Optimising Your Conference Experience


This interactive session aimed to help early career people optimise their conference experience by discussing what to do, who to meet, and how to prepare to get the most out of attendance. Tips dedicated to the upcoming 30th annual European Congress on Obesity (ECO) 17-20 May 2023 in Dublin, Ireland were included. More information here.


Transcripts are auto generated, if you spot an error, please email enquiries@easo.org

All right, I'll just wait for everyone to connect to their audio. All right, good evening, everyone. Welcome to our tonight's webinar, Optimize Your Conference Experience.

What to do, who to meet and how to prepare for an obesity congress. I have the great pleasure of introducing our main speaker for tonight, Gijs Gossens. He's an associate professor at Maastricht University in the field of obesity related metabolic complications.

This year, he chaired the Congress on Obesity at Maastricht, and he's also currently the co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the EASO. Thank you so much for joining us, Gijs. We also have with us executive director of the EASO, Ewan Woodward.

He'd be happy to answer any practical questions you may have tonight. And last but not least, representing EASO's Early Career Network board members, we have Neith Arthurs, Lisa Heggie and myself. So the idea today is to discuss kind of the journey around attending a conference.

So we will address the journey before, during and afterwards. And for tonight's session, I would like to encourage as many people to turn on their camera so we can have a face-to-face discussion and we'll keep it very informal. So you can ask us anything and we'd be happy to try and answer as well as we can.

Perhaps to keep the session organized, it would be good if you could use the raise hand button in the bottom. So whenever you want to ask a question. Of course, if you don't feel comfortable asking in person, feel free to use the Slido.

I think the link should be in our chat. If not, can someone share that so people can submit an anonymous question if you would like to. So then we'll read them out loud and we'll try to answer anyway.

Of course, you can also use the chat for a question if you'd like to. And without further ado, I would like to give the floor to Gijs Kosen. I think Gijs will start sharing his screen and guide us through the European Congress on Obesity webpage.

So, Gijs. Yeah, thank you, Bram, for this kind and clear introduction. And I think it's a great initiative from the Early Career Network of the ESO to have this sort of webinar on conferences, how to prepare maybe for a conference, what can you expect during the conference, or what do you want to get out of the conference? That's maybe an important question as well.

And also after the conference. So when you leave and go back to your host institute and home, is that then the end of the conference or are there some things that you might do to follow up on that? So I think that are the aspects indeed, as you pointed out, Bram, that I would like to touch upon today. And yeah, I hope it's really interactive for not that many people.

So it's really informal. So any questions you may have, don't hesitate and post those questions. Indeed, so I think the things that we will bring up today hold true for all scientific conferences that you might attend, right? But in this conference, of course, we would like to focus also on the European Congress on Obesity that we will have next year in Dublin, Ireland, from the 17th to the 20th of May.

So indeed, I will start by sharing my screen and I hope you can all see that now. So this is the Congress website, if I go to the homepage of the website. And what I think is important to always do for every conference you consider to attend is to check the website for some deadlines, right? So there is a registration deadline, but also an abstract submission deadline.

And I would like to start off with that and talk a little bit about whether or not to submit an abstract and how should you do that. So if you on the homepage go to abstract, you immediately see quite some information on the abstract submission. And what immediately becomes clear, I think, is also here the deadline for abstract submission.

So the 13th of January. I think that's also important to consider well in advance because, of course, you're not writing your abstract, I think, the day before the submission deadline. And I'll come back to that in a minute.

I think you need to plan ahead a little bit. What do you want to submit? And maybe other people are involved in the work that you're going to present. Something else, and I'll come back to that in a minute, is also the sort of language that you use while writing your abstract.

And then I'm referring to the person-first language. So in a minute, I will go into that in a little more depth. So you can see here how the abstract should be structured.

And that is very important to stick to that proposed guideline. So meaning which font size you should use, the maximum number of characters you can use for your abstract. And here you see an abstract example.

So it's easy to just copy-paste this, including the funding, the conflict of interest. And you can just use that template for your own abstract. I think when you think you're ready to submit your abstract, you can click on the button here, online abstract submission.

I'll just show you and do interrupt if you have any questions how you should do this. So on the left top, you can see the login details. So I will just enter my own details here and my passwords.

Oh, guys, you have a typo in your mastery. Yeah, thanks, Bram. Should work now.

Yeah. OK. So what you can do here is submit a new abstract.

So the button on the left top. And now you see, I think, the different steps to submit your abstract. And I would like to quickly go over these different steps.

So first, the presentation options. I think this is an important one because we often see that people submit an abstract and then you can select your presentation type. Is it an oral presentation or a poster presentation? And that may sound like, oh, I don't mind.

Well, usually, if you really would like to have an oral presentation, do select this option, oral presentation. Abstracts will be scored and ranked. And I'll come also back to that in a minute.

But if your abstract received good scores and you really would like to give an oral presentation, please tick this box. Because if you select poster presentation, it's highly likely that you won't get an oral presentation. So it's sort of a default option that you then choose, saying, like, I don't want to have an oral presentation.

