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Massage Today
June, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 06

Convention Checklist: An Interactive Planner for Attending Conventions

By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB

There are many massage therapy conventions held each year throughout the United States and Canada. If you haven't already made arrangements to attend one, I highly recommend it. The benefits of attending a professional convention cannot be overstated.

Whether you come for a day or the entire event, conventions are a great way to expand your knowledge, meet new friends, talk to manufacturers, sample products, make purchases at discounted prices, and have lots of fun--and all of your fees, from travel to food, are tax deductible.

In order to ensure that you get the most out of your convention experience, I've designed an interactive, cut-out checklist to help you set your goals and priorities for the convention. Use the checklist as a guide, then cut it out and take it with you to the convention.

Start by listing the major things you would like to get out of this convention:

  1. Meet the top leaders in the profession, who I would like to study more with.
  2. Sample and order products.
  3. See old and meet new friends.
  4. New techniques and earn CEs.
  5. ____________________________________________
  6. ____________________________________________
  7. ____________________________________________

Getting There

Have you:

[ ] Registered
[ ] Booked travel
[ ] Booked hotel
[ ] Organized luggage and clothes

What to Bring

Weather can be unpredictable so plan accordingly. In addition to weather-appropriate attire, make sure to bring:

[ ] Comfortable walking shoes
[ ] A light sweater or jacket (It can get chilly inside the classrooms.)
[ ] A nice outfit for the banquet or dinner
[ ] A notebook and pens
[ ] An extra bag or backpack for convention purchases or goodies
[ ] Money ($___) for food, parking, incidentals, purchases, etc.
[ ] Business cards

Plan Ahead

Because your time is limited, you need to prioritize your tasks. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings on the day you arrive. Walk the venue so that you know the locations of the seminar rooms, the exhibit hall, restaurants, bathrooms, spa, gym, and anything else you plan to visit. Use the blank lines below to help plan your visit.  

Number of CEUs I need to earn:

[ ] ____________________________________________

Seminars you want to attend:

[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Presenters you'd like to meet:

[ ] David Kent/Kent Health Systems
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Techniques you are interested in:

[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Local attractions:

[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Notes:

____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Exhibit Hall

The exhibit hall has something for everyone. It offers a great opportunity to try a wide variety of products and services--and it is sample heaven! Most of the exhibitors offer incentives and product discounts. Arrive ready to take advantage of these convention specials since they allow you to get the most for your money. Many exhibitors also schedule private demonstrations by appointment.

Do you need:

[ ] A massage table or chair
[ ] Face cradle
[ ] Stool or chair
[ ] Uniforms
[ ] Linens
[ ] Lotion /oil / topicals
[ ] Textbooks /DVDs
[ ] DVD programs with manual
[ ] Trigger point wall or flip charts
[ ] Postural analysis charts
[ ] Professional organizations
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Booths you'd like to visit:

[ ] The Sanctuary - Enjoy foot massage and for a minimal fee; proceeds help support massage therapy research.
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Products you want to try:

[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Appointments (dates/times):

[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

Drawings and Giveaways

Convention Checklist - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Numerous drawings take place daily in the exhibit hall during the convention. Prizes range from massage tables and chairs, gallons of lotion and oil, linens, gift certificates and more.

Don't forget to visit the Massage Today booth, they have drawings for $500 cash during the convention. The raffle is free to enter, and you must be present in the exhibit hall to win--wearing your free Massage Today T-shirt, of course!

Seminars

The backbone and primary reason for the convention is, of course, the seminars--most of which offer valuable continuing education (CE) credit. Take notes about your experiences, which will help you track whether you'd like to attend a seminar with the same presenter in the future.

Some questions to consider: Does his/her teaching style work for me? Was the presentation clear and organized? Does he/she utilize technology that improves learning? Were the handouts helpful and useful? Does he/she have methods that I can integrate into my practice quick and easy? Does he/she provide quality study aids to reinforce my learning after the seminar? Does he/she seem to understand the challenges that I face daily?

Seminar: ____________________________________________
Presenter: ____________________________________________
CEs: ____________________________________________
Notes: ____________________________________________
Seminar: ____________________________________________
Presenter: ____________________________________________
CEs: ____________________________________________
Notes: ____________________________________________
Seminar: ____________________________________________
Presenter: ____________________________________________
CEs: ____________________________________________
Notes: ____________________________________________

Wrap Up

After the convention, take a moment to reflect on the experience. What would you like to do different next convention?

[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________
[ ] ____________________________________________

A little advanced planning can save you time, energy, frustration and money. Thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Have fun!

Please stop by and introduce yourself to me at the convention!


Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.

 

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