Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking

Written by OlivierNicole (Olivier Nicole)
Published: 2016-09-17 (last updated: 2016-09-18)

I want you to think of a research talk as a performance. Start with something unexpected/a joke to get your audience's attention in the first 2 minutes.

Talk to the audience, look them in the eyes. Ask them questions: "Who really, really loves testing?" It should be easy to answer and you should which answer you're expecting to get.

Don't waste time going into detail about the outline of your talk.

Explain too much rather than too little. Try to stay accessible to the least technical people in the room.

Please use an example to introduce a problem. But that's not enough! You must also show them why they should care about it. Turn a small technical matter in terms of life and death (example of a self-driving car).

Everything you put on a slide, you should want your audience to read it. Everything else is a distraction. Also, if you know a large part of the audience won't see the bottom part of the screen, don't put anything in it!

Many people use the slides as a teleprompter. Don't do that.

Use rather key figures in enourmous fonts rather than blocks of text with explanations.

You can use a script: what you want is bullet points in a large font to know where you are in the talk, and maybe one or two key phrases.

Having some catch phrases pre-planned is a good idea, especially if English is not your native language.