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Five Things Every Student Should Know About Writing for Conferences

Leo A. Mallette, EdD

Conferences will often be your first foray into publishing. But, do you understand how the conference publication process works?

  1. Did you know that you will be required to prepare a publishable paper AND will have to prepare slides for presenting at the conference? Bring your slides with you on a USB drive and bring a backup.
  2. Did you know that your presentation will be followed by a question and answer session? This immediate feedback on your presentation, by people who are interested in your talk and can converse in the technical language of your studies, can be invaluable advice.
  3. Did you know that you can search the web and find Calls for Papers in almost any city or country? I personally believe that most conferences are held in very interesting places.
  4. Did you know that you may have to pay for travel, registration, hotel, and food costs for the conference (unless your company or university will help subsidize your trip)? It could cost from a few hundred dollars for a local conference to several thousand dollars.
  5. Did you know that conferences are the single most useful place to network with peers in your field? Where else might you find yourself in a buffet line with the author of one of your graduate texts; or getting a question from a manager from a company you intend to send a resume to; or introducing yourself to a professor with whom you’d like to do graduate work?

writing_for_conferencesThat’s why I co-authored: Writing for Conferences: A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty. It serves as an essential guide for graduate students who want to publish the results of the research projects of their graduate program to maximum effect. It explains the conference publication process step-by-step and answers all of the questions asked by students inexperienced in publishing. The book is also a valuable reference manual for previously published authors, providing insightful sections on ethics in publishing, dress and grooming, presentation tips, and networking techniques to develop further research and career opportunities.

Due to the quick turnaround and oral presentation requirements, immediate feedback, and abundant networking opportunities, publishing at a conference event is a significantly more complex—and for many, more intimidating—proposition than traditional journal and book publishing. However, the additional benefits of successfully presenting your research project at a conference are well worth the effort.

Leo A. Mallette, EdD is an adjunct professor of decision science at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, as well as providing technical and programmatic support at The Aerospace Corporation. Dr. Mallette has published more than 70 conference and peer-reviewed journal articles on atomic frequency standards, satellite systems, ground stations, optical detectors, root-cause investigation, genealogy, organizational ethics, and publishing. He is co-author of the book Writing for Conferences (Greenwood, 2011), co-editor of The SPELIT Power Matrix (CreateSpace, 2007), and author of Images of America: Rancho Mirage (Arcadia Publishing, 2011).

Author of the article
Leo A. Mallette, EdD
Leo A. Mallette, EdD
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