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How To Give a Good Talk

- February 8, 2008

bq. 1. Don’t start with a joke. The audience is not accustomed to you or your speaking style yet. Humor will be difficult at this point.
2. Do start with a menu. Tell them exactly what you’ll be speaking about and in what order.
3. Do provide an empowerment promise. Explain why your audience will come away from the talk better than when they entered.

That is some of the advice from Patrick Henry Winston of MIT. Much more is here. Should graduate students be required to give a successful talk as a condition of their Ph.D.? I’d say yes. (Not that faculty wouldn’t also benefit — and perhaps benefit more — from Winston’s advice.)

[Hat tip to Ben Casnocha, via Marginal Revolution.]