Top 10 reasons for presenting a conference paper

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sas_user_conferences_verysmallProfessional development, popularity, untold fame: the benefits of submitting a paper to a SAS conference are certainly varied and widespread! In a recent SAS Users LinkedIn discussion started by David Corliss, avid SAS users and former presenters discussed their motivations for writing, researching and presenting papers. From the many wonderful stories submitted and wisdom shared, I’ve compiled the top 10 reasons for submitting a paper:

10. Beef up your professional experience. Many commenters agreed that one of the most apparent benefits of presenting a paper is that it improves your professional clout. As Ken Borowiak put it, it just looks good on your CV or resume.”

9. Share your expertise with others: Even if you may think your SAS knowledge is limited or incomplete, sharing a paper about your particular area helps other SAS users. After all, we “all benefit from shared knowledge” said Vince DelGobbo.

8. Have a blast: Writing and presenting a paper shouldn’t seem like a chore! In fact, many talked about their positive experiences as presenters. As Tricia Aanderud put it, “I think it's fun. I like to present and share knowledge so its a great way to get a conversation going.”

7. Master your discipline: Many commenters talked about how the experience helped them learn even more about their subject area, especially as they tried to anticipate audience questions. Arthur Tabachneck shared that “I've found that having to write a paper and create a presentation… has always forced me to expand my areas of expertise.”

6. Learn a new skill: Think an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Think again, Marje Fecht said “[e]verytime I present at a users group - I learn something new from the audience. Sometimes it's an option I didn't know existed. Other times its a novel approach that I hadn't considered. It's great to be able to share knowledge and expand my knowledge at the same time.”

5. Become popular with your peers: Who doesn’t want a guaranteed spot at the cool kids’ table? Presenters are able to engage like-minded users from across the country and expand their professional networks all in one sweep. Chris Swenson said “it's a great way to meet a lot of people!”

4. Drive up demand: Beyond a few lines on your resume, presenting at a conference helps asserts you as a SAS insider and a force to be reckoned with. Charu Shankar said that after presenting, “all of a sudden you become a much wanted expert...all because you spoke up to share your knowledge at SAS global forum.” David Corliss, the discussion leader, expressed a similar sentiment. “Since SGF, where I presented two papers, my appearances in searches and profile views on LinkedIn have doubled,” he said.

3. Build lasting connections: While meeting and greeting other professionals is a definite perk, having those new connections turn into lasting friendships is an outstanding motivator to write a paper. Eugene Barlaz was kind enough to his experiences as a presenter: “I presented my first SAS paper at a Users Group Conference in 1988 in Orlando. I met people who attended that session that I remained in contact with for a decade. I learned that I used SAS (GMAP) in a way people had never thought of, but more importantly someone approached me and was able to suggest additional coding methods that didn't occur to me."

2. Help others: Instead of focusing on what you can take away from the experience, remember that writing a paper can help other users learn. Andrea Wainwright-Zimmerman said it best when she reflected on how reading “the emails from people who read the paper and appreciate the knowledge you have shared makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.”

1. Get Famous: Ok, so you may never receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but Chris Hemedinger insisted that presenting a paper is a sure-fire way to “increase your fame (in a limited, SAS centric sort of way).” He even wrote an entire blog post on the subject!

Thanks once again to everyone who shared their experiences! If you’re a newbie or still on the fence, why are you waiting to write a paper? Fabulous personal and professional perks? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

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Natalie Meyer

Administrative Support Student

6 Comments

  1. Nice summary of David's discussion on reasons to present. It's definitely a great experience and I tend to agree with these sentiments. I encourage all of you out there to present. A good way to get your feet wet, so to speak is to talk at a Local User Group meeting or a Regional User Group meeting. These venues often have very accepting audiences who are more likely to encourage and support you than anything else. Some of the regionals, such as MWSUG also have mentorship programs to help you prepare and succeed at presenting. I think all of the regional Call for Papers are closed for 2013, but these would be good places to consider presenting in 2014....

    • Natalie Meyer
      Natalie Meyer on

      Great suggestions George! I'll be writing a post soon about opportunities for students and young professionals at SAS users conferences. It's great that there are so many resources available for people who want to join the SAS community and share their work with others!

  2. John Bentley on

    A reason that I've found valuable over the years is "your employer is more likely to send you" if you're presenting a paper and thereby enhancing the company image. The downside though is that the legal department will need to vett the paper so you have to send them a draft a month before the final is due.

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