Education, Early Career, Outreach

ASLO meeting checklist: A guide to a productive and successful meeting

ASLO meetings provide an opportunity to hear about the latest research in our field, but perhaps just as importantly, they provide an opportunity to network with your peers and well established scientists. Having a broad multi-disciplinary network of national and international colleagues is a great advantage. Remember no one is unapproachable, especially if you first discuss some of their work. They will be flattered and you will have their full attention.

Here are some guidelines to consider:

Before the meeting

  • Read the program and highlight talks, posters and sessions that you would like to attend. Try to prioritize, but don’t worry about conflicts since you can sort them out on-the-fly.
  • Make a note of where and when any colleagues or scientists you would like to meet are presenting.
  • You may consider emailing people you would like to meet before the conference and try to arrange a time to meet during the conference. Remember to explain your work and what you would like to discuss.
  • Obtain business cards with your contact details.

During the meeting

  • Each morning read the program and your short list of presentations to attend. Check where the sessions are and how feasible it will be to get from one to the other. Note: it is often best to find sessions where you can sit through several talks of interest rather than run from one session to the next.
  • If you are going to be in a particular session for a while (i.e. whole morning or afternoon), try sitting up front so you can see and hear best and are not disturbed by others running in and out. If you are only there for one talk, sit at the back so you do not disturb others when leaving. Try to avoid leaving in the middle of a presentation.
  • Read name badges suitably as you go about the conference and make sure yours is also visible. It is a great opportunity to put faces to names and also introduce yourself to others within your field (potential collaborators and/or reviewers).
  • Attend poster sessions and participate actively in discussions with the presenters but also with others at the session. This is an excellent opportunity to meet people and attract future graduate students, post-docs and collaborators.
  • During talks, try your best to come up with a good question for the presenter. You might not have the opportunity to ask it at the end of their talk, but if it is a good one, try to catch them afterwards or later on in the conference. This is a great way to “break the ice” and also a great way to sharpen your senses and keep focused during talks (even boring ones!).

After the meeting

  • Review your notes. Are there any new ideas or techniques you would like to include in your current research or incorporate in future funding applications?
  • Follow up on any contacts that you made during the conference and exchange papers. Is there anything you have promised to send to others?
  • Discuss how the conference went with your colleagues. They may be interested in joining you next time.
  • Make a note of the research groups that presented exciting results and carry out a literature search on their work.

See you at the next ASLO meeting!

ASLO Early Career Committee