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Ineiti's lair

Presentation HOWTO

Twice a year we have students presentations. Here are some tips that will help you make a good impression and get a good grade. The most important part is to do a dry-run. If your supervisor doesn't ask you, you should ask him!


  • look at the audience (but not always at the same person), not at the screen
  • present yourself with your name, your section and bachelor/master/phd and the lab you worked with
  • don’t talk too fast, breathe, imagine yourself talking to the wall at the other side of the room to be loud enough
  • make your thoughts follow the slides - point to the slides, to the part you’re talking about
  • send your PDF of the presentation to the responsible _before_ the presentation


  • turn off all notifications on your computer
  • if you use an online service, be sure to have a backup PDF
  • remove screen-blanking and/or screen-locking


  • have a story to tell, a motivation
  • a simple solution is to have an overview with 5-7 bullets. you can repeat the overview every time you get to the next bullet
  • the most difficult part is to chose what _NOT_ to present - everything is important, but your time is limited. Chose wisely, throw away, simplify, lie (a little bit, anyway, and be ready to correct if you’re asked about it).

Slide content:

  • the first slide needs to have: title, your name, lab, Professor's name, supervisors’ names
  • don’t stop with a “thank you” slide, but with a “conclusion” slide that allows the audience to reconnect to the different parts of your presentation
  • get some images, figures, drawings in your presentation. Instead of having a slide with full-blown sentences, show a drawing or a figure with some annotation.

Slide layout:

  • put slide-numbers, so we can easily comment and tell you “go back to slide x”
  • all text to be read should be no smaller than 1/8th of the slide height, else it’s unreadable.


  • annotate the axes
  • decide if you want to have a bar (for showing multiple values per x-cordinate) or a simple line
  • write what they show on the slide
  • don’t hesitate during the presentation to point out parts of a figure


  • what are the parameters (network, CPU, nodes, ...)
  • what did you simplify?
  • how can you interpret the results?


  • prepare the demo
  • run it twice before the presentation
  • describe _before_ the demo what you will be showing
  • show the result of the demo on the screen, not on your smartphone!


  • formulas without explanation of what the variables are
  • jumping back and forth between slides
  • ignoring your spellchecker
Posted by Linus Gasser at 9:23