“Philip? It’s the Mouth Cancer Foundation. We’d like you to present a webinar in London next month.”
“Of course! I’ll be delighted! Um, what’s a webinar?”
My wife often advises me to put my brain into gear before putting my mouth into motion but on this occasion she wasn’t present. Naturally I’d heard the word ‘webinar’ before but I’ve heard the words ‘podcast’ and ‘android’ as well and have no real idea what they mean either.
The crew make final preparations before the broadcast
It turns out a webinar is a presentation broadcast live on the world-wide web. It is interactive; viewers can ask questions in real time and comment on the proceedings. To take part it is necessary to register in advance just as if you were going to attend a meeting but the registration is made on your computer. This means anyone in the world can potentially join in. The event is recorded so others can view it later but of course cannot then take part. In the case of this webinar I was required to host the event, present a half-hour lecture on the early detection of mouth cancer and introduce the 2 others speakers; an oral surgeon and a representative from the charity.
Duly armed with some slides to illustrate my talk I set off for the Big City feeling reasonably relaxed.
“Cat’s not running” said the Island Line guard solemnly. “You’ll have to get off at the Esplanade and take the Hover.”
No matter, I had plenty of time. Just a minor irritation. Struggling over the footbridge with my laptop computer and suitcase (you may have noticed it’s no longer possible to get back to the Island from London the same day unless you leave about lunchtime) I duly presented my ticket.
The ticket collector gave me a look that can only be described as ‘old-fashioned’. You could almost hear him thinking ‘nice try’.
“That’s a Wightlink ticket, Sir. You’ll have to buy a Hovertravel one if you want to leave from here.”
“But the Hovercraft is about to leave and there’s a queue at the booking office!”
“Don’t worry, Sir, there’ll be another one soon”.
OK, still enough time. Well, there would have been if there hadn’t been an accident in Portsmouth which delayed the bus to the station just long enough to allow me to see the tail end of the London train disappearing out of sight as I reached the platform.
Keep calm and carry on! The next train got me to Waterloo with 50 minutes to spare for a 16 minute journey.
Let’s not dwell on the London rush-hour except to say that when I arrived at the venue 2 minutes before the start I felt strangely less relaxed than I had on leaving home. Especially as I had to introduce someone I’d never met before as if he was my oldest friend! Thank heaven for commercial breaks! Yes, you even get them on the internet and as my own lecture came first I had a few minutes to source the information I needed before introducing my colleague
Philip Lewis with Mouth Cancer Foundation representative Nicky Rowlands and Facial Maxillary Surgeon Mr Mahesh Kumar
Actually the event went very well. A small invited audience from the dental press was present as well as other lecturers who were there to critique the presentations. Questions from the audience came in as planned and hopefully the three of us provided really useful information to other colleagues about a subject of enormous importance.
The journey home the following day went like a dream of course. Less than 3 hours door-to-door.
Ain’t it always the way?….