Guidelines for Giving a Truly Terrible Talk!
-adapted from the American Geophysical Union



Use tons of slides, at least one every 10 seconds.  This will prevent you from developing ideas and cause your audience to lose track of what you are trying to say.

Insert lots of information on each slide, fill it up.  Good examples are graphs with a dozen or so crossing lines, tables with at least 100 entries, and maps with 20 or 30 different kinds of features.  Equations with at least 15 terms and 20 variables are good, too. Research has shown that high density of detailed and marginally relevant data usually preempts penetrating questions from the audience.  There is no way they can keep up with you.

Definitely use small print.  Anyone who doesn't sit in the first row doesn't deserve your presentation.  A good way to insure suitably small print is to stand a good distance from your computer screen.  If you can't read it, neither can they!

If using figures or tables from other publications don't bother to scan them well, clean them up, or download them in sufficient resolution.  

One excellent use of Power Point, which this software really lends itself,  is organized lists, outlines, and bulleted points.  Use lots, preferably slide after slide after slide.  And read each line no matter how clear it is to the audience or how marginal to your point.

Finally, don't forget those animations.  They're cute, annoying, and easy to use.  Few things are better to distract the audience from the purpose of your slide than lots of animations. GO FOR IT!



First and foremost, don't organize your talk in advance.  Wing it. 

Never, ever, rehearse, even briefly.  Somebody might hear you.  Let the audience assemble your thoughts, it will give them something to do.

Discuss each slide in complete detail, especially those parts irrelevant to the main points you are trying to make.  Reading each line of text exactly as written will show that not only you haven't rehearsed, but your unfamiliarity with the subject.  By going into detail the audience will quickly forget why you are showing the slide.

Face the projection screen and pretend the audience isn't there.  Speaking softly helps too.  Don't modulate your voice, it will help disguise the important points.

If you have a laser pointer, do not point it steadily or slowly draw a line under the feature on the slide.  The audience will follow WAY to easily.  Wave it around, pretend you are painting quickly.  It will make the people in the first row sick and confuse the rest.

And don't forget, use up your allotted time and some of the next speaker's.   Your material is most important anyway, and you don't need to make friends.