Most people who attend large technical meetings,
conventions or exhibitions are blown away by so
many things…technical sessions, early morning
breakfasts, long lines at lunch counters, buses to
different hotels and venues, meeting many new people,
being exposed to so many ideas, and on and on.
Interestingly, I was invited recently to provide some
help by giving a presentation at a conference– how to
get the most out of a technical meeting.
This is formally not something most students and post-
docs are given any help with. They often end up trying
to figure things out when they get there, attend as many
talks as they can, and are bushed when it is all over.
As the presentation offered, there are three parts to
attending a meeting
preparation and organization
Savvy conference and convention attendees, speakers too,
accomplish most of their “work” before they leave home.
A. What are your goals for the meeting
B. Study up on the conference
1. Establish a plan for the meeting
prioritize and schedule your time
[leave time for travel, discovery and “unexpecteds”]
review the presentation schedule
2. Who is going? Share your plan with others.
[Plan can include: presentations, new products and
demonstrations, meet people in field, conduct society
business, interviews, seek help, offer help, new contacts
new information and more.]
3. Lay-out and look. Where will sessions be held?
What is normal “look” for attendees and speakers? Be
ready for “planned” events.
Update your LinkedIn profile.
Think about and prepare your elevator speech. You will
be meeting many people.
Have your professional business cards ready to share.
Appointments: Think about “Lombardi time”
[on time = 15 minutes early]
C. Nonverbal and small talk planning and practice
E. “Committed” networking
[Please do not eat alone, attend the exhibition, be careful
about security and know where your valuables and badges
are. Attend “schmoozing” events.]
G. Ideas in your “idea notebook”
H. Thank you notes
I. Comply with commitments, emails, LinkedIn invitations
J. Understand the role of informal connections in your
professional life and career.
This article brings up the use of digital tools in
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