Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Conferences and networking

Last week, I attended my first UKSG conference in Harrogate. Ill blog about the content of the conference once I've pulled together my mass of notes into something cohesive. For now, I just want to reflect on one specific aspect of the conference - the networking.

Firstly, I'll admit that I was pretty nervous about attending. I did want to go to UKSG as a lot of the content looked very relevant to what I do, but it's the first time I've been to a 3-day long conference, and I know how awful 1-day conferences can be when you fail to find anybody to talk to all day. So how was I going to cope for 3 days?

Now, it turned out that I did have a couple of things to help me along. One of my colleagues was also attending the conference, so at least I would have somebody familiar to check in with. A couple of days before I left, an ex-colleague,who now works in a similar area to me, also got in touch to say that he would be attending.

In the end, the networking aspect of the conference was one of the easiest, and most enjoyable, parts. A number of other Repository Managers and people working in the area of research support were at the conference - and many of them I knew from previous conferences (some of them I hadn't seen for years, and it was great to catch up with them). Now I know networking is about meeting new people as well as old colleagues and acquaintances, but when you've met enough of the latter, it gives you the confidence to talk to the former.

By day 3 my problem wasn't finding people to talk to, it was having the energy to talk to them and still be able to sit through all the breakout sessions and talks I was interested in. I came away from UKSG feeling energised, both from the content and the large amount of people I'd talked to, but also utterly exhausted. I was very grateful for the 4 day weekend that closely followed the conference!

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