- don't overuse equations
- don't use hand-written slides.
Don't overuse equations
If you need to present your work with lots of equations, then the problem is not on the tool you are using to do it (PowerPoint, Beamer, etc.), but on the presentation itself.
Take time to think about the presentation first. Specifically, think on:
- What message do you want your audience to take home?
- What message you want to convey on each slide?
Unless you are deriving a simple result as E=mc^2 on a slide, on which the derivation itself is beautiful and is thus part of the message, there is only one reason to have a slide full of equations: when you want to convey that your result was non-trivial to derive and that this slide is not supposed to be understood by anyone in the audience.
This is because no audience will follow the technical details of a derivation anyway, except probably for 1 or 2 specialists. If your presentation is good enough, those specialists will read your paper anyway and will be able to follow the derivation on their own pace, along with all the technical details.
Equations are extremely useful because they summarise an extraordinary amount of information, but because of that, they are also difficult to read, understand, and digest. They are like pictures...
My advice is: do not trow equations to the slides just because they are part of a demonstration or something. Put an equation on a slide using the same reasoning you put a graph: only if it is really worth to fully explain it.
Instead, use words to describe how you got there ("using the approximation X, the assumption Y and Z, we can derive [show equation]"). If you believe that someone may ask for more details, just add an extra slide in the end with the full derivation, or just say (the technical details can be found in Ref. ).
Don't use hand-written slides
Here are some reasons:
- Difficult to maintain: if you need to re-use a slide in a future presentation, you will suffer; If you try to change then in a hurry (e.g. during your flight), you will suffer;
- Difficult to read: hand-writing is always more difficult to read than computer font like Helvetica, Arial or Times.
- Difficult to format: unless you use topographic tools, hand-writing slides will have elements mis-aligned and improperly formatted.
- Difficult to maintain consistency: PowerPoint, Beamer or Keynote allow you to write slides with a consistent structure (e.g. the master slide). Hand-writing slides most likely will not be consistent.
All of these distract the audience thus hindering your ability to convey the message.