Last year's conference. Can you spot the PositiveLite.com team?
Maximize Your Time at RC2013
In a new three-part series, we asked Bob Leahy, editor at PositiveLite.com, for some tips on how to get the most out of the 2013 OHTN Research Conference.
In part one, we asked him about time management at the conference.
OHTN: How little or how much should I plan my time at the conference? Should I micro-manage or be more spontaneous?
Leahy: I'm a bit of a planner. I like to look over the conference program in advance so that I have a rough idea of what are the main presentations - these are referred to as "plenary sessions" where everyone attends - and what are the concurrent sessions I'll have to choose from. Then when I get my printed program on check-in, I go through it with a magic marker and highlight the sessions I'm going to. Leave it to the last minute, without any planning, and you might have to make rush decisions or feel a bit overwhelmed. So planning pays off. And if you can't decide which sessions to attend, ask those around you for recommendations.
OHTN: What's the best way to prioritize which sessions to attend?
Leahy: I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this. Some people will want to stay on a single track that explores their particular areas of interest - for example HIV prevention or treatment. Others may want to be the butterfly that flits from subject area to subject area, in an attempt to get as diverse an experience as possible out of the conference. Neither is right or wrong. But again, planning ahead with the conference program makes it more likely that what you attend will be a good fit with your interests. For my part, I tend to avoid anything too technical - you can usually identify those sessions by the language in the program.
OHTN: Apart from the plenary and concurrent sessions, what else is going on?
Leahy: You'll need to check your program to see what else is going on, but the range is impressive. I've always enjoyed the mix of plenary sessions and workshops, films, poster presentations, and even theatre. There is a lot to be said for doing it all, but your body will tell you how much you can actually do while staying alert and healthy. I will often take advantage of the social media room when I need a break, if I see my energy levels are slipping.