For certain reasons, it can be the case. Therefore, there is this option. But be aware of that.

So if you think, I prefer to have an oral, always select oral presentation. Right? If your presentation is maybe not ranked very high or if it does not fit a certain topic session, then it will always be a poster presentation. So it's not that if you select oral presentation that you will not have a poster presentation.

You can always present your data in a poster format. So I hope that is clear. And if you do have any questions, again, don't hesitate to just raise your hand and interrupt what I'm saying.

Then the abstract category. Here you can see the different tracks that we usually have when we develop a program. I will also show that later when we go to the provisional program for the next European Congress on Obesity.

But usually we have four tracks. Basic science, track one. Track two is behavioral and public health.

Track three is childhood and adolescent obesity. And track four, management and intervention. So you can already decide.

And sometimes it's interdisciplinary. You think, well, my abstract would fit both. Well, then just select the category you think would best fit the abstract.

So I would select, for example, basic science. Then you can select from another drop-down menu, okay, what sub-topic then in basic science? Well, I'm doing a lot of work on antipost issues. So let's say I would submit an abstract on that topic.

That can be selected as well. Okay. You can just save and continue and go to the next step.

I won't go through all these steps because I think it might speak for itself. So the affiliation of all the different authors. Step three is author information.

Just the name and ORCID ID, if you have also registered there. What might be important, you can see in the bottom here, abstract title. Keywords.

So here you can just type in, as I stated here, a minimum of three and a maximum of six keywords. And why would that be important? It helps the reviewers of your abstract. Let's say that you received a certain score for an abstract.

It might be an oral presentation or a poster. But we usually would like to have sort of a session on a certain topic. For example, dietary intervention.

So if your abstract relates to that, your research, please do type in as many keywords, maximum six. But it really indicates what your abstract is about. For example, dietary intervention.

Maybe you looked at metabolism or, you know, certain keywords that you would also enter when you would submit the manuscript to a journal. Right. So don't forget this because it's helpful for the reviewers, for the program committee to allocate your abstract to a session where you would also probably think it would fit best.

So you can enter then also step nine, for example, conflict of interest. So who sponsored your study? And in the end, step 10, you can just submit your abstract. Okay.

So I think that there are some details on abstract submission. One thing that I wanted to point out is, as I said before, when you write your abstract, please use person first language. And yeah, I hope you can.

Can you see this now? Yeah. So we as EASO find it really important that we use person first language because we don't want to stigmatize people living with obesity. And just to give you an example, because I think not everybody is aware of that.

And we often see also in manuscripts and abstracts that people use non-person first language. And I think most of you will recognize what is stated here in the left column. Right.

When you say, well, we recruited, for example, 20 obese participants for this study. But please, person first language, you can see examples on how to actually phrase your sentence or rephrase what you originally might have thought of doing that would be the correct way. So we don't say obese persons, but we talk about persons living with obesity or persons with obesity.

So you see these alternatives. So please use these non-stigmatizing phrases and or images also during your presentation. And here you can see why does this matter? I'm not going to read this all, but we find it as EASO very important that we reduce weight stigma and weight based discrimination.

So I think we as professionals do have a role in this as well. It's not only when you write your abstract, it's also when you're presenting your data in an oral presentation or on your poster, but also when you write manuscripts. Try to really avoid these sentences or statements here in the left column.

Use the alternative, the person first language. So I think that's important to point out. Sorry, guys.

So I understood also that if you use it incorrectly, that the abstract might actually be rejected this year. Yeah, I just stopped sharing my screen and I can see everybody. Yeah.

And I think that is because we really find it that important that we really would like to emphasize that everybody should or must, I should say, use. Absolutely, absolutely. May I ask something? Of course.

Because I have a doubt if the use of person first language in this case is also applicable when you have a legend of a graph. Because then the legend becomes so big. It's so common that we use obese patient, no obese patient.

But for a graph, makes sense to use that as well. Yeah, I would like to address that question. So first of all, thanks for asking that.

What I think you can also think of alternative abbreviations. Right. So what often would be the case is indeed that people we see that still a lot in manuscripts and posters is that you might use those those words that you just said or obesity or OB.

You can also write PWOA, people with obesity as on your on your axis of figures and graphs. So we're just thinking of some alternatives. And I think if we use that more often and we I mean as a scientific community, other people will see that and then it becomes common to do that.

So there are some alternatives for sure. And I think maybe you would do you wanted to add something. I saw your your hand raised.

I took it down again, Heiss, because I was going to say exactly what you just said about the abbreviations. So there are ways you can have a reduced number of characters and a reduced number of words, but still using person first language. And that's reflected in the guide as well.

That's on the website. Yes. All right.

I see Friedrich has a question. Hello. Hi there.

I have two questions. The first one, how about the use of person first language in animal study? Because we also hear the abstract or even in papers using like obese mice, because we want to encourage also the basic science researcher to learn about these people first language. And the second thing is about poster presentation.

