This is a summary of my blog post. It will begin with an introduction. After this, I will present the meat of it. I will then surprise you by discussing this. Finally, guess what, I will end with a pithy conclusion.
Ok - so you think I'm overdoing it. But this is exactly how summary slides in presentations now appear to me. Once I thought they were essential; now I think they take away from the presentation.
Think about it. The audience is sitting there all ready to hear about the work you're doing; they are at their most alert and ready to engage with your topic and try to understand your results. And what do you do? You show them a slide that sends them to sleep. Either it's that pro forma slide that we've all seen before, or you can't resist talking through every single aspect of the entire talk so that there's nothing to look forward to; no-one wants to hear the same talk twice.
Perhaps there's an argument to be made for a summary slide for longer talks, especially if it's the last 30 years of some professor's work and it's going to be rambling about a bit so a bit of steering could be useful. However (thankfully) the majority of talks these days are of the 25-30 minute variety and that time spent on a zero-information-content summary slide may translate into cramming the last five slides of results into 30 seconds.
Anyhoo, this is on my mind at the moment as I'm putting together a talk for the GCC in Fulda in a few weeks time. Thing is, I'm one slide short at the moment. Hmmmm...