Friday, April 1, 2011

Tell us! How do you survive a HUGE conference?

(Copyright) Kreher, Y. W. Not to be used without permission.
What are things to do or bring to AERA Annual Meetings to make new friends and facilitate future collaborations?

1. "Business" Cards! There are templates available online and you can also use the ones available in MS Publisher. Make sure they are professional looking.

2. Attend Division/SIG/University business meetings and socials. Some friends said to me, "But you are so sociable! I'm not!" For tips on how to survive conferences for introverts, check out The Introverted Nerd's Conference Survival Guide. An AERA conference can be overwhelming but I find that if I go to any conference with the attitude to learn and make friends, things become a little less overwhelming.Also, the way out of one's discomfort zone is to act and think less about it. :)

3.Wear business attire - be casually elegant. Look professional. No jeans in my humble opinion! No flip flops or slippers please.

4. Prepare and rehearse your "elevator speech". People -- faculty and peers -- will want to know who you are, what you do and what your dissertation is about. Be ready to tell your short story. Articulate it in the time it takes the elevator to move from the bottom to the top floor -- metaphorically -- and without jargon because the people you meet may not come from your discipline.

What else? Tell us your experience and we'll be happy to add to this list!

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