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How to give a talk
(that doesn’t put your audience to sleep)


              Ramesh Raskar
              MIT Media Lab
             http://raskar.info
Other Resources
• See my homepage (http://raskar.info)
   – ‘How to come up with new ideas’
   – ‘How to quickly get started writing a paper’

• How to give an academic talk, Paul Edwards
• http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/PDF/howtotalk.pdf
• http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~jrs/speaking.html

• Fredo Durand, MIT
• http://people.csail.mit.edu/fredo/TalkAdvice.pdf

• How to give a bad talk
• http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~markhill/conference-talk.html
Overview Slide
• I will start with a statement that is too general
• Mention terms I haven’t explained yet
• I will talk about related work about topic you
  don’t know yet
• Tell you more about things you have no idea
• I will show you results after you have already
  lost me
• I will conclude with conclusion
Getting Started
•   Don’t start with an OVERVIEW slide
•   Start with a question or motivating example
•   Give the zeroth order idea in one sentence
•   Show the ‘magic’
    – Conclusion goes first !
    – Make the audience wonder how you will get there
    – then on the next 2 slides show a teaser but give away the key idea!
• Gauge your audience and adapt. If you're not good at
  gauging, just stick with your original presentation plan.
Curve of Excitement                                   But there is more.
                                                                            Wait and see how
                                                                             next year I will
   Audience                                                                  show you more
   Interest                     Teaser                                      cool stuff. Go see
                          results, people are                                  my website.
                            wondering how
                             you got there
                                                                          ‘Whats in it for
                      You have shown                                       me’ You give
                     the ‘magic’ with a                                      audience
People are excited      question or
even before you                                   Cool results            something they
                        motivating                                         can use with
start because you         example
have a great                                                            ‘Future Directions’
title/abstract

                                                Nitty gritty of the
                                                math/algo/implem
                                                entation. You are
                                                   losing some
                                                people but its ok.    Time (or Slide #)
Curve of Boredom
    Audience
    Interest


                                                                          Discuss future directions
                                                    Your Intended
                                                        Curve
                                                                       Share results which you
                                                                       were trying to keep
                                       We don’t                        secret till the end
  People are
                   Real Curve          know the
  excited                              context of            Describe second order
  anyway                               the theory            details
                                                     Related work
                                                                                     Too late to
                                                                                     share those
                                               Describe theory Audience is
                                                                                     cool results
No clue what the      Start with meaningless
                                                               lost because
title/abstract,       ‘Overview’ slide
                                                               they don’t
jargon words
                                                               know ‘why’Time (or Slide #)
The S curve of excitement
• The flipped S-curve of audience excitement vs. time line of
  your presentation. –
• First 1/3: content that causes maximum excitement.
• Middle 1/3: Excitement stay a constant low. But that is ok.
• Last 1/3: Get everyone with you agaian. The ending should
  pick up(results/future directions).
• In essence, the audience is really listening to you only at the
  beginning (and bit at the end) unless you engage them in an
  interactive way.
Getting Started
Motivate the context or application
 Why is what you are doing important? Why
 should people care? This could be audience
 background based

Logical Breaks
Overview diagram of the project should be at the
  beginning and not at the end.
Ok to have an overview slide after setting up the
  key concepts
READ your Slides !
• Yes, read your slides ..
   – Do opposite of what people have been telling you
• We live in a globalized world
   – Not all are native English speakers
• Try to use same words while talking
   – Spoken words, pictures, and text on the slide should
     all be in sync (and in same order) and say the same
     thing. They should all also stand independently of the
     rest of the slides.
   – Important when you are publishing your ppt online
     with ‘Notes’
Staying on the message
• Conveying key ideas with figures/diagrams/images is
  essential.
• Repeat the key point again and again.
   – Roughly follow the title->question->explanation-
     >conclusion flow in each subsection.
• Talk != paper
   – Give only limited information about the work. Motivate
     listener to go read your paper for the details. Only present
     what most people would understand.
• You can ignore 2nd and 3rd order details
   – Just give a flavor of the complexity and your conclusions
The rule of 1/3rds
• 1/3 of your talk should be
  understood by everyone
  (intro, motivation, results, future
  work)
• 1/3 of your ppt should be
  understood by people in your field
• 1/3 of your ppt should maybe
  understood by just a few people in
  the room. For this part you can
  include figures, equations. Just
  having them is enough, don't try to
  explain.
• Watching talk videos online
   – previous Siggraph presentations
   – VideoLectures.net
   – Avoid TED style for your technical presentation
      • Unless you want to rewind the story all the way to your childhood
        and how what you are doing is directly shaped by your childhood
        experiences
• Use white board
   – Great if you are giving tutorial style presentation
   – Saves time on making nice looking slides
• During Practice Talks
  – Add Slide number to each slide
     • People can give you comment for each slide
     • Don’t include slide num on your final version
  – Ask a friend to take notes
     • Timing and suggestions/questions on each slide
• Get a wireless remote + laser pointer
• Avoid ‘rehearse’ time mode
  – Clicking a button during presentation is ok
  – Wireless remote makes it even easier
Blank slides force people to focus on the
speaker. You can hit 'B' in Microsoft power
point to make the screen go blank. ‘B’ again to
show your presentation.

