Posted Jan. 20, 2014
Conferences give postgraduate students a chance to present their research confidently to large audiences and to hone their skills in relation to their career prospects. If you have been thinking of attending or presenting a paper in a conference though, you have to know how to find one that is relevant to your field so you are sure to spend your time and resources wisely. How can you go about this? Here are some pointers to guide you: Assess The Conference Details In Advance Conferences need a lot of work in terms of mental preparation. Other than that, they can be quite expensive to attend. You can however deal better with this by looking at the conference details upfront so you are certain that the event is not just vaguely relevant. Besides, sometimes there may be reduced rates or some form of funding provided through travel bursaries and made available to postgraduates. By doing a bit of research, you can find out about such issues so your finances are in place by the time you head out for the conference.
Network Before you leave the conference venue, it’s important that you identify whose work you would like to read and who you would want to talk to. Even if whoever you target seems very busy, you can get their email and contact them afterwards. Through these means, you can make your way into organizations, committees and interest groups that will always keep you on the loop concerning conferences in your line of interest. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t focus too much on retaining all the contacts you make because even one good one can still work in your favor.
Liaise With Peers For every conference you attend, you will come across hundreds if not thousands of students and professional from different regions and with diverse interests. Thus, as you go for such events, you need to be well prepared so you connect with peers who will not only assist you with your papers, but also help you stay informed about similar events that may take place in future.
Getting Accommodation During Conferences In most instances, even when you are presenting, you will have to cater for your travel and accommodation expenses from your pocket – this is why you need to look into such issues before you set out. With regard to this, you can opt for dormitory accommodation where you may get rooms with shared baths or single rooms that you will have to yourself. Single rooms will cost you more, but still, this will be nothing compared to the expenses you would incur if you opted for a hotel. Regardless of what you prefer though, it’s good to pick whatever is within your means.
As you go on with your postgraduate training, attending conferences can help you build your CV and enhance your academic profile. Due to their intimate format, such conferences will also make it possible for you to keep track of new developments in your industry, improve your presentation skills, and gather ideas through the in-depth discussions in your daily sessions. To maximize on the time you spend at the conference, it’s important that you follow the ideas given during presentations and put down the most relevant points on paper . It’s just as important to write down questions which you may ask at the end, or discuss with the presenter over a meal during breaks. Remember, what matters most is for you to learn something that will stimulate your thinking and enable you to advance in your academics and future career.
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