How to present a research paper

Table of Contents

Note from Simon Peter's Data Center class.

Why is talking research useful?

  • order your thoughts.
  • communication to other researchers.
  • gather feedback.
  • establish relationships.
  • build a career (eventually).

What makes a good research talk?

  • centered around the audience.
  • provide intuition.
  • make audience want to read the paper.
  • should not
    • present every detail.
    • show off how smart you are.

Anatomy of a talk

  • motivation (20%)
  • key ideas (70%-80%)
  • evaluation (0-10%)
    • Do not present results without an explanation.

Beginning of your talk

  • Two minutes before audience coming in.
    • use them!
    • present an abstract of your talk
      • problem/motivation
      • approach/idea
      • experiments/results
      • broader meaning/impact
    • Answer these questions in mind:
      • what is the problem?
      • why is this talk interesting, why should I listen?

Communicating the key idea

  • pick a goal for your talk (like how you organize your paper).
    • have the keyword in your head
    • organize the whole talk around these points.
    • no more than three (better: one).
    • be very explicit.
    • repeat and repeat and repeat
  • Do NOT be shallow, be deep
    • avoid overviews
    • do not ramble
    • go to meat quickly


  • Example is the main weapon in a presentation.
  • Make your own examples and avoid the papers' examples.
  • Have motivating example at the beginning.
  • Illustrate the idea in action.
  • Images say more than 1000 words. (should be 16x16 words, XD)

What to omit

  • Do not present outlines, it's a waste of time.
  • Do not present excessive related work.
    • but mention it, or have backup slides.
  • Do not present too many technicalities.
    • Audience won't follow anyway.
    • Put details in backup slides in case someones asks.
  • Do not exaggerate with animations.
    • Animations are good but hard to follow.
  • Do not clutter your slides with graphics.

How to present

  • Be self-confident.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Watch audience.
  • Finish on time.


  • standard staff
    • avoid errors
    • face the audience
    • make jokes but only related ones.
    • check your laptop and avoid wasting time.
  • Practice
    • At least three times before you present it publicly.
  • Add a summary page at the end. (Simon's feedback on my presentation on Sip-ML).

Author: Zihao Ye

Email: git@localhost


Last modified: 2022-12-27 Tue 07:18

Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0