197 votes
Accepted

Stating surprise about another researcher in my talk

Talk about the work. Stick to the facts. Clearly and bluntly stating the limitations of a result is fine, but criticism of a researcher during a research talk is completely inappropriate. Your ...
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  • 97k
183 votes

Why do most people think it's a bad idea to read from slides?

Research in the field of multimedia learning suggests that in most cases, "people learn more deeply from graphics and narration than from graphics, narration, and onscreen text". This is known as the ...
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  • 107k
158 votes

Can I force my professor to give me a copy of his powerpoint presentation?

You wrote: Students need the presentations to review Back when I was your age (of course I have no idea of your age but I am guessing you are a traditional undergraduate student), we had to take ...
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  • 23k
158 votes

Cannot present paper at conference. Instructor wants to move me to second author

Who presents a work should not affect its authorship. Authorship is determined by the contribution to the publication. That work is complete at the time when the publication is accepted and the ...
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  • 182k
132 votes
Accepted

Giving a career talk in my old university, how prominently should I tell students my salary?

I agree with you. I feel the request to put your salary on a slide (on the first slide, no less!) is rather unexpected, and quite frankly does not speak highly about the professionalism of your ...
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  • 127k
130 votes
Accepted

Using rage faces in presentation

TL;DR: If in doubt, leave it out. In talks, avoid anything that can offend or be misunderstood, especially if you do not know your audience. It is ok to make self-deprecating jokes, but you want to ...
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129 votes
Accepted

I have been accused of plagiarism for similarities between my presentation and a website that I used as a source and cited. What should I do?

I agree that this seems at most to be a borderline case on its face, and 10% is not an unusual percentage similarity for non-plagiarized work. However, there are some things counting against you: ...
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  • 70.1k
128 votes

Is it good to have slides that may be skipped during a presentation?

Put the slides that contain the proofs after the last slide and have links on the relevant slides so you can jump to the proof slide and back to the next one. That way no-one will know if you skip ...
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  • 27.9k
101 votes
Accepted

How should a non-native English presenter respond to a question they did not understand?

Yes, it is appropriate to ask the questioner to repeat the question, prefaced by: "I'm sorry but I didn't understand the question. Can you repeat it or rephrase it?" If you still don't understand ...
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  • 7,203
100 votes
Accepted

What is the best "last slide" in a thesis presentation?

The last slide will typically be seen for some minutes after you finished talking – until you jump to some other slide for addressing a question. This is something that you should use. If you ended ...
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  • 51.7k
93 votes
Accepted

The lecturer supposed to grade my presentation fell asleep while I held it. Should I complain?

The first thing to note here is that sleeping in such situations is often not a voluntary action, but a physiologically unavoidable response to the situation the body is in - many people die every ...
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  • 30.6k
92 votes
Accepted

How to structure presentation to avoid getting questions that will be answered later in the presentation?

I'm constantly being asked questions that will be answered later in the slides. You have to understand that this is a great problem to have. There is nothing worse than giving a presentation and ...
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  • 23.3k
88 votes
Accepted

How to deal with people looking at their mobile phone during my presentation?

My attitude to life is to spare my mental capacities to things I can affect and change. Yes, it is annoying to see people at a workshop not paying attention. No, there is nothing I can do in the ...
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87 votes
Accepted

Face-saving way of asking whether audience is familiar with specific topic

When I give talks in similar situations, I typically assume that at least some of the audience members will be unfamiliar with much of what I think of as basic. Your job is to "remind" them, without ...
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  • 14.2k
82 votes

Should I worry that a graduate student somewhere gave a talk using my abstract?

I think there are basically two cases here: The student is presenting or leading discussion on your work as part of a "journal club" sort of series, and the abstract is your abstract because they're ...
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  • 182k
80 votes

How to give a short math talk on a very broad topic?

First of all, let's be clear about what the purpose of this part of the course is. It is not to demonstrate that you have understood the material in the book – I imagine that your advisor already ...
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77 votes
Accepted

Signed up for a talk, not enough material

Twenty minutes is not long for a talk. Moreover, most students drastically overestimate how much material you can put in a short talk. Giving a short introduction to the field and how it came about ...
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  • 46.1k
76 votes
Accepted

Tongue slip problem in presentation even after a good amount of practice

Years ago, I transcribed raw film footage to earn a little extra money. These transcriptions had to be verbatim, with all the ums, ahs, stuttering, etc. included. It's surprisingly difficult to do a ...
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  • 11.5k
75 votes

How to deal with people looking at their mobile phone during my presentation?

I'll offer a dissenting point of view. I often use my mobile device (smartphone, laptop, whatever) during a talk - because I'm taking notes on it! I used to write my notes on paper, then transcribe ...
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73 votes
Accepted

How can I tell if I have simplified my talk too much?

I definitely hear where you are coming from. In my modest opinion, a good conference talk is not necessarily the one that lets me understand the technical contribution (I can read the paper for that),...
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  • 1,032
73 votes

As session chair, how to politely end someone's presentation/conversation if over time?

While this is unlikely to be a broadly useful answer, here goes. Story time: Some years ago I attended a focused conference/workshop held in a small town in Italy. The town had a lovely conference ...
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  • 11.8k
72 votes

What to do about questions that are designed to embarrass the speaker?

Firstly, I should note that the examples you give are certainly somewhat agressively formulated (more so than would be common in my field), but not in themselves invalid questions. It is certainly "...
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  • 127k
71 votes
Accepted

How to deal with presentation time running out in a scientific conference?

First, some conferences have really strict timing and you will be given no extra time. Second, if there is important slide or two, just do it. But make sure that you only slightly extend your time (e....
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  • 25.7k
71 votes

How to concentrate during conference talks where the quality of the presentation is poor?

When I attend talks where the quality of the presentation is poor, I like to use it as an opportunity to learn about what not to do in a presentation. I have an ongoing list of "things not to do in a ...
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  • 107k
71 votes

What is the best "last slide" in a thesis presentation?

Another alternative I have tried recently is putting thumbnails of all the previous slides on it: It's just a recent experiment, though; I don't have enough data to tell if it's the best last slide. ...
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71 votes

Is it okay to keep a "Thank you" slide before references?

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). ...
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  • 24.5k
69 votes

Can I force my professor to give me a copy of his powerpoint presentation?

@Patricia asks what happens if a student is not able to take notes and think at the same time. If the student has a disability that prevents note taking (say for example, they are blind or they broke ...
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  • 39.8k
69 votes

How to ignore a presenter's bad english?

So I'm a native English speaker, and I used to be kind of a snob about people whose spoken English was poor. I got over it. I remember the exact instant that I got over it, in fact. Here it is: I was ...
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  • 1,038
68 votes
Accepted

Is it acceptable to mark off or comment on someone's presentation based on their non-standard English accent?

There are two ways to interpret the issue that is being raised. One is that the people simply have accents and not completely correct grammar in spoken English... but not to the point that it ...
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  • 81.5k
67 votes

In teaching, what are the advantages of using slides over doing board work?

I am a student and I much prefer lecturers who write on the board than the ones who use slides. Profs using slides generally go into loop mode where they have the objective of going through all the ...
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