I have two invitations to give seminars at other institutions this year and my plan is to switch to using data exclusively from my own lab, rather than filling in holes using post-doc stuff. On the one hand, I'm excited to be able to do this because it means that my lab is churning out enough data that I can build a seminar around it . This is particularly good because my students are all working on very different projects that would not for a coherent story mushed together, so have to pick one project to talk about.
With the semester starting, the organizers of those seminars have been contacted me for a title. The seminars are both in November and I expect to have substantially more data by that time for the two primary lab projects. At this point, however, I don't know which will produce a more interesting story, nor if the experiments we have on-going will work out for either, leaving me with a tough choice. Either project would make for an interesting talk for the audiences and I have no interest in doing two separate talks, one on each topic. Where is my Magic 8 Ball?
So, the fun begins by picking one of the two projects and continues in attempting to divine the amount and type of data I will have to talk about. If absolutely everything we have planned works out I should have a compelling story for each, but when has that ever happened? The real question comes down to whether it is better to provide a bold title and excuse your lack of data in the presentation if experiments don't work, or temper the title and surprise the audience with kick ass data if the experiments do work out? Is it better to have a bigger semi-disappointed audience or a smaller audience that walks away impressed. With that spin, probably the latter.
2 hours ago