how to give a talk 101: don’t add new stuff that you know nothing about to your presentation

And yes, I found this out the hard way on Tuesday when I gave my punctuated-by-sniffles talk.  You see, I didn’t really have any time to prepare this talk because I was too busy being a lazy sloth.  And besides, I have no new data since I haven’t done any experiments since my last failure in March (at least I think it was March…it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten).  So I used the same talk that I gave at our MD/PhD retreat thing a couple of months ago.  But I apparently forgot to turn on my brain when I decided to add a “future studies” slide (which is a good slide to have if you’re not an idiot like me) and listed that we would be testing a compound that I really had no clue about because the reasoning made sense.  And guess what.  Someone in the audience just had to know exactly what that compound was and that there were problems with it and nitric oxide quenching (or something like that since I wasn’t even sure of what his point was) and completely made an idiot out of me in front of the entire audience.

So let that be a lesson to you.  There’s no need to add that one little thing if you don’t know everything about it.  No one will notice it missing.  But if you add it and someone’s a know-it-all and has some problem with it, then everyone will know that you don’t know anything about it.  Don’t learn it the hard way like I did.  That’s why I’m here…to make a fool out of myself so that you don’t have to.

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The patient is a 20-something-year-old MD/PhD student with a history of extensive schooling now presenting with frustration at her current lack of progress consistent with being stuck in a rut.



Darth Vader had borderline personality disorder.  If only he had gotten psychotherapy.


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