Some posters actually use a stigmatizing image when presenting the poster. So how do you think the EAS can tackle these issues surrounding stigmatizing language and images? Yeah, Ewan, would you like to comment? Yeah, I'll talk about the poster first because that's an easier one to answer. Yeah, we've often, and Heiss mentioned this actually, that please don't only think about person first language when you're submitting your abstract.

It's just as important to think about person first language when you are presenting either an oral presentation or in your poster or any other format. And actually, in 2023, we will be reviewing all of the posters that have been submitted. We will be reviewing the oral presentations as well.

But we will be giving guidance to people who have had their abstracts accepted so that they can still prepare their poster or their PowerPoint presentation using person first language. I think to answer your first question about animal studies, I think there is still some uncertainty about the best approach. Our historical approach over the last couple of years is that we don't necessarily use mouse first language.

Therefore, it's probably all right, particularly if we're talking about an OB mouse, which has been bred specifically with that name. But I think it's still a bit of careful consideration is needed around the language. But the EASO has not yet formulated a final position on animal studies.

I don't know if those basic scientists in the panel may want to comment on that, but that's certainly the position we had in the last year or so. I would agree with what you just said, Johan. So, Friedrich, does that address your question? Yes, thank you.

Maybe for the animal one, we can use mouse with obesity. You can certainly use it, yes. Of course, of course.

You might set the stage and colleagues might do what you're going to do. So, don't hesitate to do that. I really want to encourage people to start using this, regardless of whether they are working with animal models.

It's good practice. I mean, also for yourself when you translate it to humans, you know, because if you get this habit of saying obese mice, you might more easily say that for humans as well. So, definitely, definitely.

Okay. So, I mean, that is about using person-first language. Just coming back to the abstracts and how to prepare an abstract.

And then I already mentioned it briefly when I talked about the abstract submission deadline. So, I always encourage people to have a look at these abstract submission deadlines well in advance, right? You now know it's the 13th of January, meaning that it's still a few weeks from now. So, if you need to finalize maybe some data analysis or so, start in time.

Because I think, indeed, you want to write your abstract, you want to go over it again, check for spelling, grammar errors. But what I think is good practice is to send the abstract then to your PhD supervisors or some direct colleagues to receive feedback on that. And then that would be usually how I ask our PhD students to do that.

First, send it to your supervisors, you get feedback, you can revise your abstract. And then always send it to your co-authors, the people involved in your research. And I think it's quite, I mean, you can discuss what is a reasonable time you give your co-authors to comment on the abstract.

For an abstract, usually, personally, I find one week is a fair time that you ask people to comment on your abstract within a week. And if you have not heard back, then you think, you can say, well, then I assume you agree with the abstract as it is. So, take that timeline into account, counting back from the abstract submission deadline.

So, when should you have finished your abstract? Because sometimes, and that's not that it happened once, but indeed a day before the Congress, you receive an abstract. Also from people from another institute, you know, where you're involved. And I think you cannot ask colleagues to have a critical look at the abstract within one or two hours.

So, give them reasonable time to comment on the abstract. It can only become a better abstract. And I think you don't want to submit anything for publication if it has not been approved by all people involved.

That holds true for manuscripts. But in my opinion, it certainly holds true also for abstracts and perhaps also posters. I would always send it to all co-authors just to receive feedback.

It can only improve. Niamh, do you have a question? Would Luke Guin like to go first? I know he has his hand up as well. I only wanted to make the point that we at IESO do not extend abstract deadlines.

Because there's a lot of work needs to be taken in terms of reviewing and program management after the deadline, quite quickly after the deadline. So, regard those deadlines as absolute. And don't assume, because some congresses do extend deadlines and they have a reputation for that, which is fine for them.

But we don't. And we won't. So, just be aware of that.

Yeah. I'm marking the calendars now. May I just mention something about, Heiss, you reminded me when you were speaking about asking supervisors or asking co-authors involved in work.

And to give them plenty of notice. I just wanted to make the point that I think that's really important if you're involving any PPI representatives, any representatives of the lived experience or advocates as well. And I know some advocates are online with us at the moment.

So, just to say as well, you know, to make sure that you're allowing enough time for that as well. Now, it doesn't seem like a last minute, oh, I'm quick, I have to submit this abstract in an hour or tomorrow. Can you quickly agree to this? That, you know, just to make sure that it's considered if you are involving anyone at PPI or anything like that, that you are giving adequate time for them to review it as well.

Because PPI reps have lives, they've got families and work and all these other things going on as well. They're people, you know, so just be respectful of that. And if I may just make that point.

Thank you. Yeah, thanks for adding. I think that is a very important comment you made.

So I think this is sort of to the point what we've discussed now on registration, abstract writing, abstract submission. So let's say that you've, of course, booked your flight, you've registered for the Congress, you might have submitted an abstract. So then it's actually time to go, for example, next year to Dublin.

So I would like to spend the next 10-15 minutes or so on what do you want to do during the Congress? And let me first share my screen because I will go to the Congress website again. Let's see. Sorry, Huis, just to interrupt before you move on to the next section, we had a question on the Slido.

And it was just about whether the abstract word count and the character count includes spaces or no spaces for eco. Or maybe Juhen would be better for answering this. Perhaps Juhen knows better, I'm not sure.

