Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The social aspects of conferences

Some say (mostly Zorba) we should skip all the keynotes, talks, presentations, plenary or parallel and just focus on getting on socially in bars, pubs, restaurants talking to eachother about subjects we care about; the profession, the company, the patient, the doctor, the student or more personally; the family, relationships, friends, the society, the country and even politics (but not too long). And it is true, in that surrounding you talk more freely then in the conference room! And it is not (only) the alcohol that is bridging the gaps. Sunday evening I was having dinner with 2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman, an Hungarian woman, an Korean man and a German woman. Together with a Dutch guy this is a strange mix, but the conversation was lively. The topic jumped from cultural differences in practicing health care by general physicians to the appearences & local habits of Sinterklaas (SantaClaus) in various countries. Tonight it was a combination of 3 Hungarians, a German and a Dutch and we discussed Tsech poetry, the history of their beer, the simularities between Prague and Budapest and also we briefly exchanged information about daily work in each organisation. This all took place in one of the famous pubs from Prague (according to the Hungarian). It's these small things that contribute highly to bringing the context of the individual presentations into a clear perspective, ................... ........ and ofcourse it's also just good fun.
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