Your first ECS meeting: how to arrive and thrive
Welcome to your first ECS meeting! Attending a conference as eventful as an ECS meeting can be overwhelming, but we are here to help you navigate.
Attend the first time attendee orientation
This session gives you the unique opportunity to ask questions, get oriented with the space, learn about the schedule of events, and meet other first-timers!
Grab a first-time attendee ribbon
Be sure to take a ribbon at registration, so other attendees will know you are a first-timer. Your fellow electrochemists are eager to meet you!
Download the app
Download the ECS app, by searching “ECS mobile” in your app store, to put the technical program and personal meeting scheduler on your mobile device (as well as have access to the ECS Digital Library!). Browse, add, and sync sessions, events, and presentations to create your own custom itinerary.
The attire for the conference is business casual. Session rooms can get chilly so dress in layers. Given the amount of ground you are sure to cover, we recommend comfortable walking shoes.
What to bring
- Business cards – You will be meeting a lot of current and future colleagues, so be prepared to help them remember you by handing out your business card. A good place to stash your business cards is behind your name tag in the plastic sleeve.
- Day bag – Between early sessions and evening poster receptions, meeting days are long. Bring a backpack or briefcase to carry any items you need with you as there will not be many opportunities to go back to your hotel room throughout the day. Items for your bag may include: portable charger, gum/mints, meeting program, printed resumes, computer, cables, etc.
- Snacks and a reusable water bottle – ECS provides some food and beverages but you will want to supplement that. If you’re trying to limit your food budget, find a grocery store on your first night in town and stock up on fruit, granola bars, etc.
- A notebook and pen – It may sound obvious but you want to make sure you have these on hand at all times.
- Name badge – Once you get your badge at registration, make sure you keep it safe. You will need it to access the session rooms and exhibit hall, and there is a $30 charge for reprinting lost badges or tickets.
Choosing which sessions to attend
Selecting which sessions to attend requires striking a balance between what you “should” attend, and what you would really like to attend. Remember: This is your time, so spend it the way you want to.
It’s a good idea to go to a session when:
- Your friend, colleague, or professor is presenting.
- The session is about your field of study.
- The talks are about your specific project area.
- The topic may expand your knowledge of related research.
- You have to give your own talk!
After you’ve figured out what you have to attend, have some fun deciding what you want to see. Read through the sessions during your open time blocks to see if any of them sound interesting or will be given by a mentor or favorite scientist. Keep a list of these available sessions, but don’t stress about definitively picking one over another until the time comes. You will end up chatting with other attendees about pending sessions and they may lean toward one or the other or even suggest one you had not considered. Another strategy is to find a buddy to attend a different session in the same time slot and then meet up afterward to share feedback.
Be sure to check the ECS Mobile App throughout the day(s) to check the cancelled presentation list prior to attending the session. We do not want you to attend a session for a specific paper that may have been cancelled.
Attending a session
Only interested in the first speaker? Plan ahead and sit toward the back of the room. Feel free to leave early. If you do, be as quick and quiet as you can, and try to minimize how much you are blocking other attendees’ views of the presentations. If you do plan to attend the entire session, move toward the front and the middle as people tend to cluster toward the back of the room.
If a session has a question-and-answer portion, keep your question short. Do not preface your question with a long comment, as this cuts down on the amount of time others have to ask questions. If you are comfortable, you may want to briefly identify yourself and your institutional affiliation. There will not be a microphone so be prepared to speak up and project your question to the entire room.
Please note, photography is not permitted in the technical session rooms.
For information on both oral and poster presentation requirements, like session room equipment and poster dimensions click here.
Presenting a poster:
- Be welcoming: Smile and say hello to everyone who walks past and looks at you or your poster. Invite them to read more and, if they seem interested, ask if they would like you to talk them through it or if they have any questions. Body language goes a long way.
- Make sure your poster is the right size: Avoid onsite stress by ensuring you are properly prepared.
- Dress for success: While a full suit may be a little formal for the poster sessions, dressing in smart, business casual clothing is a good idea. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet for the entire two hours.
- Have an “elevator” pitch: To pique the interest of your audience, have a short synopsis (15-20 seconds) of your research prepared which contains three vital bits of information:
- What is your research topic?
- What have you found?
- Why is that important?
- Practice makes perfect: Make sure that you:
- Understand exactly what all the figures on the poster show, that you can explain them fully, and know their full implications.
- Have your brief synopsis memorized.
- Know all the key points to your research story without referring to written notes.
- Are ready to answer questions with confidence, and know how to deal with difficult questions that you might not be able to answer fully.
- Make them remember you: Have the following items ready to give away:
- Your business card or resume.
- A smaller (8.5×11” or A4 sized) copy of your poster.
Presenting an oral talk:
- Practice and prepare: Know your slides inside out, they should serve as a guide, not a script. Rehearse in private, and in front of a friend. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel.
- Tips for a noteworthy talk:
- You want your audience to listen to you instead of reading from your slides, so less is more in terms of the text on the slides.
- Keep visuals, like graphs and pictures, clean and simple.
- Do not spend too much time focusing on the background information, attendees are there to hear more about your new research.
- Arrive early: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the session room and get acclimated with the space.
- Bring a backup: Consider an extra USB and emailing yourself the presentation in case something goes awry.
- Issues? Look for the session chair. They’ll have a navy blue Session Chair ribbon on their nametag.
Conference connections can turn into excellent contacts when you begin your next job search. The meeting includes several built-in networking opportunities*, including:
Opening reception: Sunday at 1900h. You will have the opportunity to meet each of the divisions here as well.
Division events: See the online program for more information.
Poster sessions: Monday – Wednesday from 1800-2000h.
Exhibit: Monday 1800-2000h and Tuesday/Wednesday: 1400-2000h.
Networking and coffee break: Sunday – Thursday: 0930-1000h and 1530-1630h.
*see the online program for exact times/locations.
It is always a good idea to talk with your professors, colleagues, and friends beforehand to see who will be attending the meeting. Be sure to connect with these people while you are there, as they can introduce you to their acquaintances. As nice as it is to see a familiar face, resist the urge to remain glued to your friends!
Always pay it forward, if you happen to be in a group in which you know a number of people who may not know each other, take a minute to make sure everyone is introduced. Simply sharing a name and institution can often start conversations and connections.
As you are waiting for a session to start or are standing in line for coffee, try striking up a conversation with the person in front of you by saying something as simple as “How are you enjoying the conference?” or “What session did you just come from?” These can be quick conversations, or they may open up the possibility for a longer one.
If going up to strangers seems too daunting, try asking a question at the end of a session or tagging the meeting on social media. You will begin to get your face and name out in the community, and that can be helpful down the road.
Once you return home, take a look on LinkedIn or Twitter for the people you met. If you connect in the days immediately following the conference, they will probably still remember you and accept your invitation to connect.
No matter what venue you choose for networking, remember that you cannot meet everyone who goes to the meeting. Some seasoned professionals treat meetings like reunions and don’t stray far from the colleagues whom they see only once or twice a year. But many experienced, “famous”, scientists love meeting newer ECS members and attendees. If there is someone whose ideas interest you, introduce yourself and discuss their ideas—or yours!