Jason Starr, in comments, makes the excellent point that listing good things to do in talks helps society more than listing bad things. Here’s his list:
- Tell a joke.
- Answer good questions from the audience.
- Give a simple example before giving a difficult one.
- Explain some history.
- Explain why some famous problem is hard.
- Break the chalk so it doesn’t squeak.
- Repeat a soft-spoken audience member’s question / remark so everybody hears it.
Good stuff! In the same spirit, here’s a tip sheet I wrote I few years ago for grad students giving talks at the Graduate Student Conference in Number Theory. The first tip on the list is “Tell a story.” and I stand by that placement.
Contribute your own must-do’s in comments!