Fireside Chat: How to Be Successful at a Conference

You are prepared to attend the conference.  You’ve done you preplanning.  Now what?  Let’s talk about being at the conference and what you can do to be successful.

Imagine – see yourself at the conference. See yourself walking with confidence the whole time you are at the meeting. Even if you are an introvert like I am.  It’s important that others perceive you as having confidence.  I always say – Walk like you are in NYC (New York City). That is, walk like you know where you are going even if you don’t.  Don’t appear like a deer in headlights.

Name tags – pesky and annoying as they are, they are important. A valuable lesson I learned from a politician was to wear your name tag on your right side.  It feels comfortable and natural for me to place it on my left side given that I am right handed.

The politician explained to me that the reason for wearing the name tag on the right side was so when you extend your hand to shake and introduce yourself with your name, that person you are meeting can look up from your hand/arm to your name tag and see your face.  The association of name and face is important and helps people to remember who you are.

If your name tag is on the left side, then the person you are meeting has to lean over to read your name while trying to shake your hand and then back to see your face. It doesn’t flow.

What do you do if that name tag is on a string?  Never fails that string is too long. For me, I find the name tag on the string hangs down to my midsection.  I don’t want someone bending down to read my name tag around my stomach.

There is an easy fix. I always pack two magnets. I place one magnet on the inside of the back portion of the plastic cover of the name tag and the other magnet behind my jacket or shirt on the RIGHT side and not hang the name tag on the string.

If I forget to bring my magnets then I tie up the string to shorten it.  That just doesn’t work ask well as having the name tag on my right side.

Appearance – Be mindful of what you wear to the conference. Your appearance is so important. You have less than 10 seconds to make that first impression and it is a lasting one.

It’s not easy to interpret what is meant by business casual, especially for women.  For the men, it usually means a shirt, no tie, and a jacket or a golf shirt and jacket.   For women there is not a standard business casual uniform. So what I say is this … it’s not tee shirts and flip flops.

You always want to look like the professional you are. Most decisions about a person are made nonverbally as you walk through the door.

Quick Recap

  • Remember name tag on the right side
  • Walk with confidence.
  • Dress and look like a professional who already has the job
  • Enjoy the conference!

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drmgrasso

My experience as the chief academic officer and administrator charged with providing vision and leadership in planning, guiding, and coordinating all aspects of graduate education from admission through graduation at two major research universities provides the foundation for our fireside chats.

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