All good conference attendances balance an academic program with a social program. My presentation was on Day 1 of the conference, so I spent the morning making last-minute edits and ironing. I went, talked, then relaxed watching other presentations. After the conference I caught the complementary (you look nice today) shuttle to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, where Dan met me, I exchanged my printed ticket for a card (with Goofy) and I joyfully wandered about the theme park with Dan, Julian, Dave & Antony & Josh & Josh’s surrogate, until after Tinkerbell jumped off Cinderella’s castle and a fireworks display exploded. We all had sore feet when we went to bed on Sat night.
I was the only male of 7 presenters, so was reassured that my decision not to wear a tie (it was so humid and warm in Florida, compared to Canada I couldn’t bear to walk between my cheaper hotel and the more expensive conference hotel with long pants, a shirt and a tie) and having completed forgotten to shave all week (I only shave about once a week, and hadn’t looked in a mirror for days) didn’t hamper my appearance too much. I was scheduled to talk for 6 minutes, with 2 minutes question time but I talked for 7 minutes (I set a timer on my phone) and the moderators didn’t cut off the questions, which lasted an eternity (in my mind) but probably only went for an extra minute.
I turn into a deer-in-headlights when having to give a professional presentation; it’s completely different to dancing on stage, where you are comforted by rehearsal and all that is expected is to repeat what you’ve practiced over and over. When other doctors inevitably ask questions there are multiple things that can go wrong: you can misinterpret the question, and answer a different question; you might not know the answer to the question, the intended or perceived or both; you might accidentally say something stupid. In my mind all of these things happened. Thankfully I my Powerpoint didn’t skip through all the slides each time I advanced slide (poor Speaker #4).
It’s not just for kids. But there were a lot of them.