Winter conference season
It’s that time of the year again! Every six months or so we have an influx of conferences and what not that happens pretty routinely in winter then again in the spring. Thanks to COVID still being a thing — get vaccinated people — we’re either going fully virtual, or since one of our events this year is smaller, we’re taking precautions to keep people socially distanced and masked (since it’s a hospital organized event, we’re all already vaccinated). Tomorrow is the first event of the season and I’m giving a short (five minute) presentation on the work I did for this particular group.
This was the experiment I did which I wasn’t a fan of, but did anyway. The results are… interesting? But I wish we would’ve done less and had a larger sample size. I feel like this experiment was less of a clear focus and more like an all you can eat buffet of experiments that we did and different paradigms. The data collection was difficult, the experimental procedure we used made the data analysis even harder, and in the end I feel like this should’ve just been my PhD work because it was a battle to get done. Instead we’re publishing a journal paper with our results and even though my hospital-PI was supposed to get me his revisions so I could submit prior to the conference, I’m still pretty happy with the outcome.
This talk will be the harder of the two talks I’m giving. Since I was the lead for the project and this is my final report, I’ll be trying to cram everything we did, who helped, what we found, and the implications all in five minutes. It’s not the “come visit my poster” talk that I was awarded a slot for next week. No, this is full on explaining the experiment in as much detail as I can in five minutes. Since I only get one shot at it, I want to make sure I do it right.
Since that’s the case, today I’ll be attempting to write a script. Not a script I’m going to be memorizing exactly, but a script that will help guide me as I talk about the work. More bullet points than script to make sure I hit all the talking points I need to hit before the end of the talk. There will be some time for questions afterwards, but not a lot (like 2 minutes) and I’ve done the analysis all on my own so I know the work inside and out. In fact, I’ve basically rewritten all the fancy software we used to do what I wanted it to do (here’s an example)(or here), so yeah I know the work. So that part I’m not worried about so much.
I don’t like writing scripts exactly, I think people tend to fumble them (or at least I know I do!) so I try to avoid writing verbatim what I want to say and that makes me feel like I’m speaking more naturally. I don’t feel so robotic in my speech and I think it comes across better. Of course, the last talk I gave for this group was awful, like really, really bad (here). It was mostly because I had no results and had to come up with some right away. It was not great, but in the end I lived through it so that has to count for something, right?
So there’s a little bit of pressure here to do something correctly for once. I’m excited for the chance to actually show off what I’ve managed to accomplish, but at the same time, I’m trying to avoid thinking about that previous attempt. Now that I think about it, we did have one other meeting since that time, but that one went slightly better (still not great). This one is the important update (the final update) so I really need to have this one nailed right.
So yeah, plan for the day is to work on my talking points, run through my presentation, and hopefully time myself to make sure it all goes well. The good news is this talk will be virtual so if I do horribly I can just hide myself in the comfort of my own home. I guess living through a pandemic has its benefits.
Short update, but an important one. Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.