The December Music Season has just come to a conclusion and the Man from Madras Musings is still recovering from his exertions during that fortnight of melody. He attended numerous concerts and many lecture demonstrations, or lecdems as they are better known. And in the latter category, he did come across some common features. He now sets them down for posterity and also for the benefit of those who will lecdem in future and opt not to become lecdemons.

  1. Even though the time limit for a lecdem is specified in advance, most speakers assume that they have an endless time frame at their disposal.
  1. The first fifteen valuable minutes are usually spent in thanking everyone from the President of the organisation that is conducting the lecdem to the taxi driver who brought the speaker to the venue. Nothing wrong in this but a couple of minutes may be more appropriate.
  1. Whining every five minutes that the time given is too short for such a vast subject and that doing a presentation like this is akin to storing the ocean in a vat is a futile exercise. In MMM’s view, if this statement and its variants are cut out of a presentation, at least 15 minutes can be saved.
  1. Wandering off into the most irrelevant side stories such as the favourite culinary preparation of the artiste being spoken about or the way he/she (artiste) recognised the talent of him/her (speaker) at the ‘tender age of four’ may best be avoided.
  1. Coming a day or even an hour earlier than scheduled time to check if the speaker’s laptop is compatible with the venue’s projection equipment will really help. This being an art form where the speakers are largely geriatric, getting someone younger to manage the laptop is advisable. This will eliminate large chunks of time being wasted once the presentation has begun in fiddling with various leads and connectors in the vain hope that the devil in the projector will become friends with the imp in the laptop. This will also eliminate that other presentation-killer – a diatribe on how complicated all technology is and how it was all so simple in them olden days.
  1. Not recognising various prominent members of the audience and seeking their blessings as a prelude to the presentation is really a virtue in MMM’s view but that is of course not in keeping with good old Tamil tradition. Avoiding this can cut the presentation time as well.
  1. This may be blasphemous but MMM is of the view that a prayer by the speaker is wholly unnecessary especially if the organisation has had a prayer sung by someone else to kick off the proceedings. Several however will insist on singing chapter and verse to invoke the Gods once again.

In listing these points MMM is hoping that lecdemmers really wish to improve their timekeeping skills. Of course it may well be that they really don’t want to do that and would much prefer to waste time for that may cover up for lack of content. In that case there is very little to be done.