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Speaking at an OPS Meeting

Posted By Darrel Conger, Friday, July 13, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 13, 2012
(Photo From Chris Pippen)
For anyone who missed the mid-year meeting in Chapel Hill this year missed probably the best OPS meeting ever held.  Everything from the meeting location to the topics discussed was perfect.  The thought the organizers put into the variety of topics was very evident.  There were a lot of new fresh discussions and faces this year.  And regarding fresh faces I want to encourage everyone to consider speaking at one of the OPS meetings.  
Public speaking is a terrifying thought to a lot of people.  As a relative neophyte myself, I still get very nervous but with every talk it gets a little better.  It’s my opinion that everyone in the OPS has something interesting or unique to contribute.  The sheer variety of places and circumstances we work in helps make our working situations and knowledge unique.  So what you may not consider that interesting may in fact be fascinating to others who work in a different kind of setting.  
I can also speak from experience that for giving your first talk there is no better audience than your fellow OPS members.  As a group they more attentive and respectful than any group I have ever seen.  When you combine that with the support and encouragement you get from the organizers and the Board of Education, our meetings are the perfect place to tell your colleagues what you know.
(Photo From Rona Esquejo-Leon)
I have learned a few tips over the years from various people for making the process of preparing a talk a little easier.   First talk about something you know well and have a passion for.  Gather images and information as you go along so you’re not trying to scramble at the last minute.  Anytime you see something interesting make a slide out of it.  I keep a PowerPoint folder on my computer so that whenever I find an interesting image or bit of information I have a place to save it.  My folder has over 300 slides now.    So, when I need a topic I already have a good base of slides to choose from.  When we have guest speakers I sometimes request a slide or two from them.  If you use it with their permission, put their university logo on it and let your audience know where the slide originated from people are usually flattered and happy to let you use it.  Internet presentation products like Webex and GOTO meeting are also great for rehearsing.  Some of them even allow you to record your talk so you can listen to it later.
I want to encourage everyone to at least think of a topic they could present at an OPS meeting.  When I think about the meetings I have attended over the years, I have very fond memories of the knowledge that my fellow OPS members have given me.  While certainly not an all inclusive list I owe a lot to great members like Richard Hackel, Tim Bennett, Paula Morris, Denise Barsness, Denise Cunningham (who could make paint drying sound interesting!) and so many others.  The time they took to put together their talks over the years has benefited not only me but every patient I have ever seen.
Darrel Conger, CRA is a Neuro-Ophthalmic Imaging Specialist with the Clinical Center for Multiple Sclerosis in the Neurology department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He is working on developing models of structure and function relationships for use in neuro-protective and neuro-regenerative drug trials. He spent 22 years working in Ophthalmic Imaging in the Ophthalmology Department at UT Southwestern.

Tags:  blog  education  Educational Meeting  Ice Breakers  Meaningful Use  Mid-Year  New Life  PDC  Professional Development Committee 

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Elizabeth L. Affel MT MS OCT-C CDOS ROUB COA FOPS says...
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012
The MidYear meeting was wonderful, and your talk was great. You could tell the extent to which you had researched and prepared your talk. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouraging everyone to consider giving a lecture about something they are passionate about, too.
Libba Affel
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