International conferences are an unavoidable part of both the academic and job life. But what exactly is an international conference? Well, to sum up it can be said that international conferences are nothing but a few days of rush through multiple paper presentations, workshops, panel discussions, speeches and not to mention the mixers and social evening that results in increasing your contacts. Of course you have the option of letting go of one. But think about all the contact benefits you will miss upon or the knowledge that you will miss which in turn will affect your growth. Not a good idea, is it? Since you have to visit it, so here are some tips as to how to get the most out of an international conference.
A New Mindset: Your primary job will be to change our thinking procedure about a conference. Quit thinking of an international conference as a duty or something that you are bound to do. Be more enthusiastic about it and try to think of it as a booster for your career. Think of all the knowledge which you will be able to acquire, all the people you will get to come in contact with and most importantly, all the good that it will do to your career, be it academic or industrial. This will help you to motivate yourself to visit the conference.
Introduction: Introducing yourself plays a vital role in any conference. Before you attend a particular international conference, you will obviously get to know about the people that will be attending the same. Try to make a list of the people you would like to get acquainted with, gather their email address and mail them, introducing yourself. Also, it will be very beneficial if you can just prepare an introduction of yours containing all the basic information. But make sure it is short and sweet and compact.
Planning it Out: Each and every international conference comes with a bucket full of events. It is not wise to aim to attend all of them. If you are in fact planning on doing so, it will only make you rush from one event to another, leaving you haggard and tired with ultimate zero results. You are obviously visiting the conference with some personal or business goals; select the events which will be most beneficial to your aim. You can often let go of the keynote speeches, but then again, they are delivered by some famous personalities and you will want to go to it. If you are being sent in by your boss, discuss what he wants to achieve through it and plan accordingly.
Get Comfortable: Being in uneasy situations will make you panic and you will end up with zero benefits. If you are uncomfortable with large crowds, try out smaller group sessions like workshops or the SIGs / BOFs also known as Special Interest Groups or Birds of a Feather sessions, which include small gatherings of like minded people that will possibly be easier for you to handle. You can also take the initiative of creating group meetings with the people you wish to establish contact with.
Listen more; talk less: This is one of the best mantras to benefit most in international conferences. These events are visited by a lot of pioneers who have set a trend in their respective field. Listening to these people with keen interest will help you to develop better thinking capacities that will help your career in the long run. If you keep talking, chances are that you will miss out on what the other person has to say which may enhance your thinking capability a lot more. Also keep a pen and paper handy so that you can jot down important points as well as contact information of the people whom you want to be in contact with in the future.
Solidifying Existing Contacts: When we speak about networking, we don’t only mean creating new connections. International conferences are often visited by people whom you already know. These events are a great way to consolidate your connection with them further. It will help you to create deeper bonds, which will make sure that their loyalty lies with you and in the process will ensure a helping hand at times of need. You could make lunch or dinner plans with people whom you are already familiar with so that they do not feel neglected.
Some “ME” Time: “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” goes the popular saying. And it is very true too. If you only work during the international conference, then you will bore yourself easily. The trick is to balance fun and work. The international conferences are like a leave from your hectic daily life. Take the opportunity to explore the place where the conference is being held. Also take part in all the fun and extracurricular activities organized by them; this is also a good, unofficial and jovial way to enhance networking.
After Conference Jobs: Once the international conference is over you need to take care of certain things so as to extract the most out of them. The first and foremost job will be to jot down all the important things that you have learned. Next, write down everything that you can think of, they will possibly allow you to be a “better you” in the next international conference that you are planning to go. Last but not the least; send an email to all the people that you wish to keep in touch with as an effort to retain contact.
So these are a few pointers that you can keep in mind which will definitely help you to get the most out of international conferences so that you can benefit from them and grow in your career. We hope you enjoy your experience and achieve what you have aimed to from the international conference you are visiting.