Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yes, I do have a complaint and thanks for asking.

I was sent a survey about the most recent conference I attended and one of the questions asked how they could improve future conferences. Here is my response:

I was extremely disappointed with the "structure" for the poster session. The posters were set up in what felt like a back hallway of the conference. I stopped by a few times each day to see if anyone was visiting my poster and the area was almost always deserted. I know that people stopped by because my small sample posters were taken, but I interacted with very few people there.

The reason I like to present posters at conferences occasionally is so that I can obtain one-on-one feedback and discuss my research in depth with others who are interested or do related work. In order for this to occur, it is critical that poster sessions include an actual session time (during a social gathering is always nice) where the presenters are standing at their posters. The last [Association Meeting] I attended (and presented a poster) was in [East Coast City] and we had a two-hour time block to stand at our posters and talk with interested conference attendees. This format is much preferred to the setup at the [Southern City] meeting. It was very unprofessional.

I don't know if they will actually listen to my comments, but it felt good to voice my opinion after such a poor setup. The conferences I attend have many poster sessions at the same time as concurrent paper sessions (for my BIG conference) or they have posters up during the entire conference, then include a social hour/poster session at the end of one of the conference days.

I still have that other conference post rolling around in my head that I need to write (about being a woman at a technical conference that is 90% men). I still plan to write that one soon!

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