Helpful Tips to Consider Before Attending AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting

With the 40th Annual AIC Meeting rapidly approaching, ECPN would like to share some helpful tips on making the most of this event!

Familiarize yourself with the program
Read through the program list and highlight the events you are interested in attending. Some events may be scheduled at the same time as others. Take some time to create a schedule for yourself and decide which events you would like to attend and which presenters you would like to listen to or meet.

Update your resume or C.V.
Make sure your resume or C.V. are updated with all of your current activities. Have a few copies with you in case you meet a potential employer and want to pass it out.

Update your social media accounts
In addition to your resume and C.V., make sure your social media accounts are also updated with your current information. This includes a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter or Facebook account. If you are passing out business cards, people may go on to check out your LinkedIn profile while you’re at the conference and you want it to be up to date!

Your Twitter and Facebook accounts will also be helpful in keeping up with conference information. AIC will be using the Twitter hashtag #aicmtg2012 at the annual meeting. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, tweet or post if you’re meeting up with a group from the conference for lunch or coffee. Maybe others can join you and you can meet expand your network that way.

Bring business cards
If you have business cards, be sure to bring them with you and distribute them as much as you can. You will also be receiving a lot of business cards. Make sure you keep them all in a safe place that you will remember once you are home.

Don’t have business cards printed out? Make a digital business card! Simply fill out the information that you want on your business card and download the QR code to your phone (or print it out on a slip of paper). When you meet someone else with a smartphone, they can scan your QR code and automatically save your information to their phone. This ensures that they won’t lose your contact information and saves you the time and money of printing business cards.

*In order to scan QR codes you will need to download an app. For Android phones I recommend Barcode Scanner, and for iPhones I recommend QR Reader for iPhone.

Network with people
Though this may go without saying, the AIC meeting is a great place to meet new people. Instead of staying with the same group of people you know, network and make new contacts. Take the opportunity to ask others what they think about the conference, what they are hoping to learn there, and why they decided to attend this year.

When you meet someone and receive their business card, jot down some keywords about the person on the back of their card. Once you get home and are looking through the stack of business cards you have collected, you will remember exactly who they are and how you met them.

Visit the Exhibit Hall
The exhibitors are truly an integral part of any conference.  They bring their products and their staff for one reason – to meet us!  If you are still a student, spending time at the exhibits is a great learning opportunity you won’t want to miss.  For emerging and established conservators alike, this is a chance to see and try a wide range of products and learn about new ones.  The exhibitors’ financial commitment plays a major role in the success of the Annual Meeting, so remember to visit with them.

Take notes
Be sure to take notes during the sessions. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the conference will fly by and you don’t want to forget everything you’ve learned.

Ask questions
The conference is a great opportunity to talk to other conservators and learn more about the aspects of the field that interest you. Asking questions during or after a talk is a great way to learn about a topic and network with the presenter.

Have fun!
Don’t get too wrapped up with networking and going from one talk to another that you forget to enjoy the conference.

Here are some helpful links to other aspects of conference.

The conference attire is business casual, including the evening events. Our friends at the Emerging Museum Professionals had a great post about how to dress for conferences – check it out!

For those of you volunteering for the San Miguel Chapel’s Angels Project, don’t forget to pack work clothes, a hat, sunscreen, and a water bottle!

Albuquerque in May seems to have a range of temperatures – from 80’s during the day to 50’s at night. Dress in layers and always have a sweater handy for overly air-conditioned rooms.

First-time attending a conference?
If you’re nervous about meeting new people at such a large event, check out Lisa Petrelli’s Introvert’s Guide to Attending a Conference.

Do you have more questions about attending a conference or recommendations to share with others? Leave a comment below!