Mechanics of Presentation

  • Use a good presentation-building tool, like MS PowerPoint. Avoid Latex, except for slides with formulas. Good looks are important. If you need formulas, try TeXPoint, George Necula's Latex for Powerpoint.
  • Humor is very useful; prepare a couple of puns and jokes beforehand (but not epic jokes, which require complicated setup). However, if you're not good with jokes, better avoid them altogether. Improvising humor is very dangerous.
  • The more you rehearse the talk, the better it will be. A rehearsal is most useful when carried out loud. 5 rehearsals is a minimum for an important talk.
  • The more people criticize your talk (during practice), the better it will be; pay attention to criticism, not necessarily to all suggestions, but try to see what and why people misunderstood your ideas.
  • When using printed slides, avoid overlay slides; they are awkward to use.
  • Not everything has to be written down; speech can and should complement the information on the slides.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Act your talk: explain, ask rhetorical questions, act surprised, etc.
  • Give people time to think about the important facts by slowing down, or even stopping for a moment.
  • Do not go overtime under any circumstance.
  • Listen to the questions very carefully; many speakers answer different questions than the ones asked.

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