PR and Outreach-Allied Professionals Meeting
Contributor: Carrie McNeal
Tips for Attending Allied Professionals Meetings
AIC has identified several related organizations which may align with the interests of AIC members. A list of these organizations can be found here. Attending conferences or other events hosted by these organizations presents a unique opportunity to connect with professionals in allied fields and to share information about conservation and AIC.
- Study the schedule for the event. Identify events or presentations that you are interested in attending as well as those that may attract people who are interested in conservation. Pay special attention to social events such as cocktail hours, which provide an opportunity to engage with allied professionals in a more informal setting.
- Identify any groups that have a specific interest in conservation. For example, the American Library Association includes the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. Contact the chair and let them know that you will be attending the meeting. Ask if there are any events you might assist with or if there may be opportunities to speak about AIC.
- Study your existing network and see if it already includes anyone who may be attending this event. These people are allied professionals, after all, and chances are you already know some of them who can help to introduce you to others.
- Even if you do know another attendee, make a real effort to expand your reach and speak with as many people as possible about conservation and how each of your professions help and influence each other.
- Prepare your two minute “elevator speech” explaining art conservation and your work, and be prepared to give it.
- About Conservation Brochure This brochure lists the web URL’s for AIC’s website, Find a Conservator Tool, and FAIC. You may wish to print out several copies to distribute at the allied event.
- Conservation PowerPoint Presentation This Powerpoint (compiled by Jae Gutierrez and Paul Messier with contributions from many AIC members) provides a comprehensive overview of the conservation field. If you have a chance to give a presentation at the event, this may help you to get started. If not, the pared-down information may help you to develop you elevator speech.
- Related Organizations Page AIC has put together a list of allied organizations, along with their websites and other contact information. You already know all about AIC and conservation, so spend a little bit of time researching the other organization before the event.
At the Meeting
- Wear a ribbon or button that says “Ask me about Art Conservation.” Again, be prepared to answer when people ask.
- Present yourself in a professional manner, but pay attention to the culture of the event. Do not be the only person wearing a three piece suit and tie if everyone else is dressed in business casual. Most organizations will include dress code information on the event page on their website.
- Have your business card or contact information ready, and make sure to distribute it.
After the Meeting
Follow up with anyone who gave you their card and asked you to get in touch. There are a ton of tips out there about how to follow up after meeting a professional contact at a networking event (an example), and while many of them focus on helping job seekers make a good impression, following up is a good idea regardless of whether you are hunting for a job. A quick email is all you need:
"Dear (Insert name of allied professional), It was great to meet you last week at (insert event). I enjoyed speaking with you about conservation and learning more about your work as a (insert appropriate profession). Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions about conservation. I hope to keep in touch and see you again soon. Best wishes, (your name)"
You can also follow up with something specific to your conversation, such as sending them more information about your institution or a specific project that you discussed. This is a two way street, so if you had a question for them, kindly remind them: “I would love to read more about the new digital use policies you mentioned.”
A Note about Social Media
- There is a good chance you will not be attending a meeting of allied professionals specifically to find a job (although you never know what opportunities might come your way!), so a formal email might not be necessary for following up after the meeting. Finding your new contact on LinkedIn or Facebook and writing a quick, “I loved meeting you last week! Stay in touch!” might be perfectly fine. Judge the situation for yourself.
- Social media is also a great way to identify and connect with your demographic before and during the event. For example, if you are an emerging library conservator and you are planning to attend the ALA conference, check out the INALJ (which stands for “I Need a Library Job”) group on LinkedIn here. Chances are there will already be a discussion about the meeting and you can find out about happy hours or even find someone to share a hotel room with. Poke around the organization’s website or Facebook page to find groups like this for other organizations.