*Chicago’s nickname, “The Windy City,” may actually refer to the “windy” politics, The World’s Fair, the city’s rivalry with Cincinnati, or the actual weather here. Apparently, according to The Weather Channel, Chicago doesn’t even make the cut for top 10 windiest cities in the US!
I had planned to write about glial cells and my first poster session exposure, but a more pressing issue consumed my thoughts. I’ll write about those and today’s events in tomorrow’s blog.
For now, let’s get to it. Be sure to comment below. Express your thoughts!
Your Protein Acronyms and Figures Look Nothing More than Ambiguous Letters and Pac-Man Shapes To Us
Time to be blunt and practical.
Each person you see wearing a badge at this meeting (approximately 30,000 attendees this year) dropped a considerable amount of money to teach, learn, and feel fascinated…in person. Let’s be generous and assume, on average, each person will have spent $1,000 dollars by the end of this meeting. That’s 30 million dollars for neuroscience enthusiasts to get personal and impactful face-to-face interaction. As a speaker, presenter, and attendee, keep the following in mind:
Give the people you’re talking to something they can’t get from a Google search, black ink on a paper, or even a phone call. Give them personality, visual inspiration, expression, voice inflection, etc. Appeal to our senses. To that moment we all wish we could summon at anytime—that moment where our brain lights up, we see clarity, and understand the depths of a subject matter. Help us get there. Reading 10 point font on a blank white screen with little background knowledge, without a story for us to follow hurts us as an audience. Yes, we’ll swallow the cold large pill of barely unrecognizable terms, abbreviations, and acronyms and figures. Just know that your talk and research won’t swirl around in our thoughts very long after the presentation is over —at least not in a positive light.
Yes, perhaps it’s necessary to give us the straight facts, to give the necessary science detail of the research and experiment. But that might seem more appropriate in smaller settings (posters, nanosymposiums, etc.). When you receive Hall B1, a room with 10 jumbo screens and thousands of seats, your main objective is to spark fascination by clearly outlining your research. Tell a story. Give us something we can relate to. Something to hold! Otherwise, I’m grasping at thin, monotonous, air. You lose me. And in losing the audience, you lose purpose. You fail. You get closed eyes and necks snapping forward or backwards from us (whichever makes our slumber the most comfortable).
I won’t name the lecturers and speakers responsible for this post. But I know I’m not alone in my thoughts. And few people speak publically about it. Perhaps this blog post might knock the first domino over. It’s something we need to include in large conversations. It inhibits our quest to advance knowledge and science. What good are your findings if we don’t understand it, and to take it further, if it doesn’t inspire?
If this blog post makes it seem like I had a dreadful Day 2, please don’t let it. I had a wonderful Day 2 filled with great speakers and stimulating talks and conversations. Those accounts will be written about tomorrow. I’m excited for Day 3! Now I’m off to support my lab’s poster presentations about astrocyte-neuron interactions! Be sure to check them out today from 8am-12pm! Boards B56-B57 in Hall A!
Thanks for reading!
I wanna hear from you! Do you feel the same? What are your thoughts? Comment below!