How to Give a Better Physics TalkListed below, in no particular order, are the most important rules for giving a good talk at a professional physics meeting:
- Carefully check each viewgraph for spelly misteaks.
- DO NOT OVERUSE BOLD TO MAKE A POINT!
- Absolutely no alcohol during the talk (this applies to the speaker only).
- No singing or dancing... most of the time.
- Answer all questions, even if you have to make up the answer.
- Do not raise or lower your voice suddenly. This could disturb those resting in the audience.
- Make use of the accuracy/clarity duality. It is very easy to be both inaccurate and unclear at the same time.
- No salacious physics jokes about two physicists and a religious person.
- Make sure the viewgraphs are ordered correctly.
- Prior to the talk, practice the art of ducking any flying vegetables.
- Don't let boo's or hisses cause you to stray from your prepared talk.
- Hand gestures to emphasize particular points can be used extensively, provided they do not insult any particular ethnic group.
- Under no circumstances should you delete any overheads from your talk. Simply speak more rapidly and quickly flash all of the viewgraphs. [The world record for an APS meeting is 56 viewgraphs, 12 with substantial equations, given in only 10 minutes, at a spoken rate of 430 words per minute.]
- Be sure to include this phrase on each overhead: "This talk could not possibly be supported by the U.S. Government, Industry, or any Educational Institution."
- There is no need for a concluding overhead if you think you have said everything.
- In the end, there are no rules.