But I think the template only allows a fixed number of characters. So you could quickly try. I think it includes abstract because usually a space is a character, right? So but I would make sure you double check before you start writing your abstract.

You can just give it a go, right? Type in some text. But Juhen, maybe you want to comment? It's a little too technical for me. But my impression is the same as yours in that a space is regarded as a character.

Yeah. Thank you. Yeah.

So usually you can just not type more. Then you know that you have reached the maximum number of characters. Yeah.

Okay. Shall I continue? Or just Lisa, I don't know if there are any other questions at the moment? Not anymore in the before section. I'll save some more for Juhen, I think, once you've gone through that section.

Yeah. Okay. So I think when preparing for a congress, and I would like after I stop sharing my screen again, I would like to hear from you.

Why would you go to a congress? Maybe to start with that discussion in a minute. But first, you can plan what kind of talks you want to attend, right? So if you go to the website and you click scientific program, I would advise you when the congress is approaching that you have a regular look at the website. Because now, for example, provisional program, you can say, well, under construction, of course, we've not received any abstracts or done any selection on that.

But please keep an eye on this, because at the moment, there will, of course, be a provisional program. Look already at the program at a glance. So here you can see per day what kind of sessions there will be.

So, for example, the 17th of May, the first day of the congress, you could already see what kind of sessions there are. You can see the titles of the sessions. And then you can also see by color coding the different tracks.

And remember, for example, track one, that is basic science. So you can already select, okay, I would like to go to all basic science tracks or to all tracks related to obesity management, for example, track four. And you can already see some titles of the sessions here.

And while the congress is approaching, as I said, you can also get some info on what are the speakers in this session. And that holds true for, of course, each congress day. So this is the provisional program.

But the point is, my question would be, and I don't know if some of you would like to respond, what is the purpose of going to a congress? Do you have any ideas you would like to share? It can be multiple purposes, and everyone might have a different purpose. I already see a question, a hand there. Would you like to ask? Yeah.

So I'm Ali Yurce. I'm actually a patient representative, but I'm also a scientist. So I'm looking at this from both views.

As a scientist, I'm a mathematician, a statistician. Going to a congress as a scientist is one thing, presenting my own work. And then another very important part is meeting and talking with other colleagues who work in the same area, but not, well, in the same subject area, but not in the same geographical area.

And congresses are great for that. And as a patient representative, the congress is first to keep an eye on what the science is doing on obesity. And again, meeting with other patient representatives and meeting with interesting scientists.

So most important, actually, is meeting people not in my geographical area. Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing that.

And I hear already, I think what you mentioned, some of these aspects, I think a lot of people will have that as a purpose to go to conference. So if I just wrap up what you just said, Ellie, it's like you want to share your own work. That's exposure of your research.

Other people might get in touch with you if they want to collaborate or find it interesting. Second thing is also to learn. So to attend other talks on your topic, but sometimes also to broaden your view.

It can be quite nice to go to, if you're a basic scientist, to go to a track related to public health, for example. So I think you can also learn a lot from that. And the third purpose you mentioned, Ellie, if I'm correct, is also to meet people, to maybe network.

And that can be to meet people you already know and that you know that those people will be there at the conference. But it can also be to meet new people, new contacts. And I think that is maybe an interesting point to touch upon.

So if you want to say, I want to learn things, then you can indeed select in advance, OK, what are the sessions that I would like to attend? But when we talk about networking, that might be an interesting one to discuss it in a little bit more depth. What could what could be the reason? I mean, could it be a purpose that you say I want to meet new people? That is maybe quite broad, vague. Or maybe you can also share some of your own ideas or experiences or that you think, well, I've thought about that during one of the past conferences I've been to, but I never knew how to approach that or how to do that.

Maybe to start off with a question to you, like what are your experiences with networking? Or have you tried to network or what is the purpose of networking? It sounds quite maybe a basic question, but I think it's you can I mean, it's interesting to discuss that briefly, maybe. I've done networking in basically go to a talk. From someone who I think is interesting to meet and ask questions.

And then talk to them after the after the lecture. Same. Check out the posters and go to the poster session from those that seem to be interesting for a scientific meeting.

So you can talk with those people and see whether this way you can link up. Yeah. So thanks for sharing that.

I think there is another question or comment. Yeah, I just want to share my experience, like because I wanted to do a postdoctoral fellowship. And then, of course, the first thing that you have to find your potential supervisors and you discuss together about the project that you wanted to do and putting up proposals.

So what I did last time I emailed in advance, which was about one year before the conference, the potential supervisor that I really want to see and work for my fellowship, postdoctoral fellowship. So what I did was like, I'm attending this conference. Is it OK for me to have a coffee with you, maybe to have a quick chat about this fellowship that I wanted to apply.

And then, to my surprise, he replied to me because I did in advance send her my proposal. This is what I want to do. And our research niche, our research interests align.

And I believe that you're going to be a very good supervisor for this project. So what I did, we met in Maastricht last time, like we chatted together and I composed a proposal. I submitted it.

