Our next webinar will be on this topic. Sign up for Tuesday June 25th @ 10:00am or @ 14:00pm BST and learn about planning for an academic conference. These events can be HUGE networking opportunities that can make or break careers.
Picture the scene: You’re a young academic, perhaps a PhD candidate, and you’ve just had an abstract accepted at a leading international conference in your field. It’s time to make the trip: How can you maximise your potential and get the most out of this experience, both personally and professionally? Preparation is key.
Ask yourself a few key questions to kick off your conference preparation. Do you have access to the delegate list and the abstract volume? These are almost always made available well in advance of conferences. One thing to do is carefully read over both and identify colleagues you want to connect with, as well as talks you want to attend and posters you want to check out. Doing this will help you develop a personal schedule or programme for the meeting: Where you will be and for how long, and in which format such as poster and oral sessions. Lots of conferences split academic sessions between different lecture theatres; it might not be possible to attend talks being held at similar times in different places. This is something worth bearing in mind as venues and organisers can vary hugely in this regard: I was once at a meeting in Utah in the middle of winter at a ski resort where parallel sessions were at different ends of a steep slope covered with snow. Perhaps it’s possible to check out a map of the venue before you attend the meeting? Once at a conference in a Las Vegas hotel, I kept getting lost on the casino floor.
Make sure you have your contact information ready. Do you have a name or business card with your key contact information on it that you can give to new acquaintances at a meeting? Perhaps you use WeChat or another app with which you can quickly exchange contact information? Check out our recent article, the Charlesworth Knowledge 10 second rule, to brush up on techniques to make a quick positive impression when you meet someone for the first time. Meeting new people, especially senior researchers in your field, and then having to talk to them in a second language can be especially daunting. Perhaps some of our training courses and other online materials can help?
Above all, the best way to make a good impression on colleagues at an academic meeting is to give a great presentation, be it a poster or a talk. We have lots of materials available to help you design a good looking and effective poster. In the latter case, when preparing for your oral platform presentation, make sure you are ready before you arrive at the meeting. Leaving time to prepare adequately for a talk is the key to managing nerves and being successful: We’ve all seen those conference presentations that look like they were thrown together the night or the morning before. Make sure you don’t make that mistake!
Our training courses and upcoming webinar ‘Giving an effective presentation’ can help you to be as effective as possible at your next academic conference. Indeed, why not sign up for the next webinar in our series as this will cover this topic.