A while ago I've been on a conference and really rare thing happened. I sat in a talk of a young PhD student from a different university and his work and results just struck a chord with me. I talked to him later on and got really excited about doing some experiments complementing his work, because I think it'll help answer one of the big questions in my field. As I said, this is a really rare experience for me. Usually I go to conferences and there are interesting talks, yes, and I take notes, yes, and sometimes I ask some questions. But it does not happen very often that other people's work inspire me so much, that I'd love to go to the lab right away and set up some experiments.
This seems to be similar for a lot of my colleagues. Many of them just sit in the talks during the first day and meet with their usual crows of collaborators during the rest of the event. This is important to catch up on common work and plan the next papers face-to-face. But what do we then need all the talks for? Why is the inspiring-rate so low? Or am I just really bad in seeing all the great stuff my colleagues are doing and how it relates to my work?
Is anybody here who usually gets a lot out of conference talks? I'd like to learn the tricks!