And let's see what's going to happen next. So I think this is the best way and the only experience that I had. And then, but for this one, I prepared myself.

I read about this supervisor's background, so I know what to talk, but then to approach people in prompt to like just have a chat. I think it's very difficult for me if I'm not well prepared of what I wanted to talk, especially with senior and experienced researcher. Yeah, I think excellent that you raised this point, Friedrich, because that is all what it is also about, right? I hear you're saying a few interesting things like sometimes it's difficult or you feel a bit like insecure to approach a senior scientist.

So it might help indeed to send an email in advance, like as you said, what you did, like, hey, I will be at the conference. It would be great if we can have some minutes to discuss some ideas I have or I mean, then when you talk to somebody at the conference, it's immediately like, ah, yes, indeed, we should meet. Hi.

So you have already the first contact there. So it lowers the threshold to really approach the person during the Congress. And the second funny thing is that you said, to my surprise, that person was open for that.

Well, I think my own experience is if people approach me to discuss things, if I have time, I will make time because you show interest in what somebody is doing. And it's the same when students approach people for internships, right? If people show interest in your work, it's a bit odd. And I think most cases, people would reply in a positive way and say, yes, of course we can discuss.

And if they're at the conference, they might find some time to do that with you. So I think a proactive attitude, what you did, sending an email, try to in advance, why do you want to meet somebody and talk to somebody? What does he or she has to offer for you? And maybe vice versa, right? I think that is really important when we talk about networking. Yeah.

Lisa. Hi. We had another question just from the Slido.

It was whether you had any conversation starter tips. So maybe just generic conversation starters for networking, possibly if you haven't emailed ahead, just for people who maybe aren't so confident with networking kind of on the spot. Yeah.

So how to do that, you mean? Yeah, just maybe some conversation starters that you can kind of, you know, strike up a conversation by asking a certain thing. Maybe I can have a brief response. And I see that others also want to comment.

I think what would be great, but then the question is, do you dare to ask a question when somebody has a talk? If not, you can also go to the speaker afterwards, right? And have a more informal chat. I mean, then you don't have to post your question in front of a full lecture hall, for example. I can imagine that that is a bit more exciting to do.

So that could be a great way of doing that. And, or maybe you know people that already have a connection with the person you want to talk to. So then you can also say, hey, maybe you can introduce me to that person.

That could also work. For example, if your supervisor already knows somebody, you can inform your supervisor. Oh, it would be great.

I have some questions or things I want to discuss. And maybe he or she can introduce you, like, hey, this is, you know, my colleague, etc, etc. So you can also use your sort of, I would say, close network, right? Your colleagues already, maybe to get introduced to somebody else.

Right, Niamh, you want to comment? Yeah, and I was just going to say, a topic of conversation, not so much in, like, in addition to what Haise has said, I think they're all brilliant suggestions. And in addition to, like, forward planning, so actually looking at the program when it's available, and seeing if there are names that you've come across before, or certain individuals who you know are presenting and maybe trying to be there at that time, so that maybe after they present you can, like, I find it's always, people always like to hear positive feedback. So it might be a nice way to open up the conversation by going up to them after they speak, and actually congratulating them on their presentation, or how they spoke, or asking them something about their work, and then leading, opening up the conversation that way.

And then just a bit of a cultural tip for Ireland, we're obsessed with the weather here, we have many conversations that open, the conversation topic is the weather, or opens up with the weather. So when you're in Dublin next year for Eco 2023, certainly anything to do with the weather will, you'll have someone answering you, or talking to you. That's just, yeah, thanks.

Yeah, yeah. And another way of networking is through, and I cannot ignore saying that, is also through the Early Career Network of the ESO, right. That's this community.

So every year during the Congress, the European Congress on Obesity, there is a, as you may know this already, but there is a special session organized there by the Early Career Network. So I would also encourage people to go there and immediately interact with the people, your colleagues within the Early Career Network, and there are usually some drinks and bites afterwards. And then again, that's also a way of keeping the network, maybe you can reach out to some people within the Early Career Network that you met maybe in Maastricht in the Netherlands earlier this year.

And you say, hey, are you going to the Congress in Dublin again? And if so, you can already meet, and that is also already, you know, a network. So I think personally, networking sounds a bit like, oh, I'm really wanting to gain something from it. Networking can also be just nice, you know, to meet new people, to establish that kind of network.

And who knows, in the future, you can collaborate in a way, and there can be a win-win situation. But I think personally, that networking, you should not always, always have a specific aim to approach somebody, right? It can also just to get to know the community better. And maybe that has some advantages also a few years later, for example.

I don't know if there are any specific questions or things others would like to add when we talk about networking or the purpose of a conference, of going to network. But I would say it's always good to have contact again during the Congress with your pre-existing network, and who knows, you might meet other people. And as an example that Friedrich gave, I think if you really want to get out of the Congress, if you want to get something from it, you want to maybe go and talk to a specific person, for obvious reasons.

