Friday, July 23, 2004
Some notes on presentation - 1
发信人: rossby (五十岚已夜), 信区: Science
标 题: Re: 中国人做presentation
发信站: Unknown Space - 未名空间 (Thu Mar 17 08:39:41 2005), 转信
【 在 lipstick (苍凉的手势) 的大作中提到: 】
We had a course, "oral presentation", in graduate school taught by a
former head of a NASA lab. It is very helpful.
2. Road Map (Outline)
发信人: happylife (美丽人生), 信区: Science
标 题: Re: 中国人做presentation
发信站: Unknown Space - 未名空间 (Thu Mar 17 11:59:10 2005) WWW-POST
1. Clear slides: Less words, less equations. more figures, more cartoon
2. For short talk, concentrate on the IDEA(why it is cool) but not
3. Don't recite. Write down key points (words) on on the slides to remind
yourself what you should talk about on this slides. Good slides should give
enough guide for you that when you see it you know exactly what to say and in
the right order. Don't worry about English gramars. Nobody really cares.
4. If you can, do practise the pronounciation. Especially the common
words in your talk.
5. Keep eye contact with the audience or at least look to the direction
of audience, which can show your confidence and help them to concentrate.
6. When question is asked. remember the 3 seconds rule:
No matter you know the answer or not, you should response in 3 seconds.
if you don't know the answer or need a few seconds to think:
You can say:"sorry Can you repeat the question slowly?"
you can say :" if you understand the question correctly, you were
you can say:"uh, it's a good question,..." then think a short while...
You can say:" I have thought about it. but I don't have clear answer yet."
" This is a very intresting question and when I get better answer I will try
to inform you."
"This question is related to ...... (other things), which is a genreal problem
or genreal issue in this field. people have different views on that. Though I
don't have a good proof or explaination for it now, I am not along those who
You have to say something in 3 seconds. Anything is fine. Say something then
Don't stand there thinking silently without any response. A few seconds
silence at that moments
can make the audiences feel they have waitted very long....
my boss is very cool.
Somebody said that Clinton is the best speaker ever and my boss should be the
second. Just joke.
He taught me something about presentation, and I am not sure it will be
suitabel to you or not.
He shows the most impressive gragh or data on the first page to get people's
interests and attention. He said the only way to make people remember it is to
say it at the begining. Repeat the detail in the middle and emphasize again at
He says, if you can teach the audience something, make them understand
something. The audience will like it. He never give up a single chance to pass
sample or model around to the audience.
He talks about 2 slides per minutes. While my another advisor told me no more
than 1 slide per minute (a few graghs on one slides should be considered a few
and be talked for a few minues)
That are just different styles.
Giving a talk
by Michael Ernst
There are surely many good references regarding how to give an effective talk — that is, a technical presentation, whether at a conference, to your research group, or as an invited speaker at another university or research laboratory. This page cannot replace them, but it does briefly note a few problems that I very frequently see in talks.
Remember that the goal of a talk is similar to the goal of a paper. You have done some research, and you need to convince the audience that the research is worthwhile (is useful, solves a real problem), that it is hard (not already solved, and there are not other ways to achieve equally good results), and that you have solved it. If any of these three pieces is missing, your talk much less likely to be a success. So be sure to provide motivation for your work, provide background about the problem, and supply sufficient technical details and experimental results.
Get feedback! One of the most effective ways to improve your work is to get advice from others.
Use descriptive slide titles. Do not use the same title on multiple slides (except perhaps when the slides constitute an animation). Choose a descriptive title that helps the audience to appreciate what the specific contribution of this slide is. If you can't figure that out, it suggests that you have not done a good job of understanding and organizing your own material.
The last slide should be a contributions or conclusions slide, reminding the audience of the take-home message of the talk. Do not end the talk with future work, or with a slides that says "the end" or merely gives your email address. And, leave your conclusion slide up after you finish the talk (while you are answering questions). One way to think about this rule is: What do you want to be the last thing that the audience sees (or that is sees while you field questions)?
