EE 651 - Tips for Effective Oral Presentations
Practice your presentation at least twice beforehand.
Ideally, one of the practice talks should be in front of a small test
Verify that the talk can be delivered in the allotted time.
Keep it in mind that the actual delivery time tends to be slightly
longer than the delivery time in practice sessions.
Carefully prepared overhead transparencies have been widely used
to accompany technical oral presentations.
Increasingly, however, slides are projected directly from electronic files
using a computer and colour projection system.
If the presentation if very important, consider bring plastic slides
as back-up to guard against equipment failure.
Avoid merely reading from slides.
Rather, use the information on the slides to structure and illustrate
your oral presentation.
Do not attempt to cover too many slides for the allotted time.
One slide every minute is an extreme upper limit for the slide
presentation rate; one slide every 1.5 to two minutes is more realistic.
Do not overload a slide with too much information.
Paragraphs of text are difficult to digest in a talk; clearly marked
points will be communicated far more effectively.
A slide containing points should not contain more than five or six
Similarly, detailed mathematical proofs are difficult to convey in
Use point form proof sketches that will communicate only the essential steps
of the proof argument.
Remember the saying ``A picture is worth a thousand words.''
Complex ideas are best conveyed by means of diagrams.
Colour tends to further increase the effectiveness of diagrams.
Illustrate the operation of a process or algorithm by means of a small
The example should be carefully chosen to be complex enough to exhibit the
main features of the problem, and yet simple enough to be readily grasped
by the audience.
Concrete examples often convey the essence of a problem more effectively
than textual points and/or algorithms.
Your presentation should include most if not all of the following slides:
(1) title slide, including authors names and institutions;
(2) outline slide for the talk; (3) slides to provide
motivation for the work; (4) a slide mentioning dates and authors of
related work; (5) a conclusions slide; (6) a dirctions for future
research slide; and (7) a slide giving further references.
When giving the talk, speak clearly and raise the volume of your voice
sufficiently so that person in the back row can still hear you.
Fight the natural tendency to speak too fast.
Face the audience when you speak.
Make occasional eye contact with your audience. Don't direct your
speech presentation to your feet or the back wall.
At the end of the talk, volunteer to answer any questions that
the audience may have.
Last updated March 17, 2000