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58

If somebody asks a dumb question, they're not going to feel good about the interaction whatever happens. If possible, get them back on the right track but avoid saying anything that could be interpreted as sarcasm and move on as quickly as possible. The most likely thing is either that the questioner has missed something obvious or misunderstood something ...


45

The best way is to be highly active in your field. (Note: this will take work.) Here are my suggestions for accomplishing this, and I hope others will post more in the comments or other answers: Do awesome work. It all starts here. As a PhD student, this typically requires being in an awesome lab under an awesome professor, but it is possible to achieve ...


39

I would say the two most important points are to make slides you are comfortable with and not to limit your oral presentation to reading your slides. Furthermore, if you are presenting a research paper, i.e., where more written material is available to the audience, then the objective is usually to make people want to read your paper, instead of explaining ...


39

You might be interested in Advanced Google Image Search, where you can search by copyright status. More information about the Usage rights search can be found here. For example, here are freely useable images searching for "Mars". And here is an example searching for "IBM". Note: See the important remark by @jb. in the comment below — you should verify ...


36

From less esoteric to more (I've seen all these things happen): Make sure you know how to "send the image to a projector". Not all laptops do this automatically, and I'm surprised at how many people don't know how to do it. I've also seen people be confused by the mirroring feature on Macs. Verify that there's a power outlet or some place to plug in your ...


36

We are in full agreement that there are in fact dumb (or, more accurately, non-productive) questions, and I do not think that it is your responsibility as a speaker to make the asker of the question feel better about himself to the expense of the rest of the audience. When this sort of thing happens to me, I try to answer accurately, politely and to the ...


32

A good-looking report will put me in the mindset that you took the assignment seriously, and aimed to turn in quality work. I think that counts for something, not nothing. That said, if a report is just that – good looking, with little substance behind it – I will see through the façade very quickly, and all those superficial niceties might even count ...


31

This really depends on your audience. At a department colloquium, I assume very little background, probably an undergrad degree in math, but not even an undergrad class in my research area. Here the audience will often be smart, but ignorant of the relevant background. At a research seminar with lots of undergrad and/or masters students, I still don't ...


31

One minor point to add to eykanal's awesome answer: One of your advisor's jobs is to help you publicize your work. Take every possible advantage of their existing research network. Ask them to introduce you to people at conferences, workshops, and other meetings; ask them for help arranging invitations at other departments/labs. (Ideally, you shouldn't ...


30

Since the OP specifically mentions the case of job talks and none of the other answers do, let me concentrate on that in my answer. 1) In a job talk, unless you specifically know otherwise, you should assume that everyone in the audience is someone who could have a direct hand in hiring you. In the job talk I gave at my current university, a graduate ...


28

A slide being self-explanatory? Why would you be presenting then? What's the purpose of YOU being there? IMHO the slides should enhance your presentation not be the presentation. YOU are the presenter and the slides should help you convey your message better. Having self explanatory slides takes away the attention from you which is a nonstarter for a good ...


28

According to proper etiquette you may use Master as a title (as in “Master Segovia”) if and only if you are: the heir apparent of a Scottish viscount or baron a boy not old enough to be called “Mr.” The New Oxford American Dictionary (which gives the above information) also lists the archaic use as a “title for a man of high rank or learning”, but (a) ...


27

The PhD students I remember the most are the ones who came up to me and made meaningful comments or suggestions regarding my work. They get extra bonus points if in the middle of the night the next week they offer more meaningful comments or suggestions. This can happen in the context of a faculty visit, a conference, or even online. The most powerful ...


26

Matt Might, a rather young professor, has an interesting style, encompassing the minimalistic approach. Have a peek at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaPsYmOmgcI He also provides some useful guidelines for preparing a presentation: one of the most important is considering your audience: http://matt.might.net/articles/academic-presentation-tips/. ...


25

As an economist I can rant for hours about people's ulterior motives... as a speaker I can tell you that this reaction springs in me spontaneously, when the question has good timing with what I am presenting, meaning that it is a good opening for the next issue (or next aspect of the current issue) I was about to start speaking on. It makes a presentation ...


