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fly_the_kitePhoto: eu trio.be 

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!