Tips For New Congress Attendees

Surviving Your First Congress


Attending your first Congress can be frightening even for senior professionals, but they are an essential part of your academic career.

Why Attend?

Congresses give you the chance to participate in the field of your discipline that gives you access to a wide network of people.

Congresses also show that you are a serious scholar and are an ideal time to maximize opportunities for networking, self-promotion, professional skills training, and building a public identity.

Hopefully, this section can give you tips on how to just jump in and feel at ease.
Review the Program in advance

Check the program and schedule out the panels you want to attend. Give yourself time to walk the exhibit hall. Plan out your breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as coffees and cocktails, and consider whom to invite to share those with you. The congress program offers a wide range of morning events and social functions.

Submit an Abstract

Giving a paper doesn’t just get your research out to the community, it also gives you experience with handling live Q and A, which has a major learning curve. You also get the chance to engage with a senior person.


Onsite, be sure and follow the congress web app and any other social media applications used by the congress.

Check-in with faculty members from your department. If you know they’ll be attending, and they’re generous sorts, and open to the idea, ask to tag along to a meal or drinks that they have planned.

Attend the First Time Congress Attendee Orientation. You can meet with someone else who is also travelling alone and get a Congress Buddy. Remember, you need to use the congress to meet NEW people. It is important to networking, so make sure you take full advantage of the congress networking activities. Check the website for additional information on scheduled events you can be part of.