I just got back from a weekend conference hosting individuals to present their research in speech format. I've gone to one symposium before, but in this one I actually had a poster to present. And... it was not anywhere near as bad as I had thought it would be. I used to do performance art, so perhaps I shouldn't have been nervous, but the subject matter was different. In performance art you have a role to play, to entertain people. With a poster... I thought it would be different. But then I ended up just telling jokes and playing the role of "elucidator of research" -- sort of in the same fashion that I try and tutor people. All of the people who looked at the poster probably had a better knowledge of biochemistry than I, as I've just been learning biochemical terms specifically related to my organism and I'm a chemistry undergraduate who has yet to take biochem, but everyone seemed pretty generous and forgiving. If they asked a specific question, sometimes I would and sometimes I would not know, and I would be blunt and let them know if it were the case that I was ignorant. They nodded and let me finish the "shpiel" I prepared in explaining the poster, and some of them even taught me things. It was a very positive experience, and hopefully next year I'll have a better working knowledge of biochem and, please oh please may this year yield presentable results.