25

A natural presentation comes from practice, and lots of it. From practice comes confidence. Excellent speakers rarely have more than a few words bullet pointed on their slides. This means that the audience's attention is focused on the speaker. The speaker then tells the audience what the speaker wants them to hear, or directs the audience's attention to ...


24

First of all: note that there is a difference between an academic CV and a resume. An academic CV typically lists everything you've done related to academia; every talk, every conference paper, every award, every grant, every mentored postdoc, grad, and possibly undergrad. A resume is a two-page document that summarizes your work/academic experience. ...


21

Reputable journals will waive publication charges for authors who cannot pay them, so you should ask about that. If everything goes well, then that will simply solve your financial problems. I see only two ways you can get stuck: (1) The journal insists you can pay, perhaps because your advisor has plenty of grant money, but your advisor refuses. In ...


21

How can I balance the details of research without losing the audience on key points? From my perspective, the key to giving a 15 minute talk is to omit all of the details. Many audience members don't care, the few who do can read your paper, and in any case it's impossible to convey any serious details clearly and correctly in such a short time. If ...


21

Find an interesting image. Check for licensing conditions. If license has generous terms (like Creative Commons license) allowing free reuse of the image, or reuse under conditions that you meet (like attribution or absence of modifications), use the image. If you think your use is covered by fair use: use the image. Otherwise, contact the copyright holder ...


20

This morning I watched a video about how powerpoint is killing our ability to teach properly. It can be seen as a lesson in bad slide design. One key message is if you are reading your slides to the students, you are not teaching. Ultimately, slides should just contain key information, and you should tell the rest of the story. Regarding some of the other ...


19

In addition to Suresh comprehensive answer, and understanding you are referring primarily to the technology, would add the following which concerns the presentation: Do not include media (video, sound etc) in your presentations unless absolutely necessary. If you do, make sure in advance (before the conference or some time before your talk that everything ...


18

I think a script is actually more harmful than good. It tends to produce very rigid talks, and it often forces you to concentrate on the script instead of the content and audience. Usually, you know what you are talking about well enough to not need a script, and just pointers. Below are the tricks I use for different kinds of talks. Research talks For ...


18

I used to take the point of view you refer to, but I don't believe in it any more. In my current way of thinking, slides for a talk are a dynamic accompaniment to the story that you're telling - they're visual aids for what you're saying. Unlike TED talks or the Apple talks, a technical presentation necessarily has more content on slides, because even a ...


18

In my experience it's easy to be misled by a few good students who are able to engage with you and answer your questions. This doesn't mean the majority of students feel the same way of course. I always try and bear in mind the weakest (and often the quietest) students in the class and try and not be lured into accelerating due to a few bright sparks at the ...


17

When you do a research presentation, what is usually the focus that you take. Talks are advertisements for papers and (more generally) for research agendas. They are not substitutes for papers. The primary aim of a research talk is to provide the audience with the intuition and motivation to get involved in the described research, at a minimum by ...


16

In addition to ekaynal's answer, you can also run a conference or workshop. But be careful that this doesn't detract from the quality of your research! Running department seminars can help too because you will get to invite & host speakers who will therefore learn your name.


16

I typically post my slides on my website as pdfs. On the title page of my slides, I have started adding a line that says something like "slides available on my preprint page", and sometimes I'll mention this at the start of my talk. On my website, I have a page for all my slides and I also link to the relevant slides on my preprints page. Personally, I ...


16

I would add to the end of your conclusion a simple statement: By the way, I'm looking for a postdoc position. I've seen it done before, and I don't think people minded. A T-shirt could be a fun way of broaching the topic when talking to people.


16

I actually tend to do this more with a younger, less experienced audience. I remember being terrified to ask questions during talks, and how much it helped to have a speaker with this attitude. So, in part, when I say it, it means: 'It's good that you asked a question'. Of course I only do it if the question is reasonable. I was recently at a summer school ...



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