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Maximizing Your Conference Experience

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln Graduate Connections April 2010 newsletter outlines tips for graduate students to get "the most out of a research conference" (tips begin on page 4). Though attending conferences can be costly, the benefits greatly outweigh the financial burden, according the to UNL article; plus, students can always opt to purchase travel tickets months ahead of a conference and share a room with a colleague to abate costs. The UNL newsletter outlines things that students should do before, during, and after a research conference. Before the meeting, students should examine the schedule as soon as its available and prioritize their goals. "Gather information about the speakers, make a priority list of who you want to meet, and research them. Call or e-mail to introduce yourself and make an appointment with them in advance, if possible," Graduate Connections suggests. During the conference, attendees should try to "stay at the same hotel as the conference, if possible, because valuable contact can take place in the lobby or in the hotel coffee shop," dress for success, and abstain from drinking alcohol at the venue or around those "with whom you want to create a professional relationship." Post-meeting, Graduate Connections advises grad students to contact people whose presentations they could not attended to obtain abstracts and other materials, and send thank-you e-mails "to those who went out of their way to meet with you or those who provided you with important information. Let them know what you took away with you."

HT: Tomorrow's Professor blog

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