How I prepare for a conference
It’s Friday afternoon and I’m wrapping things up in the office in preparation to fly out Sunday to Baltimore for the conference. I’m excited to attend my favorite conference of the year and want to get the most out of it, so here’s what I’ve done to prepare:
- Downloaded the conference app – makes it easier to navigate during the conference (thanks, INFORMS, for going green with the app and the mini-program guides)
- Reviewed the list of members attending and arranged meetings with old friends as well as new contacts I want to make – if you are an INFORMS members you can login to the INFORMS site, go to My Communities, and join the one for the conference. Under the members tab you can see all attendees. This is a great way to see who you know who is attending as well as possible contacts in your field to whom you can connect in advance.
- Planned my agenda, using the posted presentations – using the same login information as above, view the library tab, where you can see conference presentations of speakers. Some, like me, will have changed theirs slightly, but it will give you a good feel for the content. I rigorously make a schedule in advance, so that if I’m in an interesting between session conversation I can decide whether I can continue it or whether I’d marked one of the next sessions as essential.
- Looked nearby to see what, if anything, I’ll have time to do locally while I’m there. Usually I like to find an interesting restaurant and art museum. If I can on this trip I plan to check out a nearby raw food place and the American Visionary Art Museum, which I’ve visited before and has great outsider art. I prefer to squeeze in a little birding if possible, but since someone made a very BAD decision to schedule board/committee meetings for me both days at 7:00 a.m. that won’t be happening this trip!
- Scheduled additional meetings while I’m in town. At a past INFORMS Annual meeting I heard great papers on applications of advanced analytics in health care by academics at Johns Hopkins and Maryland, so I’ve lined up meetings with them on Wednesday.
Now I just have to go home and pack!