Surviving Conferences

6. After the conference

Set aside time to reflect on the conference and digest the ideas.  Too often an immediate return to the normal working environment drives them from mind.

Make a list of things you are going to do as a result of the people you’ve met, the things you’ve heard and the ideas you’ve had so that the event makes a difference and becomes a real piece of professional development.



  1. Go back through your notes if they are not held in a searchable electronic format (a personal blog or wiki is very useful for keeping conference notes in a searchable form) and ‘tag’ items with keywords at the top of each page. When you are flicking through at a later date, trying desperately to remember who it was that did the really interesting presentation you know is relevant to today’s task, just a cursory glance at your keywords will quickly locate the page you are seeking.

    Comment by Simon Ball — September 26, 2008 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  2. It is easy after a conference to simply relax on the train (etc.) or talk to colleagues travelling with you – both valuable things to do – but there is a short period of perhaps an hour or two when it is all still fresh in your mind, and yet you have space for something of an overview.
    It is very helpful to use this unrepeated slot of time to ‘tidy up’ your thinking, put your keywords at the top of the page, list what it is you want to say to whom, write a question or suggestion to yourself, note the further resources you are going to consult, note ideas for writing or funding, develop or re-evaluate your planned actions, and so on. Making best use of this period can drive you forward in your work.

    Comment by Richard Young — September 26, 2008 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  3. One habit I now try to do is to send a short greeting email to people I particularly ‘clicked’ with at a meeting (whether socially or research-wise); pretty much just to say hello and how nice it was to meet them (and to send them anything they were interested in receiving, etc.). It also makes sure they have your email address correctly if they are someone you want to collaborate with later on. I now have some email contacts that surface every 6 months or so (usually when planning the next conference), but also got contacted about one joint research project through this practice after sending a copy of a poster.

    Comment by Leonie Barnett — November 10, 2008 @ 5:54 am | Reply

  4. Just to add to point 3 – Connect with people via LinkedIn, follow on Twitter and circle on Google+. For those not so good at remembering names or organised enough not to lose exchanged business cards, this is a great way to keep in touch and bios/photos/avatars a good prompt to remind who they are!

    Comment by Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) — September 6, 2012 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

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