If you are digressing from the slide, audience
may get confused by what is on your slide.
Hit ‘B’.
• Have a photo/figure/sketch
  on every slide
• The image can be unrelated
• If you run out of ideas for a
  photo on each slide, just
  search for the keyword
  online (here I searched
  ‘unrelated;)
Last Slide
• Never end with a ‘Thank you’ slide !
   – This is the slide that will be up for a long time during Q&A
   – Last slide should be
       • Summary of your talk
       • Website for further info
       • State problem. State conclusion. Contact info. Nice pictures
   – Don’t end with Acknowledgement slide
       • Appreciated but not useful to most of your audience
       • Ack slide can be one before ‘Summary’
   – Don’t show a video during Q&A
       • You cannt squeeze out the time
   – How to encourage questions in Q&A
       • This slides should have take home points and conclusions
       • State some open questions at the end of the last slide.
Thank you Slide
• Never end with a ‘Thank you’ slide !
• Last slide should be
  – Summary of your talk
  – website for further info
‘After’ the last slide

• Appendix slides
  – Keep them ready in same ppt after your
    presentation.
  – Explanation for possible questions in Q&A
  – Videos etc.
  – If you are posting slides online, Appendix slides
    can have more details
Tips from Ted Adelson
• Have a good last sentence; say "thank you" and not "I will
  take questions". This gives the audience a chance to clap
  without feeling awkward. And the host a chance to take
  charge.
• Most of the audience is interested in question, "what is in it
  for me?". Know your audience and try to answer their
  question. Also, if the audience is diverse, talk about a
  variety of things.
• Don't assume that the audience is alert and listening to
  everything you say. It is okay to repeat important stuff.
• Look at "bad talks" to learn how not to give one. A good
  talk is nothing but a not-bad talk. You do not have to do
  anything spectacular.

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How to give a talk, Control the curve of excitement and get rid of the dreaded ''Thank You' slide

