Friday, April 29, 2016

Convention Attendance Tips

I've been to a lot of weight loss, health, fitness, nutrition conferences and conventions in my almost 10 years post weight loss surgery. I thought I would share my experiences and some tips to help you plan for and get the most out of the next one you attend.

Convention Attendance Tips

* Introduce yourself to as many people as you can. I just go up to a table or group and say "Hi, I'm Michelle." Trust me it will go well! Make a goal of meeting at least 10 new people. Find me. I want to meet everyone. This is the BEST PART of a convention for me... putting faces to names, meeting people who "get it" and are on the same road. The personal connections you make at these events are awesome and life-changing.



* Bring "business cards" with your contact info: email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram whatever you feel comfortable sharing. You will meet tons of people and you'll be constantly writing your info down or looking for a pen or paper. It's way easier. You can make your own using any word-processing software and some perforated paper, use a local company or check out an online service like Moo.com is where I get mine (and new customers usually get 10% off) You can put a current photo or your before and current picture or an inspirational quote. Exchanging cards with a photo also makes tagging people on Facebook with photos you've taken easier.


* Look over the agenda the night before and highlight the sessions you are planning on attending. There's not a whole lot of time between sessions, so you want to know where you are headed and this will give you more time to run to the restroom, chat with new pals, take a picture or two or grab a drink. Mark the vendors and exhibitors booths you absolutely don't want to miss. Build in a time to chill-out too.

Check out the Your Weight Matters National  Convention #YWM2016 Agenda 


* When you are in the sessions: take notes (web addresses to read more later) and snap pictures of slides that will help you recall those great tips and information you want to take home and apply. Stand up and ask questions.


* This is a chance to try something new. Break out of your comfort zone. You don't dance... dance at the evening mixer. Not a joiner... try a group fitness class. I wore my first dress in years at a convention. I always try at least one fitness class at Your Weight Matters events (there's always such a nice variety) I know I'm safe and in a place of respect and non-judgment. I can kick left when everyone is kicking right.




* If you are bringing a laptop or smartphone charge it at night in your room (plugs are not always available near your seat) and be sure to silence your settings. You don't want "Call Me Maybe" or the Biebster going off during a session.


* Tweet using the official convention hashtag. All social media savvy conventions will have one. Not only does it help the convention planners see what you are enjoying: "I'm loving Dr. X's session. Great tips! #YWM2016" or "Just tried a sample of  _____ at Booth #5 Delicious! #YWM2016" but it's also a great way to find friends and connect: "Heading to coffee shop. Anyone want to join me?" #YWM2016"



* Wear comfy shoes and comfy clothing. Hotel conference rooms are notoriously chilly (even in the middle of summer) so bring a light sweater if you are sensitive to that. It was 110 degrees in Phoenix, AZ outside but in the hotel my teeth were chattering. Trust me on this. Evening events... please don't stress about what to wear. Anything goes... some people dress up more and some are in the same clothes from the day's events. Wear what YOU feel comfortable in.


* I usually toss a healthy protein snack in my bag, nuts or protein bars are great (not too noisy or messy to eat.) I always have a bottle of water and travel packets of protein are great just in case the meal is not your cup of tea. Some conventions provide water (some have coffee and tea) ask the convention planners what will be available if that info is not available online.

Healthy Travel Tips


* Most conventions will give you a "swag bag" with goodies and information inside upon registration. Visit the vendors in the exhibition hall and score even more samples. Make another visit just before the exhibition hall closes. Most companies don't want to pay to ship product home so they are liberal with their samples an hour before closing up shop. Save a little room in your luggage to bring home your goodies or use the hotel business center to mail stuff home.


* Complete the post-conference survey. Take a few minutes to let the convention planners know about your experience, what you loved, what could have been better, the planners review those surveys so you can help mold and shape future events.


Upcoming events where I will be attending and/or speaking. Find me and say "Hi!"

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9 comments:

Nicole said...

Fantastic tips! I'm happy that we'll be at the same three upcoming events. See you in Portland, Phoenix, and Anaheim!

Michele said...

Well if I ever see one come my way I will go! I would love to honestly. Are your T-shirts for sale? :) You are so inspiring and you also inspire me to try crazy things with my protein! Oh I just bought a ice cream maker for 10 bucks at a yard sale. I hope it works because I would love to try the ice cream. Thank you for all that you do!

leendadll said...

thanks for the post. I didn't know about the event in Anaheim, which is ridiculously convenient for me, so I've added it to my calendar.

Patty said...

Thank you for the post. I am going to my first convention in August (see you there!) Great to have these tips to guide me through the first experience.

Might do Anaheim too, since it is close to home, but it may coincide with my surgery date (TBD) :)

Cindy W said...

If I somehow find the funds to attend either Phoenix or Anaheim I may just have to find you and follow you around. I am horrible at meeting new people.

Thank you for just being you Shelly!! You are amazing.

((Hugs))

Cindy W

Michelle "Shelly" said...

Cindy, I hope you do!!!

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Michele, Yay you will love making Protein Ice Cream this summer!! Great deal. LOL my boob billboard is a one of a kind right now will let you know if I ever have more made :) TY

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Patty, See you in Phoenix!

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Leendadll, See you in Anaheim!


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Nicole, I'll see you everywhere :)

Sunny Baxter said...

"Introduce yourself to as many people as you can"

That's a great tip we should all follow.
No matter what we are doing.

Christie said...

Just learned I will be going to Fitbloggin in Portland, cause I live here and can volunteer. I am having my VSG surgery the 19th, so we will see how much I can stay. But would love to meet you, have heard wonderful things about your blog for surgery patients! my journey has begun and I am writing about it at www.theskinnyonthesleeve.blogspot.com

leendadll said...

you left out: Have your picture taken with that super hot man. Wheeeewwww.. he is PRETTY!!