Tomorrow I leave for a small, but extremely good, meeting being held just outside a small city I refer to as the Armpit of the Midwest. There are worse body parts you could name a city after, so clearly this isn't the worst place in the Midwest. But it's not great. Obviously I'm not going for the location. No, this is a very good small meeting that is not advertised, so it's kind of clubby, but is extremely rigorous. The most rigorous meeting I know of. The participants all tend to be good-natured, but present a poor or incorrect analysis, or inappropriate statistical analysis (or heaven forbid no statistical analysis!) and they will hand you your head on a platter. After having sliced, diced and julienned it. Followed by a quick puree. In the nicest possible way of course.
This is where I'm hoping to bolster the chances of my recently submitted NSF proposal. At least two of the review panel members will be there. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped - the central protein in my new research direction is a pain in the butt to make. I have managed to improve our expression and purification protocols to the point where we're getting a yield 3-4 times larger than at the time of grant submission. This was important because biophysical work can require a lot of material. And we've finished a couple of new experiments, but not the ones I had hoped to do. Oh well, I have what I have.
This is an important reason for attending meetings. Meetings are useful for improving the odds of getting funded. One could even view this as the main reason to attend a meeting. You should aim to impress the people who will/are reviewing your proposals. Your goals are to convince them that you're someone worth funding and, if you have a proposal pending, that you are making progress.
Hopefully I can do the above in the Armpit of the Midwest.