Presenting your work and communicating it to others is an important
part of scientific research. Below is a list of what I think is useful
advice when preparing a presentation. Of course, in time you will
develop your own style so these are just meant to be suggestions if
you are new to giving talks :
- Choose a large enough font size.
- Aim to make your talk understood by most of the audience. This means
that you should keep it reasonably simple. If you have a general audience,
for instance, it doesn't make sense to go into technical details that only
interest the specialists.
- Do not put too many words and equations on your slides. Most people
have a hard time reading through the slides and listening to the speaker at
the same time.
- Simplify your equations as much as possible and make sure to define
(both in words and writing) all of the variables involved. Spend time
describing the equation.
- Visual aids such as figures and animations help understand the
material better than just words. However, don't crowd your talk with too
- After preparing your talk, take time to practice it thoroughly. You
don't need to memorize every word but it helps your talk go more
smoothly if you know roughly what to say for every slide ahead of time.
- Train yourself to speak up and to speak clearly. This is even more
important if you are giving the talk in a language that is not your own.
- While presenting, go through all of the material that is written on
your slides. Things that are left out are sources of distraction for the
audience. Overlays (items that appear one at a time on the slides) might be
helpful in that respect, but again do not overdo.
- Face the audience while you are speaking.
- Obey time constraints and leave time for questions.
Using LATEX to prepare presentations
You should use whichever software you are comfortable with while you are
preparing presentations. The principle advantage of using Latex for
presentations, however, is the ease of embedding formulas and tables (you
should keep in mind, though, that too many of those spoil the flow of the
presentation). You do, of course, lose some of the advantages of PowerPoint
such as the flexibility to move around objects, the ease of embedding
animations and the convenience of not having to compile every time you
change something. However there are various decent packages that allow you
to use Latex in writing presentations without too much pain. Here are a few
of them (feel free to copy and modify the two examples I have provided):
- seminar : The standard
presentation packages that usually comes along with Latex. Click here for an example and here for the source of the example.
- prosper : A wrap around the seminar package. Go to their web page for more information
- beamer : My personal
favorite. Go to their web
page for information and download. Click here for an example and here for the source of the example.