How to get most out of your participation in an academic conference?

How to get most out of your participation in an academic conference?

There are more academic conferences in each discipline every year that you may attend. However, with increasing economic and work pressures, there is an enhanced need more than ever to get most out of your participation in any conference. The crux of the matter, therefore, is to ‘plan much earlier’. Paradoxically, one should plan for maximizing benefits rather than attempting to reduce cost.

Based on the above mentioned guiding principle, there are some indicative suggestions. I do not think that these are new ones; rather, it summarizes most of the suggestions offered by different colleagues in this regard:

Know in advance who is presenting

Reverse the dominant logic that a conference is mainly an opportunity to present your ideas to others. It is more than that! The purpose of attending a conference is to get your ideas stimulated, enriched and expanded. Know well in advance, who is joining and what is being presented.

Explore en-route possibilities

With the help of your colleagues, explore possibilities of delivering a talk and /or running a workshop (as a voluntary offer) en-route to the conference venue. By doing this, you can immensely enrich your outreach and profile.

Starting a new knowledge project

Given your professional interests and the kind of audience, you may conceptualize a research/ book project that requires interviews from the conference delegates. However, do not forget to ‘book’ your interviewees in advance – bringing much value to your project.

Negotiating future engagements

You may negotiate your future professional engagements; such as being a visiting faculty to some university, joint writing and collaborative research projects through using the conference as a venue.

Concluding thought

There are many possibilities embedded in the situation that can be explored and developed. Invest in them through pre mediated actions rather taking a ‘quick flying to and back’.

Look forward to receive your addition to these suggestions!


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