Slip ‘n’ slides

Dear Students,
I’ve noticed a trend among grad students when preparing slides for their presentations that there is a tendency to spend lots of time making the slides pretty, but giving little thought to how well a slide conveys the content of the information it is supposed to convey. Cramming about 5 graphs into one third of the usable space in a slide (leaving the rest for superfluous “design” elements) not only makes the slide difficult to digest but also shrinks the figure’s text to an impossible-to-see size. Please get out of the habit of doing this if you want your professors and fellow students to stay awake during your talk and not be fantasizing about jumping out the window. If you are unsure whether your slides are up to snuff, I’d be happy to take a look at them a few days before your talk and give you some pointers.
-Cranky Prof. N

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5 Responses to Slip ‘n’ slides

  1. I think that some noobs feel that if you don’t show all the data you can’t make the full claim. Less is more, so show the best representative piece of data and you can summarize the rest to the audience. If they really want to see it, have it as a pocket slide at the end of your presentation or show it to them on your laptop after you are done.

  2. Gerty-Z says:

    that may be, GR. But I have also seen examples where folks use too much space for the weird background design on the slide.

  3. Lol. I’ve noticed the better presenters in our graduate seminar are the ones that have just a figure taking up the whole slide, and then TALK about it. No text. No background. Just the information you want to deliver.

    Then there’s noobs like me, who get freaked out and put in bullet points anyway, so people have something to read if I forget how to talk or something.

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