Your first ECS meeting – how to arrive and thrive
Welcome to your first ECS meeting! It can be overwhelming to attend a conference as eventful as an ECS meeting. We are here to help.
Grab a first-time attendee ribbon
Take a ribbon at registration so other attendees can identify first-timers. Your fellow electrochemists are eager to meet you!
Access the online program
Add the online program (when published) to your smartphone’s home screen. Or, bookmark it in the internet browser on any of your devices. View, add, and sync presentations, sessions, and events to create your custom itinerary.
Conference attire is business casual. Session rooms can get chilly, so dress in layers. Given the lengths you have to walk, wear comfortable walking shoes.
What to bring
- Business cards – You meet many current and future colleagues. Be prepared to hand out business cards so you are remembered. A good place to keep business cards is in the plastic sleeve behind your name tag.
- Day bag – Between early sessions and evening poster receptions, meeting days are long. There are limited opportunities to return to your hotel room during the day, so bring a backpack or briefcase to carry items you need. These may include a portable charger, gum/mints, meeting program, resumes, computer, cables, etc.
- Snacks and a reusable water bottle – Meals are not included in the cost of registration. To limit food expenses, find a grocery store on your first night and stock up on fruit, granola bars, etc.
- A notebook and pen – It may sound obvious, but be sure to have these on hand at all times.
- Name badge – Once you receive your badge at registration, be sure to keep it safe. It is required to access session rooms and the exhibit hall. There is a U.S. $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 like to attend. Remember, this is your time, so spend it as you wish.
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 a talk!
After deciding what you must attend, have fun deciding what else to see. Review the talks taking place during your open time blocks to determine if any are interesting or given by a mentor or favorite scientist. Keep a list of these sessions, but don’t stress about definitively picking one over another. Conversations with other attendees may help you decide—or influence you to attend something you hadn’t considered. Another strategy is to find a buddy to attend a different session in the same time slot. Then meet up afterward to share feedback.
Throughout the day(s) and prior to attending a session, check the cancelled presentation list in the online program. Don’t show up for a session to find it has 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 but be as quick and quiet as possible, and avoid blocking other attendees’ views. If you plan to attend the entire session, sit toward the front and middle of the room as people tend to cluster at the back.
If a symposium has a question and answer session, keep your question short. Do not preface your question with a long comment as this limits the time others have for their questions. You may want to briefly identify yourself and your institutional affiliation. Since there is no microphone, speak up and project your question to the entire room.
Please note, photography is not permitted in the technical session rooms.
For information on oral and poster presentation requirements such as 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 if they seem interested; ask if you can talk them through it or if they have any questions. Your body language is important.
- Make sure your poster is the right size – Avoid onsite stress by being properly prepared.
- Dress for success – A full suit may be somewhat formal for poster sessions. Business casual clothing is a good idea. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you are on your feet for the full two hours.
- Have an “elevator” pitch – To pique the interest of your audience, prepare a short 15-20 second synopsis of your research. Include three vital bits of information:
- What is your research topic
- What have you found
- Why it is important
- Practice makes perfect – Make sure to:
- Understand exactly what all the figures on the poster show. Be sure that you can explain them and their full implications.
- Have your brief synopsis memorized.
- Know all the key points of your research story without referring to written notes.
- Be ready to answer questions with confidence. Plan how to deal with difficult questions that you might not be able to fully answer.
- 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 thoroughly. 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 –
- Keep text on the slides to a minimum so your audience listens to you instead of reading your slides.
- Visuals like graphs and pictures should be clean and simple.
- Do not spend too much time on background information. Attendees are there to hear about your new research.
- Arrive early – Give yourself plenty of time to get to the session room and get familiar with the space.
- Bring a backup – In case something goes awry, bring an extra USB and email yourself the presentation.
- Issues? Look for the Session Chair. Navy blue Session Chair ribbons are on their nametags.
Conference connections can turn into excellent contacts when job searching. The meeting includes networking opportunities*, including:
Opening reception: Sunday at 1900h. Meet representatives from all of the ECS divisions here.
Division events: See the online program for more information.
Poster sessions: Monday through Wednesday from 1800-2000h.
Exhibit: Monday from 1800-2000h and Tuesday and Wednesday from 1400-2000h.
Networking and Coffee breaks: Sunday through Thursday from 0930-1030h and 1530-1630h.
*See the online program for exact times and locations.
Speak with your professors, colleagues, and friends before the meeting to determine who is attending. Connect with these people at the meeting as they can introduce you to their acquaintances. Widen your circle. As nice as it is to see a familiar face, resist the urge to remain glued to your friends!
“Pay it forward.” If you are in a group where you know 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 wait for a session to start or stand in line for coffee, strike up a conversation with the person in front of you. Say something as simple as “Are you enjoying the conference?” or “What session did you just attend?” These can start quick conversations, or they may open up longer ones.
If approaching strangers is too daunting, try asking a question at the end of a session or tagging the meeting on social media. This way you get your face and name out in the community, and that can be helpful in the future.
After the meeting, find the people you met on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you connect in the days immediately following the conference, they are more likely to 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 they see only once or twice a year. However, 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!