I always find it sympathetic to use a tiny joke at the beginning. Not like "one man walks into a bar" joke, but rather modifying a famous quote to match your area of interest kind of joke.
I remember a thesis presentation about localization. After the first slide, he put:
"Money, money, money" - Napoleon Bonaparte
"Location, location, location" - Mike (made up the name)
There are several benefits of doing this, the major one being able to ease up the introduction talk. Better than just saying "Hello my name is Mike, and I am going to talk about localization today".
I also used the very same trick in my master's thesis presentation.
One of my former colleagues was dealing with natural language processing and begun his conference presentation by pronouncing his surname (which was very hard for non-native Turkish speakers).
In your case, I would suggest forgetting about the elitists and give your talk to people who are really interested in your topic.
There are and will be people around to criticize whatever you do/say. Criticize your work, etc. Key is to remember that they are all human beings.
As Bill Cosby said,
I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to
An extension regarding @vonbrand's comment:
It is extremely true that the audience is usually bored during talks. Main reason for that is the fourth wall. A tiny joke (by joke, I don't mean to tell a hoke, but a little bit sense of humor) would help you to break the fourth wall. As a listener, I lose my interest on the topic when the talker
talks like he/she memorized the talk, with a robotic voice.
If you slip one or two daily-life sentences into your talk, the fourth wall can be easily broken. Something like
Now, let us take a look at the experiments. We expected that our
algorithm has 100% success with random data. But of course, reality is
different than the expectations.
would do no harm at all. Puts a smile to the face of most listeners, and regains their concentration. Then, coming back to the topic with a sentence like
Even though the algorithm is not perfect, I believe we did quite well considering this graph
keeps you away from being too much informal.
Due to my experiences as both listener and talker, this is the way to make - maybe not great - but above-the-average impression on the audience.