Good Talk Structures

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In a technical/uni presentation, do the following:

  1. Starting: no jokes, only reiterate an empowerment promise
  2. Heuristics to employ: ask a question to the audience (not too easy or hard, 7sec), cycle the same idea again and again, verbally punctuate (third key idea, reiterate the outline), differentiate your idea (build a fence)
  3. Informing vs exposing ideas: use board for the former (empathetic mirroring: the audience feels as if they are writing), slides for the latter
  4. Use props for emphathetic mirroring (animations?)
  5. Slides: reduce reduce reduce the number of words and slides. Also, (a) don't read out, (b) remove titles and other header/footer/bullets, (c) use plenty of images since the goal is exposing ideas, (d) large fontsizes, (e) no laser pointing to avoid back of the head issue, (f) only one dense slide per talk.
  6. Informing ideas: exhibit passion in what you are doing. Teach how to think via storytelling.
  7. Persuading/exposing ideas: (a) situate your contributions in context, (b) practice practice practice, (c) show your vision (problem people care about and new in your approach) and what you have done (steps taken to solve the problem) in the first 5 minutes, (d) conclude by enumerating your contributions (tell a joke after it, salute the audience).
  8. Market your idea: (a) symbol for your work, (b) slogan, (c) surprise, (d) salient idea that sticks out (not necessarily important), (e) story.


Source: Patrick Winston, MIT, Jan 2018.