Saturday, July 26, 2008


I don't make perfect presentations, but I think I know a few things, especially after spending yesterday watching an endless cycle of presentations.

First of all, while an introduction may help the structure of your talk, do not make the mistake of simply presenting a table of contents. It is not informative, it is not useful, and it is most definitely boring. While in a written report, having a table of contents may not hurt, in a presentation it is utterly pointless to read the titles of the subjects you are just about to cover. I simply do not believe anyone will get anything out of it.

Second of all, avoid writing too much information on your slides. If you end up writing massive amounts, your presentation will consist almost purely of reading the thing, and frankly you could convey the same amount by giving everyone a hand out. To my mind, it's best to summarize what you're saying on the slides, and ideally have graphs/diagrams.

Third of all, practice your talk, and practice it a lot. It's really, really dull to run through a talk multiple times, but if you do not, when you present you will be uncomfortable and stammer.

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