Odysseus (Online Dublin Computer Science Summer School) 2006

Research Talks: How to Write Them and How to Give Them

How many times have you attended a research talk in your department, at a workshop or conference, or in your company and just cringed, repeatedly glanced at your watch, or snuck out the back? How often has an audience reacted this way to you?

This talk was written to help you avoid these situations, both as an audience member and as a speaker. You can learn from the mistakes of others and yourself, bite the bullet, and give a great talk, but it takes dedication to a few simple rules which some find hard to swallow.

I have given this talk several times to different audiences with positive results. While this kind of talk is one of the most difficult and dangerous talks to give, I am very enthusiastic about helping improve the quality of all research talks. These rules of thumb are not just for new PhD students; even senior researchers might learn a thing or two!