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By the end of this lesson, you will be able to create routing tables to navigate between any two vertices of a graph.

When presenting a result, keep in mind a few essential points. This article (non-exhaustive) gives some tips on how to make a successful presentation.

Clarity

It should always be kept in mind that an oral presentation is a communication exercise. The purpose of a presentation is to convey one or more messages. So you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is going to listen to the presentation and make sure that he or she has all the elements to understand the message. This means several things:

  • The presentation should not be overloaded with information (a few key figures, a well-chosen curve or a drawing are often much more synthetic and informative than a table of values).
  • In a short presentation, one slide per minute is a reasonable objective. If the presentation is longer, then it is better to rely on a slower pace.
  • The use of colors, boxes, bold texts are all good practices.
  • The texts to be read and abbreviations should be kept to a minimum. Slides are not intended to make the presentation for you, it is only a support.
  • The use of live videos or demos is often appreciated, as they break with the possible monotony of a presentation. However, it is necessary to have tested beforehand that everything works perfectly on the machine used to project your slides.
  • If you can, use the same example from the beginning to the end of your presentation to illustrate your results. This allows the audience to fully understand the different steps of your reasoning.
  • Be careful with the resolution of the projector! Curves that seem perfectly readable on your laptop screen may not be visible on the screen of the room on the day of the presentation because the lines were a little too thin. A tip: a few days before a presentation, test your slides directly in the room where you will be projecting them, and make sure that even the last row can read them.
  • Number your slides! It makes asking questions easier for the audience.
  • Keep a small overview of the outline visible somewhere on your slides, or at least a progress bar. This allows audience to constantly know in which section of the presentation we are.
  • If your results are based on research works, cite the associated publications at the bottom of the slides in which you mention them.

Background information

Never forget to present the context of your work correctly. Preparing a good presentation is always a difficult exercise because you have to motivate the audience to listen to you. So remember to highlight your objectives and their relevance.

Classically, a good strategy is to stimulate the audience by first having an informal presentation of the objectives, then to go into the technical details.

Message

Remember that from a presentation, an audience only retains a few essential ideas. You have worked hours on a program and you are proud of your work, but in five or ten minutes it is unlikely that you will be able to get everything you have done across to the audience.

So think well in advance about the aspects to be presented, and how to present them (typically, projecting your code on the screen is rarely a good idea). The choice of content to be presented depends mainly on two factors:

  • What is being asked: If the purpose of the presentation is to detail a strategy (for example), it is better to focus on presenting the choices and how the strategy works, rather than on the quality of the code factorization.
  • What you did: Of course, presenting as done a work not done or someone else’s work is generally (never, in fact) not a very good idea… The people listening to your presentation will ask you questions, and it is easy to detect plagiarism. On the other hand, comparing your solution to someone else’s, or suggesting improvements to your work is an excellent thing! You just have to give credit where credit is due.

In conclusion, keep in mind that the purpose of your presentations is not to show that you are working. Teachers will also be well aware of this. Focus on the important content you want to highlight.

Criticize your results and ask questions

In French, the word « critique » often has a negative connotation. In science, criticism and self-criticism are, on the contrary, essential working methods. It is important that you are able to take a step back on your results and those presented to you. For example:

  • Challenge the experimental protocol: For example, you wanted to show that your algorithm is fast but in the end the test cases you used were too simple and do not allow you to conclude.
  • Ask yourself about your working methods: Have you analyzed the problem enough before trying to find a solution? How much of your time was spent on implementation? Is that reasonable?
  • Project its results: You are engineering students. If your work had been done in a professional environment, what could you have said? Would your code be easily reusable? Does it use complex libraries? Which parts need to be improved?