  • 1. How to give a talk (that doesn’t put your audience to sleep) Ramesh Raskar MIT Media Lab http://raskar.info
  • 2. Other Resources • See my homepage (http://raskar.info) – ‘How to come up with new ideas’ – ‘How to quickly get started writing a paper’ • How to give an academic talk, Paul Edwards • http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/PDF/howtotalk.pdf • http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~jrs/speaking.html • Fredo Durand, MIT • http://people.csail.mit.edu/fredo/TalkAdvice.pdf • How to give a bad talk • http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~markhill/conference-talk.html
  • 3. Overview Slide • I will start with a statement that is too general • Mention terms I haven’t explained yet • I will talk about related work about topic you don’t know yet • Tell you more about things you have no idea • I will show you results after you have already lost me • I will conclude with conclusion
  • 4. Getting Started • Don’t start with an OVERVIEW slide • Start with a question or motivating example • Give the zeroth order idea in one sentence • Show the ‘magic’ – Conclusion goes first ! – Make the audience wonder how you will get there – then on the next 2 slides show a teaser but give away the key idea! • Gauge your audience and adapt. If you're not good at gauging, just stick with your original presentation plan.
  • 5. Curve of Excitement But there is more. Wait and see how next year I will Audience show you more Interest Teaser cool stuff. Go see results, people are my website. wondering how you got there ‘Whats in it for You have shown me’ You give the ‘magic’ with a audience People are excited question or even before you Cool results something they motivating can use with start because you example have a great ‘Future Directions’ title/abstract Nitty gritty of the math/algo/implem entation. You are losing some people but its ok. Time (or Slide #)
  • 6. Curve of Boredom Audience Interest Discuss future directions Your Intended Curve Share results which you were trying to keep We don’t secret till the end People are Real Curve know the excited context of Describe second order anyway the theory details Related work Too late to share those Describe theory Audience is cool results No clue what the Start with meaningless lost because title/abstract, ‘Overview’ slide they don’t jargon words know ‘why’Time (or Slide #)
  • 7. The S curve of excitement • The flipped S-curve of audience excitement vs. time line of your presentation. – • First 1/3: content that causes maximum excitement. • Middle 1/3: Excitement stay a constant low. But that is ok. • Last 1/3: Get everyone with you agaian. The ending should pick up(results/future directions). • In essence, the audience is really listening to you only at the beginning (and bit at the end) unless you engage them in an interactive way.
  • 8. Getting Started Motivate the context or application Why is what you are doing important? Why should people care? This could be audience background based Logical Breaks Overview diagram of the project should be at the beginning and not at the end. Ok to have an overview slide after setting up the key concepts
  • 9. READ your Slides ! • Yes, read your slides .. – Do opposite of what people have been telling you • We live in a globalized world – Not all are native English speakers • Try to use same words while talking – Spoken words, pictures, and text on the slide should all be in sync (and in same order) and say the same thing. They should all also stand independently of the rest of the slides. – Important when you are publishing your ppt online with ‘Notes’
  • 10. Staying on the message • Conveying key ideas with figures/diagrams/images is essential. • Repeat the key point again and again. – Roughly follow the title->question->explanation- >conclusion flow in each subsection. • Talk != paper – Give only limited information about the work. Motivate listener to go read your paper for the details. Only present what most people would understand. • You can ignore 2nd and 3rd order details – Just give a flavor of the complexity and your conclusions
  • 11. The rule of 1/3rds • 1/3 of your talk should be understood by everyone (intro, motivation, results, future work) • 1/3 of your ppt should be understood by people in your field • 1/3 of your ppt should maybe understood by just a few people in the room. For this part you can include figures, equations. Just having them is enough, don't try to explain.
  • 12. • Watching talk videos online – previous Siggraph presentations – VideoLectures.net – Avoid TED style for your technical presentation • Unless you want to rewind the story all the way to your childhood and how what you are doing is directly shaped by your childhood experiences • Use white board – Great if you are giving tutorial style presentation – Saves time on making nice looking slides
  • 13. • During Practice Talks – Add Slide number to each slide • People can give you comment for each slide • Don’t include slide num on your final version – Ask a friend to take notes • Timing and suggestions/questions on each slide • Get a wireless remote + laser pointer • Avoid ‘rehearse’ time mode – Clicking a button during presentation is ok – Wireless remote makes it even easier
  • 14. Blank slides force people to focus on the speaker. You can hit 'B' in Microsoft power point to make the screen go blank. ‘B’ again to show your presentation. If you are digressing from the slide, audience may get confused by what is on your slide. Hit ‘B’.
  • 15. • Have a photo/figure/sketch on every slide • The image can be unrelated • If you run out of ideas for a photo on each slide, just search for the keyword online (here I searched ‘unrelated;)
  • 16. Last Slide • Never end with a ‘Thank you’ slide ! – This is the slide that will be up for a long time during Q&A – Last slide should be • Summary of your talk • Website for further info • State problem. State conclusion. Contact info. Nice pictures – Don’t end with Acknowledgement slide • Appreciated but not useful to most of your audience • Ack slide can be one before ‘Summary’ – Don’t show a video during Q&A • You cannt squeeze out the time – How to encourage questions in Q&A • This slides should have take home points and conclusions • State some open questions at the end of the last slide.
  • 17. Thank you Slide • Never end with a ‘Thank you’ slide ! • Last slide should be – Summary of your talk – website for further info
  • 18. ‘After’ the last slide • Appendix slides – Keep them ready in same ppt after your presentation. – Explanation for possible questions in Q&A – Videos etc. – If you are posting slides online, Appendix slides can have more details
  • 19. Tips from Ted Adelson • Have a good last sentence; say "thank you" and not "I will take questions". This gives the audience a chance to clap without feeling awkward. And the host a chance to take charge. • Most of the audience is interested in question, "what is in it for me?". Know your audience and try to answer their question. Also, if the audience is diverse, talk about a variety of things. • Don't assume that the audience is alert and listening to everything you say. It is okay to repeat important stuff. • Look at "bad talks" to learn how not to give one. A good talk is nothing but a not-bad talk. You do not have to do anything spectacular.