Ten Secrets to Giving a Good Scientific Talk

Browsing the MIT OpenCourseWare’s Laboratory in Cognitive Science entry, I came across a paper on giving effective scientific talks.

  1. Prepare your material carefully and logically
  2. Practice your talk
  3. Don’t put in too much material
  4. Avoid equations
  5. Have only a few conclusion points
  6. Talk to the audience not to the screen
  7. Avoid making distracting sounds
  8. Polish your graphics
    1. Use large letters (no fonts smaller than 16 pts)
    2. Keep the graphic simple
    3. Use color
    4. Use cartoons
  9. Use humor if possible
  10. Be personable in taking questions
    1. First, repeat the question
    2. If you don’t know the answer then say “I don’t know, I will have to look into that”
    3. If the questioner disagrees with you and it looks like there will be an argument then defuse the situation
    4. Never insult the questioner