Preparing for a Conference


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This workshop will help you prepare for and successfully attend a scientific meeting.

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Preparing for a Conference

  1. 1. How To Prepare For A Scientific Meeting Emil Bogenmann, PhD, EdD March 10, 2014
  2. 2. 2 Group Activity Discuss with your group the reasons why scientists attend meetings
  3. 3. 3 Learn about new developments in your field Broaden your knowledge of the your field Get experience in presenting your research Get feedback on your presentation and research Develop your network and contacts Many Reasons
  4. 4. 4 Learn about employment opportunities Learn about steps important for your career Learn about the latest research technology Learn about possible funding opportunities Meet with funding agency officials Many Reasons
  5. 5. 5 Which Meeting To Go To? Be selective Know the purpose why you want to go Consider the cost and time
  6. 6. 6 What Type Of Meetings Are There? Small Size: 100 to 500 participants (i.e., Keystone Meetings, Gordon Conference), Focused on a particular field Highly selective Limited number of acceptances
  7. 7. 7 Medium Size: 1,000 to 3,000 participants Small Society Meeting, TL1/KL2 National Meeting Career Development Workshops Many Different Topics Plenary Sessions Specialty Workshops Oral and Poster Session Advocacy and Funding Agency/Officials Exhibits
  8. 8. 8 Large Size: More than 10, 000 participants All of the above and much, much more, (Satellite Meetings) Demanding Exhausting Easy to get lost
  9. 9. What To Do Before The Meeting Register in time Make travel arrangements Make hotel reservation Plan your meeting! Prepare your presentation
  10. 10. 10 Planning Your Meeting Know what the purpose is of going Study the meeting program ahead and decide which sessions/workshops/meetings you want to go to Be selective, do not plan too much Build in some time for networking Build in some time for relaxation and exercise
  11. 11. 11 Planning Ahead Study the abstracts, know which presentations you want or need to see/attend Know where your presentation will be, look up the room Work with colleagues to share information, but go on your own, enhances possibilities to meet others Arrange with a colleague if there are concurrent events you would like to see/attend Arrange to meet each other to debrief
  12. 12. 12 Planning Ahead Plan time for networking Identify in advance who you want to meet, arrange a time Ask your mentor for help with making connections Be proactive, talk with people in the elevator, in a food line or someone sitting next to you at the table or meeting room
  13. 13. 13 Planning Ahead Practice a 2-minute informal introduction! Who are you and what do you do? What is your research project? How did you get interested in your research? Why did you chose to work in this area? What do you plan to do in the future?
  14. 14. 14 Planning Ahead Assemble a conference binder, notebook that includes Information about your sessions you want/need to attend Divide it into each day, have a schedule outlined Of the events and their locations Have a notebook to write down information/contacts Have printouts of your resume or bio-sketch Have sufficient numbers of business cards to hand out
  15. 15. On A Personal Note Study the city where the meeting is held Look up opportunities to spend free time Make sure you have the right clothing for the meeting and free time
  16. 16. Your Poster Presentation Introduction Methods Research Question Hypothesis Results Summary Conclusions Acknowledgments Title Authors and Addresses 4-6 Figures
  17. 17. What makes for a successful Poster? Adhere to specifications given by the meeting Title: 120 Section Labels: 32-48 Font size Do not include too much text Your poster should be visual Do not overload the poster Use bullets, no sentences
  18. 18. 18 Pins Extra Figures Paper A well prepared 3 min presentation explaining your research What to Bring?
  19. 19. 19 Poster Presentation Introduction 0.5 min Internal Section Method Data Conclusion 2 min Closing 0.5 min Questions As requested Turn off your cell phone
  20. 20. Be Proactive and take the initiative by asking: “Do you want me to walk through my poster?” Speak slowly and concisely and make eye contact with the visitor Introduce yourself Listen carefully to the visitors comments While At Your Poster
  21. 21. 21 While At Your Poster Write comments down Do not be defensive with your answers Get contact information Thank the visitor Please stay at your poster the entire time
  22. 22. 22 Talking to Poster Presenters Introduce yourself and be courteous Don’t be shy to talk with poster presenters Ask “Could you please give me a brief overview of your poster?” Feel free to ask probing questions, you may want to offer suggestions Thank the presenter You may want to leave your contact information
  23. 23. 23 Introduction 2 min Internal Section Method Data Conclusion 7 min Closing 1 min Questions As requested Your Oral Presentation Generally a 10 min talk with 5 min for questions
  24. 24. 24 Your Oral Presentation Remember you are telling a story! Consider 2-3 points you want the audience to remember Consider 1 slide per minute of your talk Think how you transition from one point to the next Repeat your main points at least twice It’s a privilege to present an oral presentation
  25. 25. 25 Preparing Your Presentation Outline your presentation before making slides Know your talking points Bullet the introduction with the big picture in mind Give a Research Question and a Hypothesis Give an abbreviated overview of your methods Use graphs rather than tables when possible
  26. 26. 26 Preparing Your Presentation Pay attention to the color schema you use Use a sufficiently large font size for reading afar Use sufficiently large font size for figures/graphs Use questions for titles of data slides Give a statement on the bottom of a data slide Do not use animation
  27. 27. 27 Preparing Your Presentation Write out your entire presentation Make flashcards for help Practice your presentation with mentors and peers Time your presentation
  28. 28. 28 Presenting your Presentation Gather yourself and thank the organizer Speak slowly and with a natural flow Make eye contact with the audience Do not read your presentation! Keep your pointer steady, point to what you want the audience to focus on
  29. 29. 29 Presenting your Presentation Explain each data slide, define x and y axis Provide a summary for each data slide Thank your mentors and collaborators Thank the audience for their attention
  30. 30. 30 Listen carefully to the questions. Repeat the question Answer honestly. Don’t fake. Don’t be defensive! Write any suggestion down After Your Presentation It is a good strategy to stay around after the session
  31. 31. 31 Asking Questions At Oral Presentations Think carefully about your question Be brief when asking a question Don’t be overly critical Thank the presenter Introduce yourself
  32. 32. 32 Some Final Thoughts Be an active participant of the meeting! Ask questions and provide suggestions Use your time effectively Identify new ideas, novel data or research questions that you would like your colleagues to know Remember, you are supported to attend the meeting!