fly_the_kitePhoto: eu 

In Istanbul (or is that Constantinople?) recently at the 22nd International Congress of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine.  An event with over 3000 delegates, I was coaching one of the keynote speakers who had flown in from Melbourne.  Professor Robyn Slattery was speaking on the subject which has made her one of the world’s leading authorities on Type-1 diabetes.  Her stylish, convincing and passionate presentations make her a sought after speaker and this is backed up by her being regularly voted ‘Best Lecturer’ by her students at Monash University in Australia.   

The Hilton Bosphorous has a world-class conference centre worthy of the Byzantine city and top-class physicians and medical researchers from around the globe.  However, presenting academic research to audiences has barely evolved since the Ottoman Empire despite the array of electronic wizardry available to even the least experienced speakers.  Today’s media tricks seem to have bypassed the world of medical conferences.  The same old format of ‘Give Them The Facts’ is trotted out with all the panache and enthusiasm of the dusty corridors of 19th century academia.   Clearly our world’s greatest clinical chemists still need some help to bring their presenting skills into the exciting world of passionate, convincing and highly visual public speaking.  

The backdrop of the ancient city of Constantinople provided an enticing vista.  Istanbul, since its renaming in the1920’s, shows an exciting face to Modern Turkey.  The population of city grows constantly with estimates of between 12 and 18 million inhabitants.  The labyrinthine streets bustle with young people surrounded by stunning architecture.  But, how would you attract their attention to the ground breaking medical findings being discussed indoors?

The Bosphorous marks the frontier of Europe with Asia and is the world’s narrowest straight for international navigation and acts a symbol of communication between two continents. Can our academics can learn to present their ideas with as much colour, dynamism and efficiency as this great river has represented thousands of years of exchange.

A smile, an anecdote and an attention grabbing photo is all you need to get started. 

Academics!  Could do better! 


From the EPWN

From the European Professional Women's Network website:


Perfect Pitch: End of October we had Maryna Blankenstein from “Winfluence” facilitate a session called “Perfect Pitch” at Aix la Duranne. Why should we have a perfect pitch? It depends on what you are after, maybe you want the name of a useful contact/or a recommendation, a chance to tell more about your business, a meeting or an invitation, or just an occasion to pass on your business card. The first 45 seconds that you talk with a person counts! As I am sure you know, the first impression may be a “make or break” to whether they want to hear from you again.   Maryna taught us that our pitch should be memorable, generate enthusiasm and inspire a motivation to keep talking with us. Keep it short (45 seconds, which equals about 60-90 words) and this will give a taste of what the big picture really is like. We need to address the “5 W’” when talking with possible clients. They are; ·      WHO: How will they remember you? (Language, culture, experience, field) ·      WHAT: Describe your product or service and how it solves their problem. (Skill, know-how technology) ·      WHY: Unique Selling Point (USP) – why chose you among all the others? ·      WHIP IN: The goal (what you want, as described above) should be concrete, defined and realistic. ·      And last, but not least WIIFOM – What’s In It For Me?   All of the above - that needs to be well thought-through – counts for 10% of the impression you make! What’s the rest? The list is long, but could be body language, voice, energy level, enthusiasm, personality, dress, conviction, confidence, eye-contact, smile and posture.   Not only did we learn this from Maryna, we also had to practice – 6 times… As a group we experienced that it gets easier the more often you do it. Practice is key! And we named a winner, the person whom we most likely would all remember. What did she do differently than the others? Her main focus was on WIIFOM – what’s in it for me – or rather; how does the client benefit from doing business with us? She also radiated of enthusiasm and love for her profession.   Around the table of hors d’oeuvres, we discussed the challenges of networking in the Marseille-Provence region. It’s not always easy to find an occasion to give your business card. The main advice was to listen attentively and find a “natural” connection to give your card. It could be indirectly, maybe during a talk about a subject that interests the person, and you propose to send them additional information via email – you get their card, they may possibly ask for yours, or if not; the will get your details in your email signature; web page, telephone number, etc.



People preparing for presentations often say they are anxious about the Q & A session. I reassure them that by anticipating the questions we are already more prepared to tackle any difficults. Olivia Mitchell has 3 good pieces of advice:


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Remember to Pause

This article from the Harvard Business Review is by Jerry Weissman, a leading corporate presentations coach, is the founder of Power Presentations, Ltd., and the author of Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons from the Masters (FT Press: 2011).

Here he makes the point that we should pause to give the audience time to integrate what we are saying.  I often say that a pause gives the speaker time to collect his thoughts and allows the audience a moment to think about what they are hearing.  However, it is important that the pause is silent and not filled with "uhms" and "awhs".