So that can also be really good to know that in advance, and maybe drop an email, whether he or she will be at the conference. Yes. Lisa? I just wanted to say, if you do see any of the Early Peer Network board members, or any of the other ESO representatives, and you are someone who isn't so confident in networking, please just pull us aside, and we'll tell you all about ESO and ECN.

And so we're always looking to network. Just to add that on. Yeah, very helpful, I think.

And what can also be helpful is that, perhaps using social media, inform colleagues or people around the world that you're attending that conference, because now we're talking about one way, one direction. You want to talk to somebody else, but maybe other people want to talk to you, because you've presented some nice data during one of the previous conferences and people think, hey, I want to reach out to that person. So by also letting people know that you're attending, that might trigger somebody to either contact you or also join the conference.

That can also happen, like, oh, I know that person will go, maybe I should go as well. So it's bidirectional, I think, important to let you know who's going to the conference, but also inform others that you will be there. And hopefully we all meet in Dublin.

That's what I will be in Dublin, and I'll let you know right now. So that's how it also works, I think. And then when you meet people, maybe the last thing I would like to say when you talk about networking, do prepare, you know, something.

You want to approach somebody, maybe for a reason, with respect to collaboration. So I think it's always good that you can introduce yourself and what you're doing, research-wise, within just one, two, three sentences, not more. So that is what some people call an elevator pitch.

I think it's just explaining to people in one or two sentences what you're doing, what your research is about. So I think if you prepare that, then you can already have a conversation. People might respond to that.

Oh, can you explain a bit more? And then you can pose that specific question that you say, hey, there might be an interesting link between the studies of the research you're doing and what I'm interested in. Could we have a brief talk? And that's also how you can start interacting with people. Yeah.

And another thing during the Congress, I just move on maybe to the next thing, is what I see nowadays, when I was a PhD student, I always took notes during every lecture, to be honest. I wanted to learn, I wanted to remember things. So it was like I was in, you know, doing my master's and in the lecture hall, taking notes for an exam I needed to take a few weeks later.

I did the same during conferences. And I'm not saying that you need to do that, but it can be helpful, especially for the talks that you're attending and that fits your research. It's not that you really remember everything that people said.

And sometimes I thought, well, I remember that because this is so interesting. But a week later, no, you forgot about it. The good thing is, you don't need to copy everything and note down everything that somebody is saying, because we have the recording still available, right, up to usually three months after the conference.

But still, and I come back to that when we talk about after conference, it might be helpful to also update your colleagues about what you've learned during the conference, what was new. That is, I think, in my opinion, a good thing that we always do in our lab. After conference, not all people, all colleagues could come to the conference, but we will have an update of sort of the highlights in our opinion, what is relevant for the research we're doing with our team.

And then we make a round like, okay, what kind of talk was really fascinating? Was there really new stuff? So please share that with us. So that is also helpful to take some notes and not just saying to colleagues, oh, you should look at that presentation. Maybe already, you know, have some key messages ready for your colleagues that do not attend.

And secondly, and I think I also mentioned that you can take notes, but you can also then split up when you're with a bunch of colleagues and not all sitting nice and cozy together in one lecture hall, but maybe two, three people can go to that talk, two others can go to another talk. You get more out of the conference as a team, I would say, rather than attending all the same talks. So that is maybe just an advice, I would say.

You can decide before you go to the conference who's attending which session, and I think you can get more out of the conference that way. Nath, do you have a question or comment? Yeah, and now horrifically I've actually forgotten what I was going to say. Sorry, it'll come back to me.

Yeah. And we're talking about science, but I think it's also very important that you pay attention to social events during the Congress. So there is usually some early career networking party.

There is also, of course, an evening organized by EASO, what we usually call the gala dinner, for example. A lot of new collaboration and networking is going on during those social events, right? So that might also be a really good option, because first of all, it's just fun, and secondly, there are a lot of people there, so you can learn and network during social events. Niamh, you... Sorry, I remembered there when you said social.

I was trying to listen and take in what you were saying, so much of a wealth of information to share with us tonight. And it was just about the social, it's just to say that on Twitter and LinkedIn, it can be really active during the Congress as well. So it's a great way to keep in kind of in tune with what's going on and sometimes, because the Congress can be quite big and so many things going on at once, it can be quite overwhelming to some people.

So maybe at some times, but yeah, to check in online as well. And you might find something that you're really interested in that you didn't even know was happening. And then obviously getting in touch or getting in contact as well and contribute to the conversation on socials too, so that we're sharing as an obesity community, all of us together, that we're sharing different messages, the same, well, same messages, but we're sharing it outwards in our other networks.

And that we're helping to develop an understanding on obesity with others. Thanks. Yeah, thanks for adding that.

And I think there was one question also that you sent me before, I think it was already posted on Slido. Like, if I recall, somebody also asked like, are there also people from industry at the conference? And yes, that's indeed the case. Usually we have quite a big exhibition with all sponsors there.

And I think you can also learn from the people and the companies that are there in the exhibition hall. For example, when we talk about equipment you could use for your research, right? Body composition measures, wearables to measure physical activity, to measure your blood glucose concentration whatsoever. So sometimes it's quite nice to reach out and see what's there.

