EMS conference presenters spend too much time winding up and building to their key points. The long wind-up is usually background or foundation information – pathophysiology, assessment, and treatment basics – that is rarely new information to most of the audience.

Here are four things to consider as you prepare to deliver a conference presentation, classroom lecture or other type of professional presentation.

1. Teach the 98%

Seth Godin wrote on Sept. 27:

When you find yourself overwriting, embracing redundancy and overwhelming people with fine print, you’re probably protecting yourself against the 2%, at the expense of everyone else. (And yes, it might be 10% or even 90%…. that’s okay).

When we hold back and dumb down, we are hurting the people who need to hear from us, often in a vain attempt to satisfy a few people who might never choose to actually listen.

Too many sessions I attend are aimed at the 2% of the attendees that may not know the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale or that naloxone is the generic name for Narcan or ambulances need to be driven with due regard. Instead of reviewing the basics for a few people, start with the premise that everyone (or maybe nearly everyone) will know the basics. Start teaching the 98% at the point just beyond what they already know.

2. Lead with your best material

A news headline grabs the reader’s interest. The first sentence (or the lead or the lede) tells the entire story in a sentence. The first and the second sentence have the best and most important points in the article. With each subsequent sentence the importance of the information diminishes.

As a presenter don’t spend the first three-quarters of the presentation building to your best material. By the time you get there your audience may be gone.

3. Ask for (or use) less time

Seventy-five or ninety minutes is an insanely long-time for a lecture-based conference presentation. If you have 15-minutes of great material ask for a quarter-hour session.

4. Use other teaching methods

Lecture is well-suited for hammering the 100% with the same information. But very few sessions are for everyone. Since you don’t have to re-teach the basics consider using discussion, simulation, scenarios, quizzes and audience polling to teach. But remember, just like any tool, these teaching tools require practice to achieve competence.



This was my 2nd (maybe 3rd) time attending EMS World Expo in Las Vegas. I was glad to be back after missing EMS World Expo 2014 in Nashville because of a blizzard kept me from leaving Wisconsin.

Here are some of the numbers from the week:

75 – Things in 75 Minutes

The presentation, 75 things in 75 minutes by Dan Limmer, was the one conference session that really stood out from the pack. Limmer described his session as a “BLS refresher in just over an hour.” I liked the pace, depth and variety of content, and the challenge for Limmer to pack so much into so little time.

Numbers 20, 21, 22, and 23 were the “Wrong things we learned” in EMT class.

Unfortunately I had a meeting to attend so I only saw the first 29 things, but I heard a lot of great comments from other attendees.

3 – Top Presenters

I asked lots of attendees which presenters they liked the best. The names I heard most often were Kevin Collopy, Dan Limmer and Tom Bouthillet.

107,219 – Steps

It’s easy to cover a lot of ground in Vegas. Everything is spread out. Three runs, hiking through the MSP airport and walking the cavernous halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center it is easy for the steps to add up (Tuesday=17,449, Wednesday=22,859, Thursday=19,421, Friday=25,523, Saturday=21,967). I use the Garmin VivoActive for step tracking and running/biking GPS.

18 – Tweets

This number of Tweets is a positive for me as it is a good sign I kept my phone in my pocket more often than not and took advantage of the opportunity for face-to-face conversation. The social conversation, at least on Twitter, during EMS World Expo was pretty light. Most of the Tweets were from just a handful of people and the most Tweets with the #EMSWorldExpo was just 376 on Friday.

8 – Quick Takes of Education Sessions

I wrote the following articles for the EMS1.com in-depth coverage of EMS World Expo.

3 – Runs on the Las Vegas strip

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning I was up before the sun to run the Strip. The two-hour time difference had me up and out the door to run before the sunrise. The sidewalk is generally clear, except for a few revelers staggering home, and the scenery is much different than home.

1 – MedicCast podcast appearance

For the seventh year Jamie Davis, the Pod Medic, recorded episodes of the MedicCast and other EMS podcasts from the floor of the exhibit hall. The highlight of my appearance with Jamie, to be aired at a later date, was discussing his new novel “Extreme Medical Services,” which I started reading on the trip home.

MedicCast Studio


$0.00 – On Gambling

I don’t understand any of the table game rules and don’t have the patience to for sitting in the smokey haze with the one-armed bandits.

0 – Buffets

No all-you-can eat food fests on this trip, but I did enjoy some good food.


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Code Green Campaign #SavingPublicSafety

September 20, 2015

Please check-out the great work being done by The Code Green Campaign. (and two recent articles on the topic of suicide in EMS from the Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum and EMS World Expo).   Greg Friese, EMS1 editor-in-chief, stopped by today to show his support for #savingpublicsafety and the… Posted by The Code Green Campaign […]

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EMS World Expo 2015

September 17, 2015

The largest EMS conference in North America officially opens this morning. I arrived Tuesday to begin the EMS1 special coverage of the event. If you are at EMS World Expo I hope you will say hello or maybe join me for an early morning run on the strip Friday. Here is @gfriese getting his next […]

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Capnography and 12-Lead Interpretation

September 12, 2015

Two of the all-time viewed posts on Everyday EMS Tips. Practice Reading 12-Leads Capnography Resources Tweet

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EMT/FF killed in broad daylight and Sept. 11 posts

September 11, 2015

Violent actions against emergency responders are common, but what does it mean when the violence is random and public. In an EMS1 article I try to make sense of the tragic murder of a Mich. FF/EMT. Today we asked EMS1 readers for pictures of 9/11 memorials. There is a coffee table book or calendar to […]

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Narcotics theft: Are on-the-job injuries and on-the-job drug diversion connected

September 7, 2015

I don’t know, but it is a connection worth exploring. Posted on EMS1: Rapid Response: Medics stealing narcotics happens with distressing regularity   Tweet

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Katrina: 10 years feels like the blink of an eye

August 28, 2015

Editor’s note I wrote today for EMS1. Hurricane Katrina made landfall ten years ago. This anniversary is an occasion to read remembrances, watch videos and look at photos from the days during and after the storm. As I watched the events unfold from 1,000 miles away, I was keenly aware that many of my EMS […]

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2 reasons to say NO to a soda machine

June 7, 2015

This is a guest post from a entering 5th grader on reasons his school should say no to a soda machine. Thanks for the guest post. There are some things we could use and need here at school, but there are also some things we should not have. We should not have a soda machine […]

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What type of EMT are you?

April 2, 2015

Limmer Creative created this fun quiz.   Tweet

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