD in 2006 in the group of <famous person> on <title of thesis>" I would hope this is hard to get wrong by the convenor.) – pseyfert Jul 13 '18 at 9:42

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