Apart from being the sponsors would be quite pleased with it, obviously. But I think you can also learn from that what's new, what are the industrial partners are coming up with, are developing. So it can also be pharmacological agents, weight loss medication, for example.

So I think you can also, by just wandering around there and with a cup of coffee, you can also see what the companies are working on in the field of obesity. So yes, industry and industrial partners are there. And I think you can also learn from what they have to offer.

Frederik, you have a question? Sorry, I talk a lot. Because you didn't mention about the equipment from the industry, I think I just want to share one of the highlights of the previous conference was the visit, the tour to the Metabolic Centre in Maastricht. I think that is the most, I think, the most interesting part of the conference.

So I'm not sure whether the upcoming conference, would you have such event where you are able to visit a research facility, because it's actually open up your mind about what facility that you have. It actually encourages you to, you know, to explore all of these state-of-the-art facilities. Yeah, thanks for that comment and question.

Ewan, you go at first. Just to say, that could well become a nice tradition, depending on where we take the Congress each year. It is dependent on what facilities and structures are available in the host city.

We do have some plans to try to have a repeat of that in Dublin, but it's not quite finalised. But that's just another reason for you to keep an eye on the website, so that you can be aware of when announcements are made and book early. But we're anticipating that we will be able to do that again in Dublin.

So not the exact same format, not the exact same type of lab, but similar format of university visit. Yeah, and maybe also to see some techniques, real-life or that kind of stuff. So in Maastricht, it was indeed measurements in humans, but this can be something totally different in Dublin.

So, yeah, but good to hear that you appreciated that, Friedrich. Do you have another question? Yeah, and talking about hosting the conference, how actually do you choose who's going to be the host organiser each year? I'm just curious. Yeah, Ewan, maybe just a brief answer indeed.

Yeah, just basically I choose somewhere where I've not been before and then we go there. But in all seriousness, there's quite a structured approach. So ESO is a federation of national obesity societies and the National Obesity Society has to bid to host the Congress.

So we issue a request for proposals and they are then submitted to the ESO Executive Committee who then assess those proposals. And then we take it to our General Council. So that's like our AGM.

And then if there is more than one candidate, we have a vote. So the bidding has to come from the National Association. Yeah.

OK, and maybe then a few minutes to talk about sort of after the conference. Bram, is that OK? Yes. There's a question in the chat.

Oh, right. Just to make you aware. The question is, do you plan to run, I think it's, do you plan another sports activity such as social activity for Eco? Yeah, I think the answer is for sure, Ewan.

Right. So we it's again, I think a snack and a bite maybe after the early career network session, but also always sort of a gala dinner. But Ewan, I think you can better maybe comment on that.

Yeah. For that side, yes. In terms of sporting events or, you know, like I think we've done in the past a walk or a run.

We haven't decided yet that are actually rather disappointingly, you know, health and safety considerations when you organise these things. It's not as easy as just saying let's do a run because you do have to have medical facilities in place in case somebody falls over or has a another reaction to the energy expenditure. So we haven't decided yet for Dublin, but it's possible.

But it doesn't stop you going for a walk by yourself or with other people you meet. The idea is that you do a lot of walking in Dublin because the hotels are maybe 10 minutes of just walking away from the Congress Centre. So there's plenty of opportunity, but yeah, so bring your shoes.

Yeah, and that's what I forgot to mention in preparing the conference. Always have a look at the city map and some interesting things to do. Some sightseeing, of course, the programme will be great, but sometimes it's just nice to take half a day, maybe max, off to see the city or come one day earlier to Dublin.

I think that would be my advice. So you can attend the entire programme at the Conference Centre. So I think after conference, what I think is important that you also maybe share your notes, share the things that you've learned with your colleagues.

Also, maybe to make some other people enthusiastic about attending ECOs. If you find that a great conference, you could recommend it, of course, to your colleagues. But also to immediately provide your colleagues with some novel insights, what you've learned during the Congress.

And also important, I think, is to also, if you have met people or if you have discussed certain things, do follow up on that after conference. Don't wait three, four months and then think, oh, I talked to that person. You know, after Congress, it's still fresh in their minds, right? So if you, Friedrich, for example, you mentioned discussing a possible collaboration or a postdoc.

If you had had that discussion, I think it would be wise, you know, maybe you did, to then follow up on that conversation, of course, in the week or weeks thereafter. So that is also for establishing new collaborations. And maybe that's sometimes more when you're a bit more senior.

But I think also PhD students can just follow up and say, hey, I had an interesting discussion. I will discuss it with my supervisor. And maybe then you can establish an online meeting to discuss certain collaborations.

So a timely follow up is what I would advise if you have established new contacts. And that can also be on social media that you say, hey, great to meet this person, you know, text somebody, whatever. You know better than I how to use social media in a very, I would say, efficient way.

But, yeah, that is also something not to forget to follow up on certain contacts that you have established. And I think, to be honest, also, I'm also conscious of time, but I don't know if there are any questions from the attendees here. I mentioned quite some things.

