In January there is always a sense of optimism about what the year will bring in terms of continuing professional development. But what a difference a few months make! COVID-19 means there is a new normal for attending conferences in person. I can recommend my recent post on online webinars and events. Watch out on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates regarding postponements and cancellations.
There is an overwhelming choice of conferences, especially if you have multiple interests. Innovation, legal, tech, taxonomies, big data, business development, knowledge management, library and information - or any combination of those. How do you know what conference to attend? Which will benefit you and your organisation the most?
Team Vable has put together a list of conferences in 2020, so get ready to join us. For those who might find these events stressful, we have put together some tried and tested handy tips to keep you grounded. We want everyone to have a positive learning experience!
Take your pick from our list
- Knowledge Management Summit, 24 - 25 March, London - this summit brings together knowledge management professionals from the legal, commercial, public and charity sectors to discuss the important issues and innovations impacting KM today and into the future.
- APQC’s Knowledge Management Conference, 27 April - 1 May, Houston, TX - this conference continues to be the place to be for networking and sharing innovative ideas with the best and brightest minds in KM.
- Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA), Inter-University Centre, 19 - 22 May, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 2020 - this international biennial event addresses the changing and challenging environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world. POSTPONED UNTIL 2021
- Perfect Information, 20-22 May, Farnborough, UK - the key profile of the delegates here are senior information, knowledge, library and market data managers from the leading city firms - banking, legal, professional services and vendors.
- Special Libraries Association Conference (SLA), 6-9 June, Charlotte, North Carolina - this is the premier event for special librarians and information professionals who want to explore the latest challenges and trends in knowledge and information management, refine their skills, connect with colleagues, and meet with leading information product and service providers.
- British and Irish Association of Law Librarians Conference (BIALL), 11-13 June, Harrogate - in the spirit of Agatha Christie; who famously appeared in Harrogate after mysteriously vanishing from her home in 1926, our conference theme this year is ‘Bodies’ in the Library: sleuthing, plotting and making the case. Catch Vable at BIALL!
- American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting and Conference (AALL), 11-14 July, New Orleans - this is the educational and networking event for more than 1,500 legal information professionals. Also come chat to Team Vable at AALL.
- International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), World Library and Information Congress, 15-21 August, Dublin - IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. Their conferences are always interesting because of the international scope of members.
- International Legal Technology Association Conference (ILTA), 23-27 August, Nashville - this is the main legal technology conference for professionals undertaking initiatives in support of the practice of law.
- Australian Law Librarian Association (ALLA), 23-25 September, Canberra - with a theme of Past Present Future, this Conference is the major professional and business development event in the Association’s 2020 calendar.
- Legal Geek, 14-15 October, London - this is now a two day event. The first day will be similar to previous years with 2000 attendees, 100+ speakers and the new second day will focus on learning by doing through a series of workshops.
- Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Conference (CILIP), 3-4 November, Southport - this event will see hundreds of library and information professionals heading to Southport for 2 days of inspiring keynote speakers, practical workshops and essential networking opportunities.
- KM World, Washington, DC, 16-19 November - get practical advice, hear inspiring thought leadership, and attend in-depth training and workshops on how KM and related disciplines can provide enormous value for your organisation and transform your business.
To be confirmed
- Internet Librarian International, October, London
- Ark Legal Libraries, October, London
Some tips for avoiding anxiety at conferences
Conferences, seminars, events offer attendees valuable opportunities for networking but they can also be anxiety inducing. If it’s any consolation for potential first-timers, it can be just as nerve-wracking for those going for the umteenth time. The truth is, we ALL get anxiety - some of us worse than others, but it affects every single one of us. The question is, how do you let it affect you? Here are some proven practical tips to reassure:
- Buddy up! Many conferences now offer a scheme to match up people to make it less daunting for the new-comer. Do it, and see if it works for you!
- Identify yourself! Wear your badge so that your name and organisation is visible. It might be that someone has seen you on the attendee list and wants to meet you!
- Embrace social media! Find the relevant hashtag and join in the conversation. At BIALL last year, I spent a lovely Wednesday evening with 2 people who I met via Twitter. They had never been to BIALL, and were relative new-comers to legal librarianship so it was great to make that connection.
- Be the early-bird! Avoid those ‘daunting’ groups of people by arriving at the workshop/seminar/keynote early. Be the one that people ask to join, and then open a conversation with them.
- Take time out! Programmes are designed to fill every minute of the day but recognise that it is ok to have a break. Many venues are aware of this and provide a safe, quiet space so whether this is 20 mins of quiet time, an hour in the hotel pool, or having a cup of tea with a new friend… do what feels right for you.
- Look after your health! With tiny hotel coffee cups and limited access to water, it is easy to get dehydrated. Take a refillable bottle and drink plenty of decaffeinated liquids throughout the day. Many exhibitors offer branded water bottles - so go chat to the vendors!
- It takes two! Remember that other people might be just as nervous as you, so strike up a conversation with the person next to you - at lunch, in a queue outside - get chatting.
We all have our coping mechanisms and if you feel comfortable doing so, please share your hints and tips with us. In the meantime I’m looking forward to BIALL … tell us which conference you’re looking forward to.