Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekly Lab Meeting.. AKA the firing squad

Weekly lab meetings (WLM) are a common occurrence in university's around the globe. These meetings give the presenter a chance to practice your presentation skills, brag or lament your current research progress and be the center of attention for a week. This "honor" passes around the group each week with someone else being the vic...presenter. Basically this is grad school hazing.

Friday is my lab's weekly meetings, we actually combine forces with another lab that does similar research. This is both good and bad. It is good because it spreads out the time between each person's presentations. It is bad because there are more people to shoot questions at you.

This was my first real experience with WLM, last week we did an introductory round robin. "Hi my name is ______ and I'm a science-holic." So I had never seen the epic brutality of this rite of passage. Two PI's in the room means twice the highly trained and highly critical set of eyes and ears to eviscerate your presentation. They are highly detailed oriented and inquisitive. They will stop you in the middle and make you go back as they are still thinking about 3 slides ago. I am thinking this technique is to toss questions out rapidly until it breaks the students prepared shield (aka PowerPoint) down which rattles and throws the grad students off their game. And from the look on my labmate presenter's face it worked.

I am sure this is presentation boot camp. They apply the pressure and we break behind the closed doors of lab meeting so that at our defense/professional meetings we are unbreakable.  I never liked the idea of boot camp...

3 weeks til I face the squad. Shields up, red alert!

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