Bullshitting, or technically speaking, the art of effective presentation aided by tools like exaggeration, right tone and facial features, big words and sometimes even bluffing, is much more important to the academic or technical field than one might think, as I came to know here through some seminars I attended recently.
All through college, I was used to seeing people who were good at bullshitting get away with their hurdles like project presentations, seminars , and most importantly, EXAMS, despite having not an ounce of technical content in their work. Theres also the other type of people, who know their stuff, and have content, but do not know how to put it well. They might put in more content than the former type of people, but the former type still has longer answers, more slides, bigger explanations, better diagrams. So the end result usually goes in favour of the bullshitter-who-knows-nothing than the Know-it-all-who-cant-bullshit.
Even at our major project presentations, we learnt that learning to speak confident, project your tone even though you dint really know what you were saying, presenting slides clearly, fully and in laymans terms, were of utmost importance to the profs. What you did in the project did matter, content was important, but it was nothing compared to the big presentation.
At a Ph.D confirmation of my friend X recently here, I learnt that the same applies to the whole academic community. My friend X : it was clear X had got results, fairly good findings in the field. But despite this, it was a hard time for X at the end, almost got screwed by the panel. Why? If my views are right, X lacked in presenting his views clearly. The panel was very much like what we had at NITC : Profs waiting to ask qusetions to screw the students. The questions asked were also similar : If u present one method, they ask if you have explored the other methods and why not, etc. X presented ok, not so forcefully, and neither could he answer his questions in a glamorous way or in laymans terms. He couldnt add the masala. He didnt look confident enough. And remember, these are the very principles of project presentation we learnt at NITC.
So people, next time you hear a guy and say "That guy is full of bullshit..", remember, that guy just might be closer to a Ph.D than you think :-).