Academic conferences are places for researchers, academicians, scholars, and other professionals to meet, discuss and share ideas, talk about upcoming papers or projects, and network. However, attending conferences can seem like an overwhelming or even frightening task for some.
That may be because there’s a perceived fear that you must bring and present something of value to other experts, get abstracts or papers accepted, or that you can only attend if you have experience in your field.
The good news? We’re getting rid of those fears today! There are countless benefits to attending an academic conference, and they far outweigh any fears that may be present. Learn about the five benefits of attending academic conferences.
Why Researchers Should Attend Conferences
One of the biggest benefits of attending an academic conference is networking; meeting experts in your field or others. Say you need advice from an expert in your field, or you want to ask someone to give a talk at your institution; this is much easier to do when you have a network of like-minded people to reach out to.
You may also find other researchers or scholars at similar stages in their careers as you who can empathize with your situation, further building a network of trust. Feel free to add people you meet to your list of reviewers for upcoming papers, and be prepared to be invited to join collective research projects.
Learn New Skills
Soft skills like communication and presentation skills are crucial in the research world. If you can’t communicate or present your ideas and findings in a clear and meaningful way, you may struggle to find others to support your work. Thankfully, conferences are an excellent place to practice these skills.
Consider rehearsing a presentation or poster talk before a conference to make you more comfortable with a live audience. Also, once you finish a conference presentation, answer any questions and speak with peers to sharpen your communication skills.
Additionally, by listening to other conference speakers and presentations, you’ll learn and improve your own communication skills and knowledge of how to give presentations and become a subject matter expert. Don’t forget to add the conference to your CV, especially if you’re a presenter! Selection committee members are more likely to hire someone they already know and trust; hence, networking is crucial.
Get Feedback on Your Work
Presenting your work to a room full of other like-minded people can be nerve-wracking. You may think that your work is not complete, or maybe your audience will be overly critical. Perhaps you submitted a paper in the call for papers, and you have doubts. However, don’t let this discourage you from presenting your work. Sure, it’s important to have something presentable. But even if you have some hypotheses, a theoretical framework, or a literature review, that’s fine.
Use your presentation time to talk about your paper or any recent research results you obtained from an experiment. Encourage your peers to provide feedback, exchange ideas, and candidly discuss the framework/article/experiment’s strengths and weaknesses. The feedback you receive from the audience can help you anticipate reviewers’ comments if you want to publish your work in the future.
Similarly, if you have more well-established work, present that and any ideas you may have for future experiments to get feedback that’ll be useful. You may even find someone who wants to collaborate and help you develop your work further.
Hear About Preliminary Findings Before Others
An academic conference is the place to be if you want to hear about the latest research findings in your field before they’re published in journals. You’ll get a peek at what others are working on and get inspired for your own research, refine some of your ideas, or even change your mind about key issues in your field.
Remember to take every claim you hear with a grain of salt and always check the research and methodology yourself.
Remember that you can’t be all work and no fun all the time. Most academic conferences are relaxed, friendly affairs that encourage you to interact with like-minded individuals. Maybe you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been before or virtually chatting with experts in your field; there’s always something new to learn.
For example, other countries have unique ways of thinking, studying, developing policies, or approaching issues. You may think or know ways to solve some of these issues or simply learn something new that sparks an interest in you or your work. You might even make some new friends.
H2: Orvium Sets You Up For Success
As you’ve seen, there are plenty of reasons to attend academic conferences, so don’t let your fear get the better of you. If an in-person conference seems like too much, consider a virtual one instead! You may even hold a virtual presentation to hone in on your communication and presentation skills and become more comfortable (check your conference website, as this information is readily available).
We at Orvium understand that conferences can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s why we want to simplify a part of the process by allowing you to join communities and quickly publish your work on our intuitive platform.
Curious to know more about conferences? Read our Full Guide to Planning an Academic Conference.