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I am preparing a presentation in LaTeX and got at least seven pages for references only.

In general, as far as I know, a "thank you" slide of a presentation is the termination slide of the presentation, i.e., it comes at the end after references.

Since my presentation part, which demands explanation, ends with a page before starting of references, and I got a long list of references, is it okay to keep my "thank you" slide before references?

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    I dislike reference slides in talks at the best of times, but 7 of them? Are you sure this is the best format for your presentation? Consider checking this and this. – Anyon Jun 7 at 21:55
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    You better be sure your presentation is on point, otherwise a thank you will sound like "thank you for bearing with me" – Lasse Meyer Jun 8 at 8:01
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    I like to use a slide saying "Fin." It usually goes over well. – Cristobol Polychronopolis Jun 9 at 13:49
  • Please avoid answers in comments. In response to a flag, several answers-in-comments have been removed; please consider writing a proper answer or upvoting an existing answer instead. – cag51 Jun 10 at 3:52

11 Answers 11

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Don't even think about going through seven slides of references. Put them in a separate handout or web link. Make the thank you slide the last (or next to last, if you are going to ask for questions).

If you want the references on slides so you have just one document, put them at the end and don't visit them.

Addition: Many commenters note that "thank you" might not be the best way to end your presentation. Consider verbal thanks and just your conclusions on the final slide, perhaps with a request for questions.

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    Short citations of key references at the bottom of the slide they occur is not a bad idea, also. – Jack Aidley Jun 8 at 7:08
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    Short references allow listeners to take a photos of the slides if they want to do further reading. – HerpDerpington Jun 8 at 17:45
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    This question was about thank you slides not references. Although we all agree about the referenences, I highly disagree with your recommendation to put in a thank you slide. It only distracts from the content. – infinitezero Jun 9 at 5:59
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On the references As expressed by other posters, seven slides of references sound like an overkill. Though, if the underlying reason to dwell on the references is sound, as it may well be:

  • I would suggest to choose a graphical format. A graph showing the cross-citations or a timeline could be useful. This gives the backdrop to your own story on why the references are important, other than plainly numerous.
  • Another option is to add a textual slide commenting on the references: that they are, say, 200; they date from those periods; they have been published in such and such journals or proceedings; a quick kind of meta analysis, that is. That could actually be intriguing.

On the closing slide I have long since stopped to put the final thank-you-for-your-attention and/or any-questions? slide. Rather:

  • I say that in spoken words facing the audience, which is a much more open and inviting gesture.
  • My last slide contains the conclusions, so that the audience can replay in their mind the whole presentation and have handles for questions to ask.
  • I had acknowledged co-workers and helpful people at the beginning: kind of this work comes into existence thanks to institutions and people.

Perhaps also others see a benefit in doing so.

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    Yes, I agree with getting rid of "Thank you" slides in the first place. These slides have two benefits: Thanking the audience, and signalling that the talk is over. If you compare this to the benefits of using a conclusion as the last slide (also signalling the talk is over, summarizing the take-home message, providing talking points for the discussion), a "Conclusion" slide beats a "Thank you" slide by far. – Schmuddi Jun 8 at 8:19
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    @Schmuddi Yes, it felt a bit strange to me that you give a fully-fledged talk to propose certain conclusions, in the end only to hide such conclusions all too quickly. – XavierStuvw Jun 8 at 16:49
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    Por que no los dos? I agree that a “conclusions” slide is a very useful thing to end on, but I share the OP’s wish to put the thanks-to-the-audience in visual form as well as verbal. So I often include “Thank you!” on my conclusions slide, set centred below the main summary of conclusions. – PLL Jun 10 at 19:08
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Do not include 7 slides of references, that is absolutely no-go. A usual way to show references is at the bottom of the slide they reference (it is easier to find and match with the referenced content anyway).
I personally do not like 'Thank you' slide to the audience, I would thank the audience after I said a few words on the Acknowledgements slide.

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    Yes, I much prefer having "thank you" appear at the end of the last slide rather than being a slide on its own, particularly if there is something on the last slide which may be relevant to questions. – Especially Lime Jun 8 at 7:53
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There is no real reason to add a thank you slide. You can simply thank the audience yourself and use something much better instead.

The most useful thing you can have as the last slide of a presentation is a summary of results or important points, preferably in the form of bullets.

I do not show or use reference slides in my presentations but add one at the end without putting it on the screen, just in case someone asks for it. 7 (seven!) slides is unheard of. The citations in the presentation are enough, since most people remember papers by names and date rather than titles.

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    This: typically, the speaker leaves the last slide of the talk open during the questions section. A "conclusions" slide is often a better stopping point to foster the discussion, because it keeps the key ideas right there in front of the audience. I've switched to a brief "acknowledgments" slide at the start of the talk, and removed "thank you audience" or "now taking questions" as standalone slides. (I still say these things verbally, but the actual slide is superfluous) – abought Jun 8 at 17:34
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Presentation is a show. Presentation shall be catchy. Presentations are there to sell the presenter's products. Presentations are fluent, one-way only. From the ouverture to the grand finale.

In academia you are selling your results, your department, your research. The show here is not fancy, full of fireworks and othe ballast, but it is still a show.

Long lists of anything is a show killer, references doubly so. You want the audience's attention and curiosity first, then you can comunicate your results. You can back your claims thoroughly later; on stage you want to talk about your contribution, not the others'.

If you need to show references and citations, do it at the time you talk about it. No one cares for referencing idea two minutes ago. A footnote is appropriate. You don't mention it in your speech but they who will read your slides later will fing the reference in eyblink; if you would be asked, you can show both your claim and the reference in Q&A minutes.

