First prepare the central ideas, then extend with details

Suppose the material you want to talk about is contained in one or two papers. The wrong way to go about preparing your talk is to start reading these paper(s) from the beginning to the end and prepare corresponding parts of your talk as you read. This way you will probably fail to control the time you will need for your talk, and you will fail to emphasise the important points. Not to mention, you might end up presenting the components of your talk in the order they appear in the paper, which is not necessarily optimal.

A better, and quite simple, approach is the following. Start by asking yourself what you must absolutely say; what are the three things without which it wouldn't make sense to give the talk at all. Prepare a mini-talk containing this stuff only, and rehearse until you think that almost everybody hearing this talk would get the important ideas. Time this talk, and then expand with additional material depending on its duration and the available time.

See also: Balance the ingredients

A. Georgakopoulos: How to give a talk that is not too bad.

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