DC is a great hub for evaluation! We’re home to the Washington Evaluators, an AEA affiliate, and we’re also close to the Baltimore Area Evaluators and the Eastern Evaluation Research Society. I’m thrilled that the #Eval13 conference is coming to DC this October 16-19, 2013.
Cool Tricks—Make the most of your pre-conference time. Before last year’s AEA conference, I wrote a blog post titled Conference Tips for Newbie Evaluators. I’ve boiled down that advice to a few key takeaways.
Here’s what novice evaluators and first-time conference attendees should do before the AEA conference:
- Plan to attend at least one session each on: 1) a brand new topic (to broaden your understanding of the field); 2) a beginner-level topic (to meet other newbies, and to feel more confident in what you already know); and 3) an advanced topic (to give yourself a reality check about what you don’t know). Ask your coworkers and supervisors for recommendations; they’re always happy to suggest good sessions.
- Find out which organizations will be represented at the conference. Even if you’re not job-hunting now, start brainstorming who you’ll want to work with in 5, 10, or 20 years. I like to skim through the online conference program.
- Start meeting people through Twitter and blogging. Join this Twitter list of #Eval13 attendees and read evaluation blogs through EvalCentral. Figure out who you want to meet face-to-face at the conference and set up a few coffee dates.
- Make your presentation shine. Check out AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) for tips on message, design, and delivery. My favorite p2i resources are the preparation checklist, the slide design guidelines, and the resources specifically for 5-minute Ignite presentations.
Experienced evaluators, what additional tips and tricks would you add? Don’t forget to share these strategies with the novice evaluators on your team.
Hot Tips—Check out the Local Arrangements Working Group’s guides. AEA’s Local Arrangements Working Group compiled a restaurant guide, a list of things to do in DC, and tips for getting around DC. Want to promote good federal evaluation policy while you’re in town? Be sure to check out the Evaluators Visit Capitol Hill initiative!
This is the last of three weeks this year sponsored by our Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) for Evaluation 2013, the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference coming up next month in Washington, DC. They’re sharing not only evaluation expertise from in and around our nation’s capital, but also tips for enjoying your time in DC. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to firstname.lastname@example.org.