Making the most of the conference: students and young professionals

Authors: the IADMS Student Committee

The IADMS Annual Conference is fast approaching and it is a great opportunity to learn about dance medicine and science, as well as connect with other dance medicine and science researchers. This year, the conference is virtual and we’d like to provide some tips on how to navigate the conference online and make the most out of the experience. 


Before the conference – planning ahead:

1. Look at the IADMS presentation and session schedule before the conference. Note the sessions that you want to attend and from these, make your own little schedule of the presentations you will go to. Think about presentations that you might want to watch live, and presentations that you might want to watch at a later time. Keep in mind that Q&A for live presentations is taking place during the 4 official conference days – if you want to ask questions about some of the presentations (which we highly encourage!), you will have to connect at that specific time. 

2. Live presentations and Q&A will take place in Colorado time (MST), so make sure to convert all your planned sessions to your local time zone. You don’t want to miss a presentation or a Q&A because of a silly time change mistake!

3. Set some personal goals:

  • A goal of how many new people you’d like to connect with. It can be 3, 5, or more! Some of these people you might want to connect with during the conference, while others you might want to follow up after. 
  • A goal of asking a question, or five!
  • Participate in a discussion/round table

4. Prepare questions in advance. These questions might not be specific to the presentation content, but might instead be networking questions or questions for the IADMS Student Committee about the role of the committee and how you might want to get involved!

5. Familiarize yourself with the virtual presentation platform functions. Particularly:

  • How to mute/unmute
  • How to turn your video on/off
  • How to raise your virtual hand and use virtual reactions (e.g. applause, happy face, etc). 
  • How to use the chat for public and private messages
  • How to navigate between presentations


At the conference – enjoy the experience

1. Make connections during the conference. Reach out to presenters, other attendees (such as students, professionals, and dance educators), and IADMS Student Committee Members.

2. Take breaks during the conference. Attending sessions back-to-back for all four days can be exhausting! Making sure to make time to grab snacks and water, vary sitting and standing durations, and give your eyes a break from the screen. 

3. It can be tempting to want to multitask while attending a virtual conference as your workspace is right in front of you. Make a conscious effort to focus on the presentations you’ve planned to attend. This might mean closing other applications on your computer (e.g. web browser, email, chats) and keeping your phone face-down and on silent (just like at an in-person event). 

4. Have what you need with you to be comfortable and enjoy the experience. This might include:

  • Water/coffee/tea
  • A notepad and pen
  • Snacks

5. Ask questions! If you don’t feel comfortable asking verbal questions on video, post your question in the chat instead. Make sure you listen to guidance from the session moderator on what the best medium for interaction is. 



After the conference – connect and reflect

1. Make connections! Reach out to presenters via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn after the conference to introduce yourself, ask follow up questions, or just say hello!

2. Consolidate any notes you made. 

3. Act on any action items you noted (e.g. reach out to a presenter, read a specific paper, look more into a specific topic, etc). 

4. Reflect on the experience and note a few takeaways for you personally. Conferences are a great way to learn new things, but can be overwhelming because so much new information is presented in a short time span. Taking a few days to think back about the conference and the presentations will help you to remember what was most important for you and help solidify your key learnings.