Start your talk with motivation and examples — and have lots of motivation and examples throughout. For the very beginning of your talk, you need to convince the audience that this talk is worth paying attention to: it is solving an important and comprehensible problem. Never start your talk with an outline slide. (That's boring, and it's too early for the audience to understand the talk structure yet.) Always give the motivation or example first. It can be useful to show an outline slide at the start of each section, to help the audience stay on track (or help those who got distracted or lost to rejoin you), but often you don't need one for the introductory, motivational section of the talk.
Make effective use of figures and color. Avoid a presentation that is just dozens of pages of text.
Do not use textured or colored backgrounds or slide titles, transition effects, and similar eye candy. At best, you will distract the audience from the technical material that you are presenting. At worse, you will alienate the audience by giving them the impression that you are more interested in graphical glitz than in content. Your slides can be attractive without being fancy, but make sure that each element on the slides contributes to your message; if it does not, then remove it.
When giving a presentation, never point at your laptop screen; amazingly, I have seen quite a few people to this! Using a laser pointer is fine, but the laser pointer tends to shake (especially if you are nervous) and can be distracting. I prefer to use my hand, because the talk is more dynamic (and the pointing is harder to miss) if I stride to the screen and use my whole arm. You must touch the screen physically (or come within an inch of it); pointing with your finger/hand from afar is confusing, as it is too hard for the audience to triangulate to what you are indicating (especially due to shadows and multiple points of view in the room).
Make eye contact with the audience. This draws them in and lets you know whether you are going too fast, too slow, or just right. Similarly, being animated is good, but do not pace. This is very distracting, and it gives an unprofessional impression.
If you get flustered, don't panic. One approach is to stop and regroup; taking a drink of water is a good way to cover this, so you should have water on hand even if you don't suffer from dry throat. Another approach is to just skip over that material; the audience is unlikely to know that you skipped something.
Think about your goal in giving the talk. When presenting to your own research group, be sure to leave lots of time for discussion and feedback at the end, and to present the material in a way that invites interaction after and perhaps during the talk. (When presenting to your own group, you can perhaps give a bit less introductory material, though it's hard to go wrong with intro material. It should go quickly for that audience, and it's always good to practice giving the motivation, context, background, and big ideas.)
When an audience member asks a question, it is a good idea to repeat the question, asking the questioner whether you have understood it, before answering the question. This has three benefits.
You ensure that you have understood the question. When thinking under pressure, it can be far too easy to jump to conclusions, and it is bad to answer a question different than the one that was asked. A related benefit is that you get to frame the question in your own words or from your own viewpoint.
You give yourself a few moments to think about your answer.
If the audience member does not have a microphone, the rest of the audience may not have been able to hear the question clearly.
Be willing to answer a question with "no" or "I don't know". You will get into more trouble if you try to blather on.
(Also see Tessa Lau's advice on giving a practice talk — which focuses on a practice talk for a PhD qualifying exam, but is relevant to talks in general.)
Always give a practice talk before you present in front of an audience. Even if you have read over your slides and think you know how the talk will go, when you speak out loud your ideas are likely to come out in a different or less clear way. (This is true about writing, too: even if you know what you want to say, it takes several revisions to figure out the best way to say it.) In fact, you should practice the talk to yourself — speaking out loud in front of a mirror, for example &mdash before you give your first practice talk. In such a practice session, you must say every word you intend to in the actual talk, not skipping over the parts that are difficult.
It can be a good idea to keep your practice talk audience relatively small &mdash certainly no more than 10 people. In a large group, many people won't bother to speak up, and if the pool of potential attendees is larger, it gives you the chance to give multiple practice talks, since the best feedback is given by someone who has not seen the talk (or even the material) before. Giving multiple practice talks is essential for high-profile talks such as conference talks and interview talks. However, the group shouldn't be too small, because otherwise you might be convinced to change the entire structure of your talk by one person who has a different view; getting a balance of opinions will help you avoid making too many mistakes in any one direction.
Consider videotaping yourself to see how you come across to others. This information can be a bit traumatic, but it is invaluable in helping you to improve.
When giving a practice talk, number your slides (say, in the corner), even if you don't intend to include slide numbers in your final presentation.
When giving a practice talk, it is very helpful to distribute hardcopy slides (remember to include slide numbers) so that others can easily annotate them and return them to you at the end of the talk. (Also, the audience will spend less time trying to describe what slide their comment applies to, and more time writing the comment and paying attention to you.) For non-practice talks, you generally shouldn't give out hardcopy slides, as they will tempt the audience to pay attention to the piece of paper instead of to you.
