Orator Project
Effective Speaking

Presentations That Work

Presenters want their audiences to listen and take away the main message of the presentation. Furthermore, presenters want the talk to be so interesting that audience members will download related papers, buy a book or invite the presenter to speak in another venue. A good presentation delivers the important message, is somewhat entertaining (but entertainment is not a substitute for solid technical content) and leaves the audience wanting more. Therefore good technical speaking skills are important for your career.

Fact: It is not too strong a statement to say that good presentation skills will open up a wide range of career opportunities (whether you take them or not is your choice). You will probably appreciate these opportunities when you have been doing the same job for five years and want to try something new.


Here is a few resource for developing a good presentation:

One of my talk:

Next Generation Applications: Using a Productivity Focus, Michael A. Heroux
2015 OLCF Users Meeting: Reaching for the Summit Together

Exercises: Prepare and give a 3-minute technical presentation on a topic of your choice.

  1. Pick a technical area (other than your semester project topic) that you know well.
    Examples: Strategies for playing your favorite computer game; how to debug a Java program; how to develop a software product; how to knit a sweater.
  2. Develop a 3 to 4 slide presentation on the topic.
  3. Deliver the presentation during class twice:
    • First: A full presentation, receiving guidance for improvement.
    • Second: Selected portions with suggested improvements.