If you are giving a scientific talk at a conference (e.g., one that lasts 10 minutes), do you really need an outline slide?
Do you really think the audience needs to know what the basic content of your scientific presentation is going to be? When I see one of these slides, I think to myself that I have 30-90 seconds to daydream some more before the talk starts. That’s not what you want to do to make a good first impression and get the audience enthused about your work.


Instead, motivate the talk, tell a story about why this is an interesting problem, or start off with a shocking fact that demands explanation. Do anything to keep the audience interested in you and not thinking about where they are going to go for lunch once the session is over. I like the beamer (LaTeX) `crumb-trail’, a few lines in the header of each slide indicating the overall structure and where we are in the current section. Sometimes I want context, or want to know if I should interrupt to ask a question or if it looks like we’ll be getting to my issue soon.


Schultz is a Professor of Synoptic Meteorology at the Centre for Atmospheric Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric, and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester.
Presently, he is Chief Editor for Monthly Weather Review, the longest-running meteorological journal in the world.




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