Types of speakers at Medical Conferences –
- Entertainer – invited by organisers specially for what it says on the tin. They tell many jokes, poems, WhatsApp forwards and present memes in the talk. Audience laughs.
These speakers are like a fart after big meal. No substance but feels good.
- Dazzler – mostly slick presentation but sometimes content too. They all have McBook Air and insist on connecting their laptop ( which they insist on calling “MY McBook Air”) to the system. Experience has taught them that their technologically demanding presentation will trip native laptop. Their undoing is usually “audio” which refuses to play on venue’s system.
- Advertiser / Self promoters – do I need to describe this one?
- Stunner/ Castrator – They explain to you that whatever you have been doing so far is the wrongest practice and you have probably killed and maimed all your patients by now. People come away feeling quite stunned, castrated, guilty or plane nauseated and pledge never to refer any patient this such brilliant Messiah of medical sciences.
- Educators – Usually earn their living by teaching helpless and entrapped students. They will take a “tuition” class on given topic. Depending on their political leanings and state of personal crisis, presentation will contain references to “ancient Europe” or “bhagvatgeeta”. Audience feels like they are wearing a school uniform and have regressed to school age. Audience often makes a dash to restrooms in the middle of such presentations just to check their genitals and feels assured about their real physical age.
- Misery sellers – Usually affiliated to NGO that works on meagre resources but can pay for speaker’s air travel. They try to convince the audience that medical profession is the worst thing that happened to humanity since farming and the only solution is that everyone should follow “virtuous” path. No matter what is the theme of conference, their speech remains same.
- Empowerers – Making baby food out of complex medical conditions, they actually give practical , usable knowledge. But they usually find little audience as most have flocked “pharma stalls” after listening to above 6
- Wannabes – Always junior members of organising committee. They really don’t have much to say but they dress and smell nice, smile a lot and thank everyone for the “opportunity” starting with creator of the universe. They always refer to everyone as Sir / Respected Madam. They grow out of this by third conference and become secretary of some professional organisation.
- Sedatives – Characterised by a 90 slide presentation, choice of font size usually 2.5 to accommodate 1000 words per slide and a total lack of awareness to a minor physical entity called time. When the chairman reminds them that they are 15 min over time for a 10 min slot they look astonished , check and shake their watch and then rush thru the remaining 89 slides in 25minutes. They are a great way to empty the auditorium. Due to their need to wear near sight glasses they usually don’t notice emptying of chairs happening right under their nose. Organising committee cleverly plans their sessions before lunch time so that people can really eat well.
Other than these establishes models, a new model called “story tellers” is emerging quite fast. As pale shadows of their more polished and better dressed corporate counterparts (lovingly called “bullshitters”), they try to use the word “narrative” and “space” quite often and aim to change the world with a single story.
Any combination of above is possible but invariably results in acute and severe indigestion to audience.