18 February 2010

Invitation cards

Conferences are about meeting people and showing off your research. But the meeting people portion of the conference usually lasts a lot longer than the actual poster presentation session. Conferences being busy places, people may forget to come to your particular poster session.

Invite them to your poster.

Almost any office supply shop sells business card paper that can be run through a standard desktop printer. Spend the extra cash to get good ones that separate with clean edges. The packages will often give you the specific information for a template in Office that you can use for laying out the cards. If you put in a little bit of time, you’ll be able to get results that will be nearly indistinguishable from your institution’s professional printing. Click to enlarge the picture of the two cards below. One was done by my university’s in-house service; one I did at with my office computer and inkjet. (Sorry, no prizes for guessing which is which.)

Do one side with your normal contact information, like your name, affiliation, email address and so forth. Then, flip it over and on the back, print an invitation to come to your poster, with the title, time, and poster board number. It serves as a reminder during the conference, and helps people to get back in touch with you after the conference.


Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

I'm not so convinced about handing them out before the poster session. I can't imagine a grad student just walking to senior faculty and handing cards to invite to a poster when they don't know who you are or what you work in.

You could give them to people you know, to remind them of visiting your poster, but then the purpose of these business cards (to get yourself known) is lost.

Nevertheless, business cards can be useful. The few times I've been handed these, was after I visited a poster and talked to the authors for a while and thought I may need their contact info for discussing some experiments after the conference.

In fact, I will be designing mine shortly, and the model you propose, seems just right.

BTW, great blog!

Zen said...

Let me clarify:

The idea is not, “Give them out to random people.”

The idea is, “Hey, nice person that I’ve been talking to (over lunch / in the hallway / in the bar / at your poster), I think you might be interested in my project. Please come see my poster later this week. I’ve written the time and location down for you.”

In other words, use them after you’ve established a conversation, not as an icebreaker.

Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

Right, that's how I think about it.