The Art of Presentation

2 minute read


My personal notes on presentation & meeting. Keep updating…

The following is a quick summary of Prof. Baochun Li’s talk The Art of Presentation.

The Art of Presentations


When most people cannot give good presentations, you can stand out and take advantage!


  1. You should be very excited about your work, be enthusiastic.
    1. Use hand gestures.
    2. Use maximum power in voice and a microphone.
    3. Avoid a tone that feels boring.

Three tips

  1. Keep it simple (KIS).
    1. Your audience needs to see the big picture. (This is something for the audience to remember).
    2. Answer two questions:
      1. What’s my point.
      2. Why does it matter.
    3. Design your take away message.
      1. Why? Presentation is like filling water into a plastic bottle (that only has a narrow neck) — don’t pour too much too quickly.
      2. If you want to go deeper, reduce your scope.
      3. If you want to cover more, be less technical.
  2. Work hard on the flow of ideas.
    1. Organize how to deliver the take away message.
  3. Practice your presentation.
    1. It is a performance show — every performance show needs rehearsal. The practice only makes your presentation better
      1. First in your mid.
      2. Then out loud to yourself.
      3. In front of a friendly audience (like a research group).
      4. Get feedback and improve your talk.


1 min of talk ⇒ 50 mins design.

Two tips about design

  1. You are the boss, not the slides. Your slides are your assistants.
    1. Most speakers include all the information they are going to talk about in the slides.
  2. Keep your slides simple.
    1. Have plenty of empty space.
    2. Don’t use bullets. If you have bullets, show them one at a time. (make your audience nervous)
    3. Use huge sans serif fonts.
    4. Use photos and graphics.
    5. Use builds and overlays.


  1. Open and close your talk well.
    1. Like chess, good opening is critical— it draws attention.
    2. The audience is most alert during the first several mininutes of your talk, use it wisely
    3. Straight to your message as soon as you open
    4. Closing is like gymnastics, never rush. Repeating take away messages.
  2. Control the pace very very well.
    1. Slow down — the one-way communication channel from you to the audience is lossy. If you speed up, everything will be lost. Warm up phases.
    2. Be on time — Know how much time you have left. You have to close right on time!
    3. Use a remote control with only the forward button. Never revisit past slides.
  3. Connect with the audience
    1. Talk to the audience.
    2. Make eye contact.
    3. Use gestures.
    4. Move away from the podium.