How to improve your talks

There is one thing that can improve any talk.  From the most brilliant piece of oratory to the dullest seminar.  It is not even hard to achieve, and requires very little skill, just a little bit of attention.  Though having said all this I have to admit I am sometimes guilty of not following it.  The easiest way to improve your talks is to finish on time!  Even, I would say, if you have to finish mid-argument.  Though it would be better, of course, to keep an eye on the time and skip some things in the middle (when many people will have lost the flow) and then be able to finish strongly. Some “future directions” hand waving can often leave a good impression.  

This advice is good even if the talk is going well.  If you have captured people’s interest they will stay behind to ask questions, or ask at the pub, which is the only civilised place to go after a talk.  However there are two circumstance in which it becomes very important.  If you are speaking in a conference and some one is talking after you, or there have been many talks and people are tired, then a prompt finish spreads good will all round and some of that will attach to you.  The absolutely essential time to stop punctually, however, is when you have bored the audience.  It might be only one or two people who cannot see your brilliance but they will be experiencing the feeling that:

Hell is a boring maths talk that goes over time.

I wish I could remember where I first read or heard that!

I have not had any images for a few posts, so I should remedy that.  Here is a Klienian group for your viewing pleasure.  Also remember that the puzzle of explaining the image behind the logo is still open, with a prize of some wooden tiles!