The Sassy Scientist – Easter Egging It

The Sassy Scientist – Easter Egging It

Clodagh has attended a conference or two. After missing out on last year’s EGU virtual general assembly, she seeks some advice to promote her science, and herself, out there:

Can you prepare better for a virtual meeting compared to the ‘old way’ for physical presentations?

Dear Clodagh,

Top of the morning to ye. On such soft day no less! Well, in my humble opinion, there’s two ways of looking at the change from physical to virtual meetings: 1) attendees completely change their ways when grinding through sessions, abstracts and presentations, or 2) attendees will hold on to their old ways. Are you sure they will change their ways? I amn’t. Especially now that they have had time to let it sink in (not like last year when it was more of a sudden kerfuffle). Don’t act like a Bucklepper and think that people will attend your presentation any differently. Ah now! At present they will sit at home/the office behind their screen, with a couple of papers in their second desktop, a connection to their departments’ cluster in the other, a bunch of emails to respond to their students at the third, and their own presentation in the works on their final desktop. This instead of sitting in the room where you’re giving your presentation, with the laptop on their lap and the same four desktops open on that particular screen. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. They will listen in, check the details and focus once they want to. Otherwise, it’s just the same as always, like. You blab into a partially empty room, a smattering of people is interested whilst the rest is waiting on the next talk.

And don’t give out about my advice after reading this fine piece of work to trot along finishing your presentation. Note that she is bad that will not take advice, but she is a thousand times worse that takes every advice. Every advice being the five hundred support videos forwarded by the official EGU information campaign. Surely, it is a grand idea to work yourself up a migraine worrying about a new presentation format. I suppose that the main takeaway, in any presentation for that matter, is that is has to be captivating. You still have to present your results in a manner understandable to people who don’t work in your tiniest of niches. You still have to present an angle which makes your research interesting to others. You still have to present, so present. No matter the medium, or indeed the physical being of potential attendees. Remember that attending a meeting, virtual or otherwise, is much like an Easter Egg Hunt in that everybody’s looking around to find that one precious gem, sure. Meanwhile, you’re the Fabergé-like that’s stuffed away shallowly down the hedge. Now you only have to trim the leaves a little for others to find you and bask in your glowing grandeur.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written virtually.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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