Talk Guidelines

Talk Guidelines

Last updated: Septebmer 29, 2008
These are general rules for giving talks composed primarily by Stephen Mann and Rick Kazman but with input from a variety of sources. The rules are broken up into four sections:
  1. Designing the talk
  2. Designing the slides
  3. The presentation
  4. Jokes
Note that all "rules" are guide lines. However, if you break one, you should have a good reason, and even then it is better to get a second opinion.

Some other talk guidelines pages include:


The following talk structure is taken from a set of guidelines written by
Farhad Mavaddat.

Here is a typical, concept-based, presentation format:



4. Jokes

I pulled these off of rec.humor. Your goal is to not have any of these be said about you.
From: (Nancy Carson)
Newsgroups: rec.humor
Subject: SPEAKER
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 00:16:00 GMT

       -Recently our speaker had to discontinue several of his long
        talks on account of his throat.   Several people threatened
        to cut it.

       -You have heard it said before that this speaker needs no
        introduction.   Well, I have heard him and he needs all the
        introduction he can get.

       -You haven't heard nothing until you've heard our speaker of the
        evening.  Then you've heard nothing.

       -Our speaker needs no introduction.   What he needs is a

       -Our speaker will not bore you with a long speech...he can do it
        with a short one.

       -At the place our speaker last spoke, he drew a line three blocks
        long.   But then the police took his chalk away.

       -You've been a wonderful stayed.

From: "Coby&John" 
Newsgroups: rec.humor
Subject: A long speech......................
Date: Tue Sep 07 20:01:00 EDT 1999

 A man is giving a speech at his lodge meeting.
 He gets a bit carried away and talks for two hours.
 Finally, he realizes what he is doing and says;
 "I'm sorry I talked so long. I left my watch at home."
 A voice from the back of the room says, "There's a calendar behind you."

Stephen Mann