“Conference stereotypes”

A lighthearted post for the weekend… which may or may not be applied to microbiology conferences. 

Conference Crawler: Every institution has one, possibly even every microbiology lab. Always on conference leave, floating from one conference to another, leaving little time in between for work. Abstract view of reality, good theoretical knowledge, but difficulty in dealing with practical “real life” problems. Lots of mini-shampoo bottles in soap bag.

Conference Businessman: Often found wandering the conference venue dressed in a suit (it’s not a wedding, nor a funeral…), and carrying a briefcase/shoulder bag. Looks more important than job suggests. Aloof, often mistaken for industry rep.

Conference Critic: Insists on standing up at the end of every talk to deliver a comment or a question, usually questioning the speakers findings. Inflated sense of self importance, likes sound of own voice.

Conference Networker: Knows everyone at conference, difficult to speak to for more than two minutes before he/she wanders off. Always has glass or coffee cup in hand. Inevitably arrives late for presentations.

Conference Plenary Speaker: Often elderly and may be difficult of hearing. Capable of delivering talk in his/her sleep and often does. Often delivers highly evidence based, but also highly tedious talks. Usually disappears into thin air immediately afterwards.

Conference Photographer: Attends every talk armed with an I-Pad or I-Phone. (No other apparatus will do). Insists on photographing every powerpoint slide with aforementioned apparatus. Often deficient in listening skills.

Conference Shopper: Rarely found at conference venue, well dressed, not always female.


p.s. Looking forward to going to the ECCMID conference next year in Barcelona (chosen primarily on venue). Hopefully I will not fulfil too many of these stereotypes!

3 thoughts on ““Conference stereotypes”

  1. Ha ha ha …. still making me laugh from the other side of the world.
    I would just like it to be known that I did NOT attend last weeks conference in Hamilton as I found nothing that interested me enough to leave my beloved work place …. definitely don’t fit any of the above !!

  2. Another one for the list: the Conference workaholic: starts his/her day with the early meet-the-expert breakfast sessions, ends with the industry-sponsored symposia late at night. Eats for a week dodgy conference food, sleeps on couches at the venue’s lobby, doesn’t see the light of the day for the whole trip. To him/her, being in Barcelona, Denver or Johannesburg is the same. Hopefully on the extinction list since nowadays he/she can follow the conference proceedings via the internet while working his/her normal job!
    See you in Barcelona!

  3. Jo, you will just need to persuade them to let you go to Barcelona, find a paper or poster to present. You only live once…

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