Go to other people's practice talks. This is good citizenship, and cultivating these obligations is a good way to ensure that you have an audience at your practice talk. Furthermore, attending others' talks can teach you a lot about good and bad talks &mdash both from observing the speaker and thinking about how the talk can be better (or is already excellent), and from comparing the the feedback of audience members to your own opinions and observations. (This does not just apply to practice talks: you should continually perform such introspective self-assessment.)
Also see Ian Parberry's speaker's guide.
How to give a quals practice talk
Here's a collection of random tips for giving a successful practice talk, based on my experience giving and attending quals practice talks at the University of Washington. Following these tips won't guarantee that you have a good presentation, but they address some of the more common issues that come up in practice talks, especially for students just learning presentation skills.
Although some of this is specific to the UW CSE qualifying exam process, I hope that much of the advice is generally useful. I give thanks to the UW CSE department for teaching its students excellent presentation skills and having a student culture that encourages friends to help each other learn how to give great talks.
Organization and Content
Think carefully about what information you want to get across. What are the most important two or three points in your talk? How can you explain them most clearly? A 30 minute talk isn't long enough to go into very many details. How does each slide support your main idea?
What did you do and why should we care? Your talk should focus on these two questions. Tell us what you did in the first few slides (even if it's only at a high level; the details will follow) and why it's important. Be sure to distinguish between your contribution and prior/existing work.
Aim for 20-25 slides for a 30-40 minute talk. Of course, this number will vary by speaker, but it's a good rule of thumb. Anything more than that, and you are almost guaranteed to run overtime.
You don't have to tell us all the details. You can always refer the audience to your paper for the full details. If you're worried about it, have detailed slides on hand in case someone asks a question.
Don't show code on your slides unless you have a very good reason. "This is how I implemented the Foo algorithm" is a bad reason. Instead consider demonstrating how the algorithm works on a specific example. "These code snippets show how you can do in 3 lines what used to require 100 lines of code" is a borderline acceptable reason, but only if that code reduction is one of the main contributions of your work. Flash the code up on the screen for a minute, then move on.
Don't put too much text on your slides. Also, don't just read off your slides. If you can do this, you have too much text on your slides. A good rule of thumb is to use at least a 24pt font for the body text. I use 32pt.
Talk through your slides at least once before your practice talk. Stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. Or borrow a tape recorder and record yourself talking. You'll get a better feel for how you sound, and you'll notice interesting things such as the fact that you talk too fast or rely on hand gestures to get your point across. In addition, you'll find out how long your talk will run before inflicting it on the nice people attending your practice talk.
Consider giving two practice talks. If this is your first time giving a talk about your research, expect to make a lot of revisions to your slides, especially after your first practice talk. Scheduling two practice talks also means having two time slots available for people who can't make one or the other. This may be overkill for some people; I gave two practice talks and was greatly helped by both, but good speakers won't find this necessary.
Attend other practice quals talks, even if they're not directly in your field. Find out what other people do right and wrong, and think about how you could do better yourself. Think about how they structure their talks and question whether it would work for yours.
Don't use two projectors unless you have a very good reason. It's worthwhile to examine your talk carefully and see if you can restructure it to only use one projector. A lot of times when you think you need both, you don't. Two projectors cause unnecessary overhead in switching between the two and causing people to focus on each one in turn.
Make copies of your slides as handouts. It's much easier to make notes on the handouts than to try to scribble notes on pieces of paper. If you use PowerPoint, print them 6-up (6 slides per page) and preferably duplex. Bring enough copies to go around.
Number your slides. They're easier to reference by number as we start picking apart your presentation.
Select a mix of people who are and aren't familiar with your field. The people who are familiar with the grotty details of the algorithms/systems/techniques/theorems you're discussing will likely have detailed comments on the correctness of your work and will ask you probing questions. The people who aren't will make sure your talk is accessible to non-experts.
Find out which of your fellow students give helpful comments at other people's practice talks. Invite them to yours. Bribes help.
Ian Parberry's Speaker's Guide