Dan Has Left The Building

Coffee prior to the first session. Mmm, coffee

I wrote this while on the plane headed to Calgary. Of course once I landed, Rick and I had plans to meet up with his friend Paul, and I basically forgot to post it.

_______________________

As I write this, I think I’m somewhere over the mountains on my way to Calgary to visit Rick. The plan whilst in Calgary – hiking, caving, shenaniganning, not necessarily in that order. My stay in Victoria was short, but it was fantastic. I definitely will be returning.

The conference was also quite awesome. It was smaller than the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada, having about 70 participants instead of say, 500. But, I think I liked this better. It was a bit more intimate, and everyone there was interested in Spatial Statistics, Geography, Public Health, and the like. It was a giant nerdfest, and I’m so happy that I was invited to speak.

The GeoMed'ers (minus me, as I took the photo). Dr. Dean is on the far right.

As for my presentation (which is posted below for your viewing pleasure), I think based on the feedback that it went really well. My talk was only supposed to be 20 minutes, so I planned for 18 to provide enough time for questions. Sadly, my talk got started about 25 minutes late because the 2 presenters that spoke before me clearly didn’t budget their time for a 20 minute presentation. When one has 60+ slides for 20 minutes, and each slide contains more than 10 bullet points, one can’t be expected to finish in 20 minutes. But I digress.

Regardless, the talk went well. I was a bit nervous before I started as I was presenting in front of some of the rock stars of the Spatial Statistics world (yes, we have rock stars). However, that dissipated rather quickly for two reasons. First, once I got up in front of the audience, something switched in my head and I went into presentation mode (I love the adrenaline rush of speaking, and if I feel confident about my particular topic, even better, because then I can have fun with it and those that are listening to me). The second reason was random. And by random, I clearly mean Rick. You see, as I was about to speak, Rick sent me a text to ask how the presentation went. And that made me giggle just a little, and it also reminded me that this wasn’t a big deal, and there was no reason to get stressed about it. After that, things were golden.

The talk garnered several questions, and a lot of interest. Partly for my topic, but also for the manner in which I presented. That is, all of the talks save for mine were done in PowerPoint. And most went over time. And most had too many things written on one slide. In fact, the tendency these days is to use PowerPoint to lay out everything in the presentation. So much so, that I don’t need to listen to the speaker – I just need to read the slides, which is what the speakers are doing as well; they are reading the text on the slides and they aren’t engaging the audience. I do not approve.

So, as with previous presentations, I used Prezi. And as with previous presentations, I kept the number of ‘slides’ to a minimum. And I also kept the content on the slides to a minimum. Clean. Clear. To the point. For example, one of my slides simply presented 3 numbers to the audience: 2.5, 88, and 90000. And then I proceeded to tell a story around those numbers. It’s a simple trick, but it works; based on the feedback, I definitely captured the attention of the audience.

Anyway, the rest of the conference was awesome. It gave me a lot to think about, and I met some really great people. I’m going to be chatting with one rather nerdy (read awesome) student I met once I get back home (we were chatting about a potential submission for publication in the Journal of Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology). I also had plenty of time to stroll Victoria to get some snappy shots. And even with the rain, it was a beautiful city. W00t!



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