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Conference Tips and Networking Strategies: Making the Most of Your Conference Experience

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The 2018 AAAL Conference is quickly approaching! AAAL GSC is here to provide you with some conference tips and networking strategies to help you navigate the conference. First, we provide you with some general conference tips, which are followed by networking strategies.

General Conference Tips:

1. Before leaving for the conference, make sure that you’ve packed any items that will be necessary for you during your trip, such as a dongle for your laptop if you are presenting, chargers for both your laptop and phone, and business cards. While networking, business cards will be essential as they provide a way for you to share yourself with others.

2. Before arriving at the conference, take some time to review the schedule of events and online program. This will help you to plan for the sessions you’d like to attend and can also be a way to know where your favorite scholars will be during the conference

Schedule of Events:

Online program:

3. When you arrive at the conference, familiarize yourself with the hotel. You will be spending a lot of time at the conference, so it is advantageous to know where everything is located.

4. During the conference, taking notes during conference presentations can help you to remember information. There are many presentations during the conference, and taking notes will help ensure that you get the information that you need.

5. Take time to attend conference events with other graduate students as well as distinguished scholars. This is a great way for you to meet others in the field who may share similar interests.

Networking Strategies:

6. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone you may not know. If it is a presenter and you have questions, ask them during the time for questions and answers. After a presentation, share your business cards with audience members and with the presenter, which can help you connect with those individuals in the future.

7. Be prepared to sell yourself to others. Like a job talk, be able to describe yourself, interests, line of research, and plans for the future. This can be a great way to make yourself memorable, especially if you’re on the job market.

8. Have some conversation starters, such as:

· Where are you from?

· How long have you been interested in _____ topic?

· How did you become interested in _____ topic?

· What sessions are you looking forward to attending?

· What sessions have you attended?

· Are you attending any other conferences this year?

9. If you are an active gym goer, plan some time for the gym. This not only provides self-care, but can also be a way of meeting people from the conference.

10. Utilize social media to not only share information about the conference, but to also tag those with whom you’ve connected. Also, you can follow the scholars who you’re interested in connecting with, which can provide great starting points for a conversation.

*If you enjoyed these tips and would like more information, please join our upcoming webinar, “Get the Most out of the AAAL 2018 Conference”, with Dr. Suresh Canagarajah, Dr. Paul Matsuda, and Dr. Tim McNamara on Sunday, March 11th, 2018 at 4:00 pm (EST).

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