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9 Tips for Attending ASHA Convention

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ASHA Convention is right around the corner.  Are you super excited, yet feel pressure to accomplish a lot in a little time?  There is so much to do! Get as many CEU’s as possible, visit the Exhibit Hall, enjoy your time in a new city, and catch up with old friends from graduate school.  

Here are my top tips and pieces of advice to maximize your time and thrive at ASHA.

1. Plan Your ASHA Convention Schedule In Advance

ASHA has announced the schedule of events and has mailed out a helpful Pocket Planner with the schedule in it. Look at the schedule now and decide which seminars and courses are most important to attend. Highlight and rank the sessions that you want to attend.  

Seminars:

Personally, I select between 3-5 seminars that look the most interesting and beneficial to me.  I make it my priority to attend those courses.  After that, I am more flexible with my time.  I have found it very helpful to go through the schedule ahead of time and know my priorities before I arrive.  That way, when I get there, I don’t need to make difficult decisions.  I can execute my plan and enjoy my time.

Exhibit Hall:

The Exhibit Hall can be like a black hole of time that sucks you in. It is very easy to walk into that room and lose all sense of time.  I recommend blocking out a section of time that you commit to being in the Exhibit Hall.  If you allow your time there to be endless, you could very well spend your entire day in the Exhibit Hall.  

Sightseeing:

It is exciting to go to a new city for a conference!  If possible, I recommend arriving early or extending your time to explore Boston. That way you won’t feel like you’re missing out on seeing the city or have to sacrifice time away from the conference. If that is not possible, block an amount of time that you want to dedicate to exploring the city.  Pick a time slot that will not conflict with other priorities during the conference.

2. Dress Comfortably

The convention center is HUGE!  You can easily walk for miles in a day.  Sessions also get full and you may find yourself sitting on the floor.  For these reasons, I recommend dressing comfortably, especially with your choice of footwear.  ASHA is not the time to break out the stilettos.  Also, remember to wear layers and bring a sweater for changes in temperature!

3.  Be Well Rested

The convention itself runs from 8:00 in the morning to 7:00 at night.  This is a long day!  You may be tempted to go out after sessions and catch up with friends or experience Boston.  Keep in mind that you will have early mornings. A good night’s sleep will help you be energized during the day.

4. Download The Mobile App

There is an app for the convention that has helpful features including the entire program, access to handouts, a scheduler, notepad, presentation slides, maps, and a location finder. There is also a social media tab where you can link to live feeds from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!

I have yet to test out the location finder but it looks awesome!  It appears that if you get lost, you can enter what room you are near in the app and you can GPS track where you are. I think I will definitely be using this feature.

Download Here:

iTunes: http://on.asha.org/2xQkW1O

Android: http://on.asha.org/2vJv1Nm

5. Bring Hydration And Nutrition

There are thousands of people attending this convention.  Expect that any coffee shop or cafe in or around the conference center is going to have a line.  You may not want to use your time standing in line for a drink or lunch.

I recommend coming prepared with a refillable water bottle, coffee from your hotel (if you are a coffee drinker), and protein-dense snacks to nibble on during the day.  Food at and around the convention center will not be cheap. Coming prepared with lunch and snacks will save you not only time but money as well. 

6. Take Notes

I recommend bringing either a notebook and pen or having an app for taking notes during the conference.  The ASHA Conference App has a notepad feature.  

7. Arrive At Sessions Early

Seminars at ASHA Convention can get full quickly.  To ensure you get a seat at all, or in a specific spot, I recommend getting to sessions early.  Do not wait until the last minute to stroll into a session and find a seat because the only space left might be the floor. The convention center is large so give yourself extra time to get from point A to point B to arrive early.

8. Leave Room For Swag

The exhibit hall is full of exhibitors who are trying to recruit or sell products. Then come bearing TONS of free swag. Pens, bags, photo booths, etc. If you know you will be getting swag then either leave room in your bag or bring an extra bag to bring it all home. What may seem like picking up just another pen, can add up when it’s 100 pens.

9. Have A Positive Attitude

You may have a lot that you are trying to accomplish at ASHA.  The conference is big and a bit overwhelming.  Keep a positive attitude and remember that everything happens for a reason.  If you miss a seminar because the room is full, take it as an opportunity to attend a different seminar – perhaps a topic that you would not have otherwise selected.  Who knows, you may find a new passion!  

Remember to take time for yourself to relax and enjoy the moment!

I am looking forward to attending ASHA Convention soon.  I hope that my tips can help you survive and thrive during the conference.  If you see me during the conference, please feel free to stop me and stay hi! 🙂

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