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Five Tips for Attending International Conferences

September 1, 1996
Related Topics: Global Business Issues, Featured Article
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Here are five tips attending international conferences:

  1. Check ahead of time to see if there will be a published delegate list available. If the conference organizers equivocate, think of other ways you'll network during the conference.
  2. Take lots and lots of business cards. This is particularly crucial when you travel to Asia where business cards take on enormous meaning. Be sure to accept them and handle them with respect wherever you are in the world. In some cultures, they're seen as an extension of the person.
  3. Don't depend on purchasing tapes of the conference unless you know a professional firm is doing the recording. Tapes might not be produced. Instead, take notes for sessions that are important to you and consider carrying a tape recorder.
  4. When you register for the conference, check the policy about changing workshops that you want to attend. Don't assume you'll be able to change workshops once you arrive at the conference. While this is frequently all right to do in many countries, you may confront cultural differences when you try to change your plans after arriving at the conference. If they assure you it's OK, don't worry. However, if they seem unsure, you're well advised to think carefully about the workshops you sign up for.
  5. If you use a laptop computer to take notes, be sensitive to those around you. You'll want to be sure it's alright with the presenter. At the very least, sit at the back of the room and remain as unobtrusive as possible.

Personnel Journal, September 1996, Vol. 75, No. 9, p. 80.

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