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.

Traveling alone? Tell people. One of my favorite opening lines is to be really honest. I'll say, "Hey, I'm here alone, can I sit with you guys at dinner?" I've never heard no and I've made great new friends.

Also, see if the conference has any special programming like a breakfast meet-up or welcome event specifically designed for people to make new friends and connections.

* 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 is where I get mine (and new customers usually get 10% off) You can put a photo or an inspirational quote. Exchanging cards with a personal photo also makes finding and 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 time to chill out too.

Check out the Your Weight Matters National Convention #YWM2019 Agenda 

* When you are in the sessions: take notes (jot down 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. Some conferences will email you slide presentations post-event. Want to know more: stand up and ask questions. Occasionally, a speaker may request no photos because something he/she is sharing hasn't been published yet. Always follow the conference rules.

* 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! #YWM2019" or "Just tried a sample of  _____ at Booth #5 They are delicious! #YWM2019" but it's also a great way to find and make friends: "Heading to the coffee shop. Anyone want to join me?" #YWM2019"

* 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 any provided 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. Remember the 3 oz. liquid rule for carry-on bags so if you score a case of ready to drink protein shakes make sure you check them.

* 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!" I can't wait to meet you!