Another trick is to have couple of uncounted slides with extras. Bigger graphs, detailed images, claims and references - just in case. You can build your presentation in beamer, build your supporting appendix and merge the pdfs. I think you can trick the LaTeX/beamer by using \label{TheLastpage} and \thepage/\pageref{TheLastPage}.


Sidenote: I think this is your first presentation. Try the presentation many times. Try to present it to your friends/colleagues even pets or a rubber duck.
Make yourself comfortable, find the structure, language and pace you are comfortable with (and fit within the time limit).

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My group tends to work from a set of common templates that have "Thank You/Any Questions?" slides at the end by default. The same thing ends up happening in almost every presentation: someone asks a question and the presenter rewinds to a previous slide in order to answer it. The "Thank You" slide is only visible for as long as it takes to ask the first question, then never seen again. It contains the same amount of relevant information as the black "End of Presentation" screen that PowerPoint displays after the last slide (that is, zero). For those reasons, it really serves no purpose.

Some of the better presentations I've seen will anticipate the sort of questions that might be asked based on the audience and their background. The presenter builds a final "Summary" slide that includes some graphs, photos, key statistics, formulas, etc. and is able to use the content of that slide to answer many of the questions.

Another technique is often used for presentations that are being video-recorded and archived. Instead of a "Thank You" type slide, the video feed simply switches away from the slideshow and cuts back to the video camera that's pointing at the presenter. This has the added benefit of helping focus the viewer's attention back on the presenter, which is where it typically should be during a question-and-answer session.

To specifically answer your question: yes, it's perfectly OK to keep a "Thank You" slide in the presentation. It may not be your best option for an ending, however.

Side note: Most slideshow software has the ability to place "extra" slides beyond the end of the slideshow. They will not be shown when progressing through the presentation normally, but the presenter can manually navigate to these slides and they can be seen when not in presentation mode. This is usually where presenters add extra content that will be of interest to some of your listeners but is too detailed to go over during the presentation itself. A "References" section falls into this category.

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    Early in my career in a talk coaching they told me a very important point against the final "thank you" slide. The last slide should be a conclusions slide, because this slide stays on for the whole duration of questions. That's a lot of time. Hence you'd rather have a summary of your research on that something less meaningful. – Oleg Lobachev Jun 10 at 17:31
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While most other comments say including 7 slides of references is a terrible idea, I don't think it's nearly as bad if handled properly. It's a very bad idea to try to discuss these slides in any sort of detail, that much is true. But if you just quickly flip through them - giving the audience enough time to skim but not to read - there is not much of a down-side. Better still would be to not actually go through these slides during the talk, just leave them there for the benefit of anyone who asks you to share the slides, or so that you can more easily answer questions about references during the Q&A.

In any case when I think using the many reference slides is appropriate, I think it's absolutely fine (and even preferred) to include the "Thank You!" slide before them.

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  • Flipping through them at moderate speed might be distracting--I'd probably zone out pretty quickly. Unless it's just a rhetorical flourish ("Look how much work has been done on this topic!"), I'd not do that. OTOH, having them in reserve for questions is a great idea. – Matt Jun 9 at 18:13
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I would recommend adding a "Thank you for your attentention. Are there questions?" slide before the references.

Most people will not want to see seven slides of references. But most people would not read one, either.
Keep the references slides, so you can show a reference when somebody asks for a reference that were mentioned in your slides, but do not force the audience to read slides that are too full of text to memorize them or take notes in a short time anyway. In addition, the references are very useful when you give out the slides as handout or put them online after the talk and they just belong to a scientific talk, even when you only show them when needed.

In addition I would suggest citing important sources on the slides where you mention them like

"As shown by Miller et al. 2016 [7], we can use ..."

This allows the audience to take a note, so they can ask you to show the references slide so they can take a note what paper [7] is, when they are really interested. Otherwise they will at least remember "Miller et al. 2016" and have a chance to find the paper themself.

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When I create a presentation in which I anticipate that there will be a lot of questions, I put a blank slide in at the end (to indicate I'm done). But, in addition to the slides in the presentation, I create slides that address the questions and discussion that I hope will follow my presentation.

I can remember one presentation where I was told that I was limited to 5 slides and 10-15 minutes (it was not academic, it was a presentation to senior decision makers at a company). I presented my 5 slides, and the questions started. I ended up using most (not quite all) of my additional 43 slides, and the questions went on for more than a half hour. The more you prepare, the more you can impress your audience.

Oh,... Skip the references slides. You can leave them in the deck (in case someone asks), but don't show them.

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I am preparing a presentation in LaTeX and got at least seven pages for references only.

I suppose you use beamer and/or advi to show your presentation. You would use bibtex for references.

If it is a formal presentation (think of some PhD defense, or some CS conference) and if you intend to publish that presentation (at least as a PDF file, perhaps as a *.tex one) on some web site, then providing seven pages (with hyperlinks) of references is definitely worthwhile, and is a material for questions.

If you don't intend to publish your presentation (or if that presentation is informal) seven pages of references is really too much.

These slides are a recent example. Many references (but inside the slides, not at end) given as hyperlinks.

Some conferences are requiring a particular and given beamer style.

Most important for an important formal presentation (such as a PhD defense): repeat that presentation several times. Like every movie or theater actor do.

You won't have time to talk about 7 pages of references.

You may keep them to prepare for questions.

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I would make a references page with a QR code on it leading to a google docs file / website... with the references on it. Leave this page 30 sec in the presentation and then go on with your thank you page.

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  • If he took this approach, I'd put the QR code (and a full text link) on the thank you slide, rather than having both a thank you slide and a reference slide. – Brian Jun 12 at 13:53

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