Chapter 27 Presentations

27.1 Introduction

Giving presentations–talks, lectures, keynotes–is something that every data scientist is going to be called upon to do. Giving effective presentations is a skill that can be learned.

27.2 Theory and methods

I always recommend two books when I get asked about this topic: Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen (Reynolds 2008) and Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology (Duarte 2008). There’s an ever-so-small amount of overlap between the two, just enough to reinforce the other.

The sub-title of Reynold’s book is “simple ideas on presentation design and delivery”, and that’s as succicnt a description as you could hope for. The associated website has further details, including this post on the website which has the following “10 tips for Improving Your Presentations Today” (actually 11 tips):

  1. Turn off the computer

  2. Put the audience first

  3. Have a solid structure

  4. Have a clear theme

  5. Remove the nonessential

  6. Hook ’em early

  7. Show a clear conflict

  8. Demonstrate a clear change

  9. Show or do the unexpected

  10. Make ’em feel

  11. Be authentic

Nancy Duarte’s book delves deeper into the technical elements of good presentations, from layout to the use of colour. These design elements support the structural ideas that Reynolds promotes; hand in hand, the two books cover the core requirements for making great presentations.


Melinda Seckington, 2017-07-29, The Art of Slide Design

Kieran Healy, 2018-03-24, Making Slides

Jessica Calarco, July 31, 2018-07-31, Conference Talks

general tips and pointers

27.2.1 R {xaringan}


CRAN: xaringan: Presentation Ninja

github: xaringan

wiki: xaringan wiki


Yihui Xie, J. J. Allaire, Garrett Grolemund (2018) R Markdown: The Definitive Guide (link to xaringan chapter (most recent update I’ve noted: 2018-06-02)

Yihui Xie, 2017-08-31, Incremental Slides with xaringan / remark.js

Yihui Xie, 2017-10-03, Help Me: xaringan / remark.js CSS Themes?

Daniel Anderson, 2018-06-02, (Contribute to Open Source with Pretty Slides)[]

Alison Presmanes Hill, 2017-12-18, R-Ladies presentation ninja

Alison Hill, 2019-01-16, Meet xaringan: Making slides in R Markdown – Presentation at RStudio Conference 2019

Nan-Hung Hsieh, TAMU Presentation Template

John R. Little, 2017-08-09, Compose Slides in R with Xaringan Slides

Steven V. Miller, 2018-02-03, Make Your Presentations Fun in Xaringan

xaringan tips and tricks

Advanced R Markdown training - from RStudio conference, 2019-01-15/16

CSS tips and tricks



Duarte, Nancy. 2008. Slide:Ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. O’Reilly.

Reynolds, Garr. 2008. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. New Riders.