Recently, I have a paper accepted at an IEEE conference, and I am supposed to present my paper orally at the conference. The programs have been released, and it is a four day conference. I am supposed to present at the last day.

The question I want to ask, is that, should I also attend the first day (openning ceremony) as well?

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    Do you have a sense of how many people will attend this conference overall? There are some differences in etiquette between e.g. a 5,000 person conference and a 50 person conference. I assume a 4 day conference is more like the former, but the info would help with writing more focused answers. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:34

4 Answers 4


A conference is so much more than just an arbitrary concatenation of presentations. It is a place you can meet researchers from different places who usually work in a similar field to yours. You can use the time to get to know new people, get to talk about new ideas, find out what others are currently doing in your field, and much more.

Therefore, if you have the opportunity to attend the conference more than just the day of your presentation you should.

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    ... but, you don't have to. (I feel like that needs saying.)
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 6:21
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    @Davor: It literally does 100%. How does it not? OP asked whether they should go to the rest of the conference. This answer says "yes" and gives reasons why. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:07
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    @Davor: Mate I don't know which question you're reading, but it ain't this one. The question doesn't have a single utterance of the word "must". Not one. It does, however, contain "should" multiple times. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:10
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    In my experience, the networking opportunities are actually the most valuable part of the conference. The more time spent at the conference, the better. Of course, nobody takes attendance, except perhaps at very small workshops. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:20
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    @Davor: on this site, it is appropriate to give answers that go beyond the literal question to address the deeper issues behind the question. This answer seems very closely related to the literal question, and appropriate, to me. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:36

Well, "should" is a thing, "have to" is another. Let's assume you ask the latter: the answer is No.

It's up to you how much time you want to spend at the conference. Your registration can usually be done every morning of the conference and you are free to decide to which session/presentation you want to go. The opening ceremony is always optional and it's very common for attendees to skip it to save a hotel night.

Now, if your institution is paying for the registration, they might expect you to attend the whole thing. Depending on the conference, you might not get discounted registration fee if you do not attend the whole conference. And from your point of view, your talk is the least interesting part of the conference: you already know what is in it. A lot of the value of attending a conference is in the informal parts where you can build your network and discuss ideas. If you can afford to attend more than the day of your talk, it will be more beneficial to you.

Beware of one thing: the program can change (I learned it the hard way once). Sometimes flights are cheap at a moment when the final program is not out. Take that into consideration when you plan your travel.

One point: if your presentation is part of a themed session, or a moderated panel, or a "round table"-type of session, decency and etiquette require you to attend the whole session. Of course nothing will happen to you if you don't, but it will be seen as rude and pretentious.

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    "It's almost never the case that you can have discounted registration fee if you do not attend the whole conference." - actually, I have often encountered single-day registration fees that were lower than the full conference fee (but in a way that already 2 single day registrations were more expensive than the full (four-day) conference registration). Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:09
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    @O.R.Mapper yes, I used to see that often in large meetings, and a lot less in small, narrower-scope conference. I edited my answer accordingly.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 11:13

I was recently invited to speak at a conference. The "invitation" included a one day registration to the conference - only the day on which I gave my talk (otherwise I would not have been able to get into the building, I suppose). As it happens, I needed to be elsewhere for the rest of the week, so I did not mind terribly. But it does suggest that conference organizers for one don't expect speakers to attend all week.

But if it's in your field, and you have the time - why wouldn't you? Academic advances happen most often at the intersection of minds and ideas - making conferences an ideal place for planting, nurturing or harvesting the ideas that will build the next advance in your field.


Well, there are situations when it is almost a "must."

In a country which must be nameless, all conference presenters are usually presented with a certificate each to prove that each of them really presents a paper. The reason? All academic jobs in that country have compulsory requirements of conference presentations to keep the job; as far as I remember, it is (3) local conferences and (1) international conference at least. But some academics abuse the chance to visit a distant place by spending the time as a tourist, rather than at the conference. Hence the requirement of such certificates!

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    But do they have to be present during all days of the conference to get the certificate? I have a hard time imagining any organizer of a reputable conference checking this for some attendee.
    – DCTLib
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 13:46
  • Of course, it is not like a workday. Yet, presenters should be present for a reasonable extent of time each day. In other words, it is not good if you appear only at your presentation.
    – ashinpan
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 14:43

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