General First Time Conference Attendees:
- wear comfortable shoes!
- network with EVERYONE. Meet new people.
- Stay hydrated. Conference hotels are dry and you'll talk a lot.
- Bring snacks (Powerbars, candies, etc.) in case you're in a session during lunch.
- Go to the parties (don't sit in your hotel room...).
- Try to go to a session on something you don't know much about rather than go to all the sessions on [subjects you know something about]. You'll meet new people and learn something to boot.
- Try not to go up to some big name and say, "wow, you're so-and-so" (s/he will know that already). Instead, introduce yourself and start a conversation. [Don't be afraid to talk to people, in other words!]
- It's OK to go up to someone you know from...[their scholarly work or from] Facebook whom you haven't met in person and introduce yourself face-to-face.
If you're presenting for the first time:
- If you are on Twitter, tweet what you're learning at the conference (though try not to do it while someone is giving a presentation as it is rude to be typing on your smartphone while someone is taking).
- Prepare a 1 page (double-sided) handout to share with those in your session. 30 copies is probably enough. On it, have your contact info....
- Try not to read a paper to the group. Instead, have talking points/PowerPoint.
- Time yourself so you don't go over (you don't want to get "the hook" or the gong).
- Be realistic on how much you can read in 15-20 minutes if you read a paper (probably 6-7 double-spacked, typed pages).
- Have a back up in case the technology doesn't work (e.g. handouts of your PowerPoint slides)
- Smile--people came to hear your talk. They're interested in what you have to say on your topic.
- It's nice to have a friendly face in the session--pair up with someone and go to the other's talk and s/he'll go to yours, too. (Most comp/rhet/writing center people are overly friendly so there should be a lot of friendly faces in the session, but it's reassuring to know there's a special friendly face in the room just for you).
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