Maybe I did not mention things you would like to hear about. Lisa? Hi, I've got a specific question from the chat. And it's more in the context of applicants who might need a visa or might need to apply for a visa to attend, depending on which country they're coming from.

And possibly Ewan is a better person to answer. But I was wondering, what is the soonest you will find out if you have been accepted for an oral presentation or a poster presentation ahead of ECO in May, so that people can go ahead and organise themselves? Should be the third, perhaps the third week of February. Okay.

We have a programme committee meeting at the end of January, during which we will allocate all abstracts to sessions. And then people will be notified as quickly as possible after that. I have some other outstanding questions, if you're happy to answer them, Hayse.

I think these ones might be better for you. So one of the questions was around the conference's press release. And if your research that you have submitted to the Congress gets picked up as part of the press release, what's the kind of standard procedure? And what should you do? Should you be speaking to people at the conference or do you prepare before? What's your kind of experience? Well, I think Ewan also wants to address this question.

You go first, Ewan. Yeah, if you're selected for a press release or for a press conference or briefing during the Congress, you will be contacted by the media team at the ESO. It's not going to therefore be up to you to work out what to do.

You will be guided through the process. You will be spoken to by our media colleagues. They'll tell you how to.

They'll share the press release with you for approval. They'll talk you through the process step by step so you don't need to worry about it. You will be looked after by the media team.

Just be conscious as well that you might be in a press conference where there are very few journalists, but they might be online. So, you know, it's but you'll be looked after by the media team. You don't need to worry.

Yeah, and if I may add one thing, and I think that's very important and professional journalists always send you their piece of text for approval or final editing. So you can always ask yourself, right? Can you send it to me? Can I still? That might also be an option. Let's say if you're a PhD student and you're opposed by the media.

When you receive such a sort of draft article, I would say, of course, discuss it. Also show it to your supervisor who might have some or somebody from your university to have a quick look like, oh, is this OK? And because it's a press release, I think I always say that in advance to some people in case you're you're approached by media. Yeah, that's great.

It's a good experience. It's exposure for your research. But, you know, pay attention to always ask, can I see the text first? And you can always discuss it with your supervisor or a direct colleague.

That would be an advice from my side. Yeah, that's also what I wanted to ask. If your research is going to be part of the press release, let your institute and your supervisor know as soon as possible, as soon as you know.

Because depending on your institution, well, let's say I've worked for an institution that wanted strict control on what the press was going to do. And you. Well, you and I've been in a situation where the press office was not happy and you don't want to be in that situation.

So the advice is to have it double checked. Well, let them know and let them know that the Congress selected it for the press release and ask them, what do you want to know? And tell them that there's a very short time and that they need to have someone available to react in a very short time. And who do you need to contact? Yeah, Lisa.

Maybe last question, Lisa. That's OK. So another question we have is how does someone find out about new conferences? Obviously, we've got ECO in May.

But what about other conferences that people might want to attend? Where's the best place to find out about them? I think that is an interesting question. Right. It's also getting connected, being part of a mailing list, let's say.

So if you're a member of EASO, I think you will be informed about maybe interesting events organized by EASO. It's again also talking to some colleagues. Maybe you have within your universal research institute or company.

You have these kind of emails that inform people about upcoming conferences. I'm just thinking that the National Obesity Association might have a website. I mean, the Netherlands Association for the Study of Obesity, where I'm from in the Netherlands, of course.

I mean, we have sort of upcoming events posted on the association's website. Also, for example, a link to diabetes conferences or whatever. So more than just the European Congress on Obesity, that kind of, I don't know if others would like to add, but that would be my suggestions.

I just want to share my experience about how do I know all of these upcoming conferences. I think Twitter helps a lot because I followed a researcher that aligned with my research interests. A lot of these researchers will advise the conference on Twitter.

But I don't know after Elon Musk took over Twitter, all these researchers moved to another platform. And suddenly, like, all the feed appeared unrelated to my research. But then I think Twitter is the best platform because some of them actually are promoting meetings and conferences that are free and even free accommodation.

All you have to do is just buy a flight ticket and enjoy the conference and meet new people. I think Twitter is one of the best for me, myself, for my experience. And one final tip and advice, do apply for travel awards.

So usually, congresses do have travel awards available. I think it's a great opportunity to get some money to attend or to be able to attend the conference. And sometimes it's also nice for your CV.

If you're a young or new researcher in the field, a travel award is an award. So that would be a final thing that I would like to mention. That's more before the congress.

Pay attention to availability of travel awards. I think that's it from my side, Bram. Absolutely.

All right. Thank you so much, guys, for staying a bit over time. I'll wrap it up briefly.

I think it would be good to remind you all again of the abstract deadline for the Eco. It's the 13th of January. So do plan your schedule well.

Submit your abstract in time. Remember the first and first language. Guys, thank you so much.

Ewan, also thank you so much for joining us today. And yeah, thank you all for joining and being so active in our discussion today. This was very fruitful for me, at least.

Have a nice evening. Hope to see you all in Dublin. Hope to see you all soon.

Thanks, Bram. Thanks, everyone. Take care.

Bye-bye. Bye. Bye-bye.