Guide to Con­fer­ence Prepa­ra­tion

mailife - - Contents - By DR VANISHA MISHRA-VAKAOTI

Con­fer­ences have be­come a large as­pect of busi­ness, ad­vo­cacy and youth work as well as a long­stand­ing fea­ture of academia. While most aca­demics and busi­ness peo­ple are of­ten sea­soned con­fer­ence go­ers, new­com­ers to the arena can some­times feel in­tim­i­dated and over­whelmed. Here are a few prac­ti­cal tips to help you pre­pare for con­fer­ences and make the most out of them. Be In­formed: Col­lect as much in­for­ma­tion as you can. What are the themes and ob­jec­tives of the con­fer­ence, who are the donors, what or­gan­i­sa­tion is host­ing the con­fer­ence and the like. In­for­ma­tion of this na­ture al­lows you to make the most of the op­por­tu­nity and present your­self as some­one who is se­ri­ous about be­ing there. What’s Ex­pected of You: Why are you go­ing to this con­fer­ence? Were you cho­sen to at­tend? Why were you cho­sen? You’ll want to make sure you can live up to the ap­pli­ca­tion you sent in if you ap­plied to at­tend the con­fer­ence. If you are ex­pected to have a pa­per ready be­fore the con­fer­ence it is im­por­tant that you get this done. If you are rep­re­sent­ing a spe­cific or­gan­i­sa­tion or will be ad­vo­cat­ing on a par­tic­u­lar topic, read up. Ap­ply the first point – be in­formed. Your Goals: Set a few goals for each spe­cific con­fer­ence. It might be to learn a cer­tain skill, con­nect with a par­tic­u­lar group of peo­ple or learn more about a spe­cific topic. How will you know if the con­fer­ence has been use­ful if you don’t set goals and then re­flect on them at the end of the con­fer­ence? Who Else is Go­ing: Most con­fer­ences of­fer par­tic­i­pant lists, or at the very least, a list of speak­ers or pre­sen­ters. This is handy as it al­lows you to see, at a glance who else is go­ing and the or­gan­i­sa­tions that will be rep­re­sented. This helps if you are par­tic­u­larly keen on meet­ing some­one or con­nect­ing with a par­tic­u­lar or­gan­is­tion. I do not like leav­ing en­coun­ters of this na­ture to chance and if there are many peo­ple at­tend­ing, it is use­ful to have a men­tal (or pa­per) list of peo­ple you re­ally want to con­nect with. If there isn’t a handy list, you could al­ways use so­cial me­dia to seek out other par­tic­i­pants. Scan the Sched­ule: If the con­fer­ence sched­ule is avail­able make a list of all the ses­sions that may be of in­ter­est to you and rank them in or­der of pref­er­ence. This way if your first ses­sion of choice is full, you are not wast­ing any time fig­ur­ing out what the other ses­sions are and if you want to at­tend. It is worth keep­ing in mind that it is un­likely that all the ses­sions are go­ing to be use­ful for you, so mindfully re­ally nar­row it down to the ones you think will be of great­est in­ter­est and will help you achieve your con­fer­ence goals. Look Up and Con­nect With the Speak­ers: Look up as many of the speak­ers as you can. This can be done through their web­sites, pub­lished work or even so­cial me­dia (this is not to sug­gest you try adding them as Face­book friends, keep it pro­fes­sional). Try to get a bet­ter feel of who they are and how their work might re­late to yours. A Con­tact Card or Busi­ness Card: Not ev­ery­one has or wants a busi­ness card, for many years I was in the lat­ter cat­e­gory but now I use them a lot. I do not sug­gest sim­ply hand­ing them out to groups of peo­ple (and yes, sadly this hap­pens). If you’re pre­sent­ing at a con­fer­ence, you can leave your con­tact cards at the venue so peo­ple can help them­selves. For peo­ple I have en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion with, I might scrib­ble words of thanks (‘thank you for the won­der­ful in­sight into the work you’re do­ing’). This per­sonal touch can make all the dif­fer­ence in help­ing you (and your card) stand out to some­one who has per­haps ‘col­lected’ a stack of busi­ness cards. [To be able to write on your cards en­sure that they are printed on ma­te­rial that al­lows you to eas­ily write on them with­out smudg­ing] Con­fer­ences by na­ture can be ex­haust­ing and it is very easy to be­come over­whelmed. By spend­ing time care­fully think­ing about your goals and what you wish to ac­com­plish, your at­ten­dance at con­fer­ences can be­come more pro­duc­tive and en­joy­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.