A good technical presentation requires a lot more than presentation skills. A broad understanding of the subject and where one’s work stands in relation to other work is important. Michael D. Ernst has some excellent advice on keys to a good technical presentation. Ernst emphasizes that the goal is to convince that the problem is worthwhile, that it’s not an easy problem, and a good solution has been proposed. In order to convince the audience that the research is worthwhile, it is important to give motivational examples.
He also points out a mistake which I am prone to making:
Do not try to do too much in a talk. About one slide per minute is a good pace (possibly more if lots of your slides are animations that take only moments to present). If you try to fit the entire technical content of a paper into a talk, you will rush, with the result that the audience may come away understanding nothing.
This is especially true if one has some lengthy proof to explain and one gets into the details of the proof. It is better to spell out the result and give some insight into how the proof works rather than explaining each step of the proof. Ernst summarizes this approach well by saying that:
It’s better to think of the talk as an advertisement for the paper that gives the key ideas, intuitions, and results, and that makes the audience eager to read your paper or to talk with you to learn more. That does not mean holding back important details – merely omitting less important ones.
Share your comments and feedback