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Suggestions for Delivering a Great Presentation

Adapted from "Pointers of Giving a Talk," by D. Messerschmitt

Making a Good Talk

Give your talk a beginning, middle, and an end. Summarize scope and goals, main concepts and conclusions

Summarize points you would like to see the audience go away with, and provide pointers to additional information.

Carefully scope what you can cover in the time allotted, allocating time for questions 

Decide how many concepts or points you can adequately get across in the allotted time (one concept every 5 minutes is a reasonable rule of thumb), and prioritize to the most important ones

View your talk as an opportunity to motivate the audience to learn more about the topic on their own (and provide them the pointers to do so), rather than attempting to teach them everything in the talk itself. 

Know your audience, and what you are trying to achieve with this audience, and carefully adjust the content of your talk accordingly:

  • How much do they already know about the subject?

  • How much background do they have to understand the subject?

  • From their perspective, what are they likely to find interesting and exciting?

  • How much diversity is there in the audience? Can you provide something of value for both the well-informed and the clueless?

  • The written word and the spoken word clash, so rely primarily on the spoken word (this is a talk, after all ) The spoken word, images and pictures reinforce each other, so present a visual representation of your concepts to work your words around.