I have been asked to give a talk by one of my undergraduate professors. The talk shall be based on the research work I did over the summer. Since this'll be my first shot at giving a talk (as an undergraduate), I'm a bit nervous. Suggestions on how to generally go about talks?

Also, I have to make a presentation for the talk. Most of the work I did is in the form of Mathematica notebooks/LaTex drafts. Is there an efficient way to incorporate them into slides?

Also, I'm wondering how to get my hands on the slides of design as shown in: http://www4.stat.ncsu.edu/~reich/st810A/oral.pdf. I have seen professors present there lectures on such slides. How can I access this template?

1 Answer 1


The slides you linked to are using the Beamer LaTeX class, specifically that looks like the Copenhagen theme without a table of contents. Beamer makes beautiful slide shows that will take you at least three times longer to make than Power Point, more if you're including images or other formatting beyond bullet points and text, or have never used it.

Personally I tend to use it for everything and then complain about how much less time I could have spent on it if I had used PowerPoint. Pick what works for you.

My general advice when it comes to mathematical formulas in slide presentations is to exclude everything possible. I find even when I am familiar with the research, it's very hard to parse a formula on the fly, while it's up on a projector for 60 seconds. Obviously if it's crucial then your audience will just have to cope, but always try to use narrative or images or other easy-to-consume-on-the-fly formats to make your point where possible. If the audience is interested then they'll get your paper and study it to understand all the equations.

The other important universal rule to presenting like this is that you will take up way more time than you expected. Practice is good, but regardless, lean toward less material and slower, more detailed discussion of it than trying to cram in tons. Remember that you don't have to make every point of your research in one presentation. Present enough to convey the broad idea to everyone, and convince those so inclined to read your paper where they'll learn the rest.

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    Interesting, my presentations often end up running too short! I think this is because I talk quickly when I'm nervous. However, as Jeff says, practice will help you to work out the timing of the presentation (regardless of if you're quick or slow) and which material to emphasise or discard. Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 18:37
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    @NatalieHogg In my experience that's very unusual, but you're right, I should have been less unequivocal in my statement! Most non-professional presenters talk very fast and still go way over.
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 14:33
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    Also, you can simulate the talk 3-5 times at home, speaking loud without interruption. It worked for me, and this also helps you to see how much time you should stay at different slides. Concerning the slides, Jeff L. is right, latex presentations are time consuming, you can use Microsoft Power Point or other free alternatives.
    – Nikey Mike
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 15:07
  • @MikeyMike How much time should a LaTeX presentation take to make if I already have the material (equations, graphs, text) as part of a PDF document drafted on TeX? Is it bound to \emph{significantly} cut down the time to make the slide? Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 15:26

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