Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ A Long Guide to Giving a Short Academic Talk

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I've given tons of talks, some of them short, and while I see the appeal in this approach ('giving a talk is like selling yourself') and while there is some truth in it, I think the overall approach is misguided. Forget about selling; it's more like entertaining than selling. For one thing, I think readers should ignore the 'anatomy of a short talk' offered in this paper. That's a recipe for a snooze-fest. No, the main rule is this: start with the demo. In other words, show something right off the top. Present the main idea right away. Go straight to the most interesting thing. Take any questions the audience may have. Only then do you explain what you were up to: what problem you were trying to solve, maybe, or what theory you think this shows.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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Last Updated: Jul 23, 2024 10:45 a.m.

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