I just got back from a medical conference -THE- nephrology conference in the world: the ASN renal week. When I left San Diego, I left with mixed feelings.
On the one hand I was glad I went, because I got to present our data. On the other hand I was really disappointed of many sessions, many of them were a complete waste of time.
In my opinion medical conferences could soon be obsolete. And here is why.
1. There is: “the internet”.
The internet makes discussion, data presentation and networking easier than ever. Why should anyone fly thousands of miles to read and hear about things, they can access with two or three clicks?
2. Presentations are horrible.
Sorry I have to say this, but man: These presentations suck! They suck so bad, the only reason I wasn’t walking out of (most of) them was Free WiFi and the possibility to use my time more wisely than to listen to these „speakers“.
I write „speakers“ because most of them don’t speak, they read their text-filled slides word-by-word. I do not see a point in listening to someone, who reads passages of a publication to me. I can do this myself, thank you!
Neither can I find a profit in looking at data-packed graphs for a couple of seconds.
If we don’t change the way we deliver data, I wouldn’t know why to attend a conference.
Any speaker delivering a medical presentation ought to look at a couple of TED talks or read one of these books on presentations.
3. Most data that are presented have been presented elsewhere.
4. It’s expensive.
5. You don’t get that much attention.
Does that mean I will never attend a conference again? No. But there is going to be shift. Either the conferences will change their presentation style or attendees will quit, well, attending.