Attending conferences should be a priority for junior professionals. Good conferences are important to one’s academic career. One of the best ways to draw the attention of one is through presentations at conferences. Every field has its big national and international meetings.
These can be used to get a sense of the discipline as a whole. More focused meetings are much more useful for a variety of reasons. First, such events may target more specific research areas and there will be relevant sessions and colleagues around. Second, due to their smaller size, they are often friendlier and make it easier to meet people. The potential utility derived from smaller ones should not be dismissed.
There are two ways to go about finding smaller meetings. They are by theme and by location. To find conferences closest to one’s areas of interest, it is good to look out for events organized by relevant professionals.
Another way to find smaller meetings is to look for regional conferences in the geographical locale. These may not be the best match for the interests in some cases. But they offer some advantages. They require less travel and thus fewer funds than national and international meetings. It is also helpful for building local networks. These conferences are a great low-cost way to practice conference participation.
Many conferences have alternatives for presenting a fully polished paper like poster sessions and roundtable discussions where people give shorter, more informal presentations. The conference organizers track submissions into the various categories. It depends on the meeting whether these are less prestigious. The poster sessions and roundtable discussions tend to allow for more engaged conversations among the presenters. The attending conferences are very important but it should not become a distraction from writing and finishing papers. The best advice is to practice moderation when building conferences into one’s schedule.