The months between September and December, and between May and June, signify the busiest periods of the medical conference calendar. Each conference offers its own wealth of information and myriad networking opportunities that can be overwhelming if you are underprepared.
Here we present our hints and tips to ensure you can get the most out of these events.
- Do your research! As simple as it sounds, researching a conference beforehand is a process that is often overlooked. Build a schedule for yourself based on the conference’s agenda so you don’t miss out on those sessions most relevant to you and look out for ways to catch up on any talks you may not get an opportunity to attend through the conference’s dedicated webpages.
- Review the conference webpages. Most conferences have some form of official page, either through a social media platform such as Twitter or through a dedicated website. In both instances, you will find plenty of useful information you can access before you decide to set off to the conference, including agendas, delegate lists, travel logistics and presentation summaries or abstracts.
- Follow the conference social media channels. The majority of conferences can be followed on social media. Bigger conferences, such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology or American Urological Association annual meetings, have their own dedicated hashtags on Twitter to help you find relevant discussions. Facebook pages, Google+ and LinkedIn profiles will often advertise content for an upcoming event.
- Check for press releases beforehand. Medical conference websites will likely have a link to a press or news room where press releases will be released before the event. If not, it’s always a good idea to contact a member of the media relations team and ask for any planned press releases. You might find something highly relevant to your organization which may persuade you to go to one presentation over another.
- Announce your presence at an upcoming conference. If you have decided to attend a specific event, it is always a good idea to announce your attendance beforehand using a social media platform. Using a dedicated conference hashtag in a tweet for example will indicate to others that you will be at the event, opening up the opportunity for a potential conversation or collaboration further down the road.
- Plan your visit beforehand. Ensure you know the practicalities of your conference location. Plan your travel ahead of time to avoid paying top dollar for transport, consider access needs at the venue and make sure you know what is on offer in terms of food and drink in case of any special requirements.
- Networking. Conferences are a great networking opportunity. Make sure you go prepared with business cards to hand out to those you talk to and take a look at any attendee lists beforehand to see if there is anyone in particular you may want to meet while you’re there. For more hints and tips on networking, read our full article here.
- Using social media. Social media is a key source of information when attending a conference. Checking Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds can help you plan your visit beforehand, participate in discussions on-site and see who is most active during the event. For lots more hints and tips on getting the most out of social media at medical conferences, read our full article here.
Following the suggestions above will help turn what can be an overwhelming period of events into a manageable, enjoyable and rewarding experience for you and your company.