Speaking: 1 Kitten per Equation


Use a ratio of one cute cat photo per equation in your talk.

This is a concise way of saying that a ratio of one part heavy, technical content to one part light-hearted explanation is ideal.

You may have to play with the ratio depending on the audience or the expectations, but people react best when they have the chance to learn something fundamentally hard and interesting while, at the same time, getting to smile.

And yes, DO use photos of cute things in your talks! The hack here is that people naturally smile when they look at adorableness. If they are smiling in your talk they credit you for the positive feelings. It’s an easy way to boost people’s perceived enjoyment of your talk and to get your audience into the kind of mood where it’s easier to walk them through more complex, technical material.

2 Comments on “Speaking: 1 Kitten per Equation”

  1. Tim Weninger says:

    Stephen Hawking once wrote that readership drops by half for every equation in his books.

    The Weninger Corollary is that probability of peer review acceptance doubles for every equation presented.