Submitting a proposal to a conference seems like a lot of trouble for little return. You may spend hours or days working with others or by yourself developing an idea, writing a proposal, then waiting to see if it is accepted by the committee. Before passing on the opportunity to submitting a proposal to a national conference, here are five reasons you should consider.

1. Conference presenting is reflexive. By contribute to the field, you learn from the field.

Conference presentations offers you the opportunity to share your program, research, or knowledge regardless of its current developmental stage (e.g., creation, implementation, evaluation, revision). Through the presentation Q&A session or after your presentation, there are opportunities to engage with your peers and receive constructive feedback and different perspectives that you had not previously considered. This will help you continue to develop and improve your program or research, and expand your knowledge base. Additionally, the other breakout sessions will provide more opportunities to engage with your peers, and learn about current trends, findings and valuable information to take back to your chapter, schools and organizations.

2. It provides a platform to raise awareness for your program and research

National conferences bring together individuals from every corner of the nation with different backgrounds and experiences. This offers you the opportunity to share your program, research and knowledge with a large, diverse group of peers increasing others interest in your topic. You will be able to introduce your program, research, and knowledge to peers from different fields, schools, policy makers, stakeholders and the public expanding the impact of your work. You will also be representing your chapter, school or organization that may provide an opportunity to raise local awareness as well. The more you present and talk about your programs, research and experiences with diverse groups of people the more visibility and awareness you engineer.

3. Develops your skills to discuss our community and your growing knowledge

Conference presentations offers you a way to develop, practice and hone your presentation skills. It provides you with the expertise to discuss your program, research and experience in a clear, effective, and meaningful way to large, diverse groups. Fielding questions from new, diverse groups (unfamiliar with your program, research or topic) will help you learn about areas you may have missed or need to develop in your presentation; allowing you to address it and incorporate it into future presentations. All of this will help you in preparing for other school and/or work presentations.

4. An opportunity for professional development and add items to your resume 

Whether you are about to graduate and entering the workforce or been in the workforce for a while, you are competing against others for jobs, graduate school openings and promotions. Conference presentations allows you to stand out on your resume/vitae and show hiring managers, advisers and employers that you have experience synthesizing information into an audio-visual format and presenting it to others, open to new ideas and constructive feedback and keeping up on the cutting-edge best practices and research in your field. Moreover, if you are in academia, if you receive travel awards or grants from your department or school, these can be added to your list of awards and honors. These lines on your resume/vitae may be the deciding factor between you and others applying for a job, seeking a promotion or a slot in a graduate program.

5. Networking, networking and networking

Presenting at conferences gives you the opportunity to discuss your work, learn valuable information from people working on similar programs and research, and meet others in the field working on similar programs, research or with similar interests. Establishing these contacts within the field will expand your professional network and development professional friendships who can be future resources for you. An additional advantage of meeting others with common interests is creating contacts for future employment or graduate school applications. Furthermore, presenting at conferences makes you recognizable to future employers increasing your likelihood of being considered for a future position.

It may seem like the effort is not worth the reward, but presenting at a conference helps your professional development and you will be contributing to the field. In short, attending and presenting at conferences offers a myriad of opportunities to help you stand out and advance in your professional development. Consider Student Veterans of America’s 11th Annual National Conference as a place to begin. There are the traditional breakout session formats, presentations and panels, as well as new formats, action labs and think tanks, you can choose from. Call for Proposals and reviewers are now open.

IMAGE: Dr. Chris Andrew Cate Dr. Chris Andrew Cate is the vice president of research at Student Veterans of America. He has lead several research projects focusing on student veterans, such as National Veteran Education Success Tracker Project and the Student Veteran Life Cycle Atlas.

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Published on May. 15, 2018

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