It is once again the time of year when the Annual SIOP Conference is on the minds of many IO Psychology scientists & practitioners. Each year, these few weeks leading up to the conference are a good time to reflect on my career and what I hope to gain from attending. I recommend that everyone reading this post takes some time to think about what they would like to learn and what they hope to accomplish during the April 27-29 time frame.
This year, the conference is conveniently located in my neighborhood, Orlando, Florida. It’s a chance for me to see some colleagues from New York and around the country. I mention NY specifically because it is where my firm’s primary office is, and where I went to graduate school. Everyone should reach out to their friends, contacts, and colleagues and use SIOP as a chance to catch up if possible.
When first attending SIOP in 2003, which was coincidentally in Orlando, I was a first year graduate student. I tried to attend every session and relentlessly pressured my mentors to introduce me to their peers and help guide me through the conference. They really did not do much to help! They wanted me to figure it out on my own. After many years, I think I may have figured out a few things. I volunteered as a SIOP ambassador this year to (hopefully) impart some of my knowledge to a few first-year attendees.
Essentially, my goals for the conference fall into one of the three “buckets” below.
Conference sessions- When I am not participating in my own sessions, I try to break up my time evenly between attending sessions that are focused on my current work/interests and those topics that I want to learn more about or I feel would help me grow as a practitioner. Looking over the program ahead of time is very important! Feel free to be swayed by your colleagues or deviate from your plans on occasion…but attending the sessions that YOU want to go to will make your conference experience more valuable.
Networking- This is the one of my favorite things about the annual conference. Whether talking I/O or where to go eat later, every first conversation has the potential to help forge a lasting friendship or business relationship. Networking, much like attending sessions, helps you grow as a person and a professional. If you need food and entertainment recommendation for Orlando and the surrounding areas, please shout & wave at me at the conference or simply come over to talk!
Hanging out and having fun- Now, I know everyone coming to beautiful, sunny Orlando has this on their mind. I would be remiss if I tried to make SIOP all about work! While I travel and see my old classmates and colleagues from time to time, SIOP is a chance for everyone to catch up as well as chat about old times. Attending the evening “Alumni events” that some grad schools host is a great way to reconnect with those from your cohort as well as others who graduated from your program (ok, its networking). Connecting with people at these events is definitely more casual than during the day and gives you the opportunity to make evening plans and, in this case, explore Orlando…it isn't just theme parks and tourist fodder.
Check out this informative travel video ;-) :
As I finalize plans with some colleagues for the week of the conference, I urge you all to do the same!
Have a great time if you are going, chat with me if you see me around, and watch for my post-SIOP conference review in a few weeks!