Your first PRiME meeting: how to arrive and thrive
Attend the first time attendee orientation
This session is a unique opportunity to ask questions, get oriented with the space, learn about the schedule of events, and meet other first-timers!
Download the app
Download the ECS app and put the technical program and personal meeting scheduler on your mobile device (and have access to the ECS Digital Library!). Simply search “ECS mobile” in your app store. Then browse, add, and sync sessions, events, and presentations to create your own custom meeting itinerary.
Conference attire is business casual. The Hawaii Convention Center is an open-air facility, so dress accordingly for the warm and humid weather. Given the amount of walking you will do to and from the venue and between sessions, we recommend comfortable walking shoes.
What to bring
- Business cards– You will meet many current and future colleagues. Be prepared to hand them your business card so they will remember you. A good place to keep 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. As there are few opportunities to return to your hotel room during the day, bring a backpack or briefcase to carry items you need. These may include a portable charger, gum/mints, a meeting program, printed 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 make sure to have these on hand at all times.
- Name badge– Once you receive your badge at registration, be sure to keep it safe. You need it to access the session rooms and 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 the way you prefer.
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 decide what you must attend, have some fun deciding what else you want to see. Read the session descriptions 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 do not stress about definitively picking one over another. Conversations with other attendees may help you decide or influence you to attend something you had not 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.
Always check the cancelled presentation list on the ECS Mobile App throughout the day(s) and prior to attending a session.
Attending a session
Only interested in the first speaker? Plan ahead and sit toward the back of the room. Feel free to leave early. However, if you do, 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. As 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 ensuring that you are properly prepared.
- Dress for success: A full suit may be somewhat formal for the poster sessions. Business casual clothing is a good idea. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you are on your feet for the entire two hours.
- Have an “elevator” pitch: To pique the interest of your audience, prepare a short 15-20 second synopsis of your research. It should contain 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. 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. Know 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″x11” 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:
- As you want your audience to listen to you instead of reading from your slides, keep text on the slides to a minimum.
- 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 acclimated 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. They have navy blue Session Chair ribbons on their nametags.
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 have the opportunity to meet representatives from all of the 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 break: Sunday through Thursday from 0930-1000h and 1530-1630h.
*see the online program for exact times/locations.
It is a good idea to talk with your professors, colleagues, and friends beforehand to determine who is attending the meeting. Be sure to connect with these people at the meeting 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 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, try striking up a conversation with the person in front of you by saying something as simple as “Are you enjoying the conference?” or “What session did you just attend?” These can be quick conversations, or they may open up the possibility for a longer one.
If going up to 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 down the road.
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. 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!