I’ve been blogging about some of the talks that I heard at the recent Till & McCulloch Meetings (TMM) in Toronto, Canada. Maybe you’ve read them (featuring speakers Molly Shoichet and Milica Radisic)? For this blog, I want to take a different focus.
TMM is diverse and caters to delegates interested in talks and debates on stem cells, regenerative medicine, ethics and legal issues, and commercialization. You could see the amount of dedicated hard work and passion that went into each poster and presentation. However, for some basic science talks, if you were not already familiar with the research being presented, it took extra effort to stay engaged.
As a scientist who has moved to the realm of science communication, there were a few presentations that stood out to me for their clarity. One was Dr. Margaret Goodell’s talk on how mutations to a single gene (DNMT3A) are involved in blood cancer. She spent a good chunk of her presentation time explaining the relevance of her work. Interestingly, I saw a similar trend in poster presentations by PhD candidates Abdulah al Ani of University of Calgary and Nick Mitrousis of University of Toronto. The common theme was clearly explaining the relevance of the work and then getting to the results and details. It reminded me of this TED talk by Melissa Marshall:
I completely understand the challenge for a scientist to not use scientific language and not assume what they know is common knowledge. I still find myself adding jargon to my writing. But we all know the importance of keeping the audience engaged and the old saying: “practice makes perfect.”
While we are at it, actor gone scientific communications trainer, Alan Alda has some interesting thoughts on this topic. I highly recommend watching this video:
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