I was an invited speaker for a conference, 1-year post-MS. I demonstrated a FESS surgery as an invited faculty, 2-year post-MS. I was an invited international speaker in a phoren (!) country, 3-year post-MS, and speaker for an instructional course for our national conference 4-year post-MS. That was purely due to my AGILITY or aggressiveness. (AGILITY is one of the critical factors for a good presenter – remember ABCDEF!). However, I always faced a drawback. Being a youngest invited faculty, I got the left-over timings during the initial days. For my bad luck, it always happened, there was always a senior co-faculty who got all the prime pampering speaking or performing slots! While some of our senior faculty had a great sense of time, most others did not. Once they were on the stage, they took control of the stage, irrespective of the attention status of the audience. The time they stretched from the allotted time was directly proportional to their stature! They loved the microphones! I call them Mic-asuras! All Indians know asuras! The organizers were helpless, as they were students of this faculty, or they thought the success of their event was solely dependent on this personality. It’s a catch-22 situation. You can’t stop someone who has contributed immensely to the growth of our specialty and pouring their heart out there.  

During the early career of my life, most of the time, I was asked to cut down my presentation, sometimes by one-third of the time allotted initially to me! There is a great saying, “You cannot change the event, but you can change how you respond to it.” As a junior, I didn’t have any other alternative. That is when I developed a concept of a three-tier presentation technique.  

One of the great values I have inculcated from my alma mater, the PGIMER, Chandigarh, is the importance of time. I have never crossed my allotted time in any event. Rather, I have always ended my presentations a few minutes earlier, because I am always prepared with 3-tier presentations. A little extra time provided an opportunity for a Q & A session, an excellent opportunity for great speakers to prove their metal. I got all gold medals (17 medals) for paper presentations at the state, zone, and national level mainly because of time management during my presentations. More than that, it gives you an excellent photo opportunity! You get sufficient time to get clicked with the chairpersons, and while getting your certificate and memento, blah blah blah… (Rewards and Celebrations are part of a success cycle!). It hurts me when some good presenters with excellent content, cross their time limits during paper competitions in conferences. 

Three-tier presentations involved, preparation of three versions of the same presentation fitting different time scales. The first full presentation for the allotted time. The second one for 2/3rd of the time allotted and the third one for 1/3rd of the time assigned. I prepared these versions in such a way that the core message I wanted to convey was not last, and the audience remembered your core message, not the presentation. We have the option of jumping the slides. However, it’s difficult to judge which one to jump when you are on stage. (It also hurts to jump when you have prepared something painstakingly). You also have risk leaving a poor impression (as un-prepared, non-confident, or man-in-hurry) in the audience’s mind. Your core message gets lost.     

In our country, we can beat the mic-asuras only that way. If you cannot convey your core message in one single slide, a slide-arrhea will not help you. Did you wonder why the famous TED talks are limited to 18 minutes only?   

These are some tricks and tips about presentation and public speaking skills I got in a hard way. I will be giving away more secrets at our “Presence & Present 2020,” webinar series.  

Embryology is often a neglected topic by most otorhinolaryngologists. But, the management of congenital ear problems is still a virgin area, and there is a big vacuum. It is an essential topic for all Otologists, specifically those with keen interests in implantology! We will be discussing embryology and the gross anatomy of the temporal and lateral skull base during our Otology Ninja program today.  

I take this opportunity to invite you for our tomorrow’s guest session on, “Voice rehabilitation of post-laryngectomy patients,” Dr. Vishal Rao, Regional Director of HN Oncosurgery and Robotic surgery of HCG Cancer Center, Bangalore. This event has a great motivational value for junior colleagues as he will be demonstrating his innovation – an economical voice prosthesis, a Make-in-India product. 

Date: May 12, 2020. 

Time: 04.00 – 05.00 PM. Indian Time (+5.30 GMT). 

Topic. Post-laryngectomy voice rehabilitation. 

Speaker: Dr. (Prof.) U.S. Vishal Rao. M.S., FRCS (Glasgow). 

Regional director for HN Oncosurgery & Robotic Surgery, HCG Cancer Hospital, Bangalore. 

With warmest regards, 

Dr. Prahlada N.B