When you want to move forward in your academic life, you should make time to attend conferences. Writing and presenting papers can be stressful, and going to a conference could even make you even more anxious. However, you should not let that stop you. There is much for you to gain from attending a conference, and you should not pass up the chance. Below are four examples in how conferences can give your career a boost.
Test the audience’s response to the initial results of your latest project
If you need to present at a conference, you might be tempted to stick with your old presentations because you know how your audience will react to it. However, if you do that, you will pass up on an opportunity to test the audience’s response to a new project that you might be working on. Conferences provide you with a great opportunity to bring up new studies or research that you are working on. The response from your audience is a good indicator of what kind of reviews you might get once your results are published. If you still would rather present your established work to be on the safe side, you can still bring up your new projects after your formal presentation to get initial feedback. You will be among your peers in your field, and their insight on the strengths and weaknesses of your preliminary results will be valuable feedback in helping you polish your final publication.
Meet other experts in your field
A conference provides a valuable venue for meeting other professionals in your field. It provides countless opportunities for you to build your network. In the professional world, networking is essential for career development, and it can open doors for you. Think of this as building a network of experts whom you can tap for advice and information. It can become a pool of special speakers if you ever want to invite an expert to your institution to give a talk. You can also meet people who are going through similar challenges in their careers so you won’t feel alone in your struggles. You can benefit from their empathy as well as provide them with your own support. If you are looking to bring your team closer together, I would recommend doing some research into online team building.
Get news on the latest research
News on the latest findings is usually revealed to professionals during conferences before the information is released in a publication. A lot of researchers like to present their initial results or projects at a conference before publishing it. Just keep in mind that the data is preliminary, and it is up to you to evaluate the methodology and data with a critical eye in order to confirm its accuracy. With that said, just hearing about new ideas and research from your peers might inspire you in your own endeavours.
Refine your communication and presentation skills
In any career, whether you are in research or academia, good communication and presentation skills are extremely important. Conferences provide you with many opportunities to polish your skills. You can practise with a small poster presentation to build your comfort level in presenting in front of others, then expand it to a bigger audience. Rehearse your talk. You will start to find out the ideal speed in which you should talk and how much detail to go into in your explanations. Engaging with the audience during and after your presentation will give you more confidence in communicating with them.