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Attending a Large Conference: Some Tips

By Barbara Gastel | Feb. 12, 2012

Greetings again. I hope you’re doing well.

In a few days, some of my students and I will attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. It will be in Vancouver, Canada.

The AAAS annual meeting is a large conference. Thousands of researchers, from many countries, attend it. There are many sessions at the same time.

Attending such a large conference can be wonderful but overwhelming. How can one make the most of such an opportunity? Here are some tips, mainly for those new to attending such conferences.

    • If possible, look at the conference program before attending. List sessions you hope to attend.
    • Take advantage of the chance to network.
        • Attend conference events such as receptions.
        • Bring business cards. If you’re seeking a job or other opportunity, also bring copies of your CV.
        • Consider contacting people beforehand about getting together at the conference.
    • If you’ll be presenting at the conference:
        • Carry your presentation materials with you. If traveling by plane, don’t put them in your checked luggage, which might be delayed or lost.
        • Bring a backup copy of your presentation materials. For example, if your PowerPoint presentation is on a USB drive, also e-mail it to yourself.
        • Publicize your session to people who might like to attend.

Speaking of which . . . A session at the AAAS meeting will include a presentation about AuthorAID. If you attend the meeting, I hope to see you there.

Wishing you a good week— Barbara


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