Summary: In this latest issue of Harden’s Blog, Professor Harden informs us of some tips he has learned with reference to television programme ‘Dragon’s Den’ and an update on the preparations for AMEE 2015. Description: One of my favourite television programmes is the Dragon’s Den. Individuals make a pitch to five self-made millionaires (The Dragons) in an attempt to persuade them to invest cash and mentorship in return for a share in the business being promoted. The quality of the pitches varies greatly. Based on the experiences in the Dragon’s Den, a paper from GotoMeeting (www.gotomeeting.co.uk) highlights the most common presentation mistakes on the Dragon’s Den and offers tips on making a presentation.

•    The first tip is “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail”. Lack of rehearsal is obvious from some presentations I see – if the presentation runs significantly over the time allocated, the slides are in the wrong order or some slides are missing or the presentation does not tell a coherent story relating to the particular meeting. I find that on average I now need to allow between 24 and 30 hours for a 30 minute presentation preparation, longer if I have to do some more detailed research on the topic.
•    Going OTT with jargon, it is suggested, is another problem. The audience want a clear, succinct and understandable presentation.
•    Underestimating the importance of body language is suggested is a common mistake. Coming onto the stage with genuine enthusiasm, confidence and energy leads to better rapport with the audience. Good eye contact and natural smiles, it is suggested, are important. I was asked to make last week a short video recording online to promote our new book – The Definitive Guide to the OSCE. This was recorded using Google Hangout. While I did get across the points I wanted to make, I felt on looking at it on replay, perhaps exaggerated by the webcam angle, I looked much too intense and should have looked more relaxed.
•    A further piece of advice is to check before you start that the equipment works and your PowerPoint, slides or other props are ready to go. I always have two backups to the presentation on my own computer, one on a thumb drive and another on a small portable hard drive. Although it is not always possible, I always try to test my presentation in the room including checking the audio connections when I am using video clips.
•    Don’t be forgettable, it is suggested, is important. It helps to have a theme that will appeal to the audience, to tell a story, and to use appropriate images and not just text to make the point.

Everything is coming together in the final preparation for AMEE 2015 meeting in Glasgow. This puts huge pressure on staff here not just because of the conference itself but for the many meetings running alongside the conference such as the ASPIRE, BEME, ESME and Medical Teacher Board meetings. There are the inevitable last minute cancellations by speakers, double-bookings, late additions to cope with, accommodation problems and assistance required with visa applications. It will be particularly interesting for me to see how two new innovations this year work out. The first is a hackathon where medical educators, designers, developers come together using virtuality, smartwatches and other hardware to turn ideas into working prototypes in 48 hours. A second innovation is a “writer in residence”, and Hedy Wald will document and communicate about the meeting as it progresses.

During the meeting we will be presenting the 2015 ASPIRE to Excellence Awards. I find that these provide a valuable insight into new ideas and good practice in medical education. One submission that was successful for the student engagement award, I was interested to see, had been put together by the students in the school.

We continued to receive in Medical Teacher many more manuscripts than we can publish. This includes letters. We are currently looking at whether we should have an online site either related to the journal or to MedEdWorld for Medical Teacher letters. This would allow us to publish many more than we can at present and also publish them more rapidly. I have found it encouraging to see an increasing number of letters from students including regular contributions from Imperial College London.

I’ve often wondered what happened to Second Life. When introduced in 2007 the virtual world attracted a lot of attention with many universities setting up their own private islands to engage students, some even holding classes within Second Life. Stephen Downes (a speaker at AMEE 2015 in Glasgow), in his blog of 18th August, highlights the commentary "We took a tour of the abandoned college campuses of Second Life" by Patrick Hogan. When first introduced one forecast was that 80% of active internet users would have a “Second Life” within a few years. Hogan suggests that most of the virtual universities are gone and only a handful remain as ghost towns. It would be interesting to see a more detailed analysis of what lessons have been learned from this initiative.

I leave later this week for Glasgow and AMEE 2015 and will report in a later blog some of the highlights. I have been asked to summarise some of the key messages from the conference at the AAMC education meeting in Baltimore in November. Let me know at AMEE 2015 if something strikes you as particularly important or innovative and worthy of mentioning. I look forward to seeing you in Glasgow if you will be at the meeting. I will be at the Elsevier stand at lunchtime on Monday to launch my new book, co-authored with Pat Lilley and Madalena Patricio, The Definitive Guide to the OSCE, and also at the Wisepress stand later with Khalid Bin Abdulrahman, Stewart Mennin and Catherine Kennedy to launch our new book The Routledge International Handbook of Medical Education, which has about 200 contributors from around the world!