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Posts Tagged ‘congress’

I disagree with myself!

When I was attending one most important yearly congress of the humanities and social sciences in a Northern country, I came across a very refreshing way of promoting oneself.

In one of the presentations, the speaker summed up several opinions from well-known experts on a specific topic and pointed out their insufficiency, after which she read us a dangerously long quote expressing similar viewpoints, and just when my mind started to wander, the speaker told us:

“Well, this is what I wrote two years ago, and I disagree!”

That was expertly done, I have to admit. And it caused the result that she aimed at, laughter, without applause though. I wonder how many times she had practised in front of the mirror, or in front of her unfortunate family.

The last one that made an impression on me, besides this strange inability to put the slides right, or the normal fidgeting of one’s materials, or going over time, was a presentation in which the speaker kept on reminding you that there were more details about the topic in the book that she was about to publish. I consider the audience very generous by asking at the end what the title of her book was, which she withheld during her presentation. That could be a dangerous strategy, since you may not be asked at all. She gambled right though.

But do not mistake me, they are perfectly likeable people when you talk to them personally, and they do not always talk about themselves.

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