I’ve heard it said, from a number of first-time Convention goers, that the Exhibit Hall can be rather intimidating. I remember my first time going to Convention and how overwhelmed I was by the enormity of it and by all of the vendors. Going into it I had no idea what to expect, that first year was like a whirlwind. The following year I went with a plan and it made all the difference.
This year’s convention will be number 10, for me personally. I wanted to share a few things that I do to make my convention experience as orderly as possible in the hopes that it may help another that may be experiencing it for the first time.
For me it all begins when I get my FPEA “Convention Program” in the mail. I anticipate its arrival each year before Convention. I then seek out some quiet time to take my Convention Program, highlighter, pen, notepad and beverage of my choice, to my favorite quiet spot (for me that is my front porch) and begin the planning. By the way, we all should be getting our issues of the “Convention Program” in the mail by this week so that you can start your planning as well. Also, you can now view all the scheduled lectures and vendors right on the FPEA Convention website if your eager to get started before your issue of the Convention Program arrives.
At this time I am actually planning for next year’s schooling and any curriculum changes that will be made. I do this planning now so that I am prepared at Convention to look at anything that I may want to review in person and also to keep an eye out for anything else that may work well for the year ahead.
My List of Exhibit Hall tips …
- Have a list of specific curriculum or materials that you want to look at.
- Review the list of vendors in the Convention Program and write the booth number of the materials that you want to review next to the title on your list.
- If you’re not purchasing that day, make a note of the price of the items that you are interested in so you have it when the time comes to order. Many times if you order at Convention, shipping is free.
- Print out a page of your name and address labels so that you won’t have to write your information numerous times throughout the day to enter drawings or to be put on mailing lists. It saves time to just stick your label on the page.
- You may want to invest in a wheeled crate. For years I refused to be – one of those moms – that was dragging that silly box behind her. Last year I broke down and purchased one and it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. It allowed me to have my arms free of carrying heavy bags all day, not to mention it makes for a great little table to sit your drink, phone, etc. on during lectures. I also use it outside of convention for numerous things. Great purchase.
- Once I have taken care of all the “official” business in the Exhibitor Hall by visiting all the must haves, I then start at the beginning and just browse the rest of the vendors at my leisure.
Don’t forget that there is an FPEA booth set up as you enter the Exhibit Hall if you need any help or assistance while you are there, or if you just want to stop by and say “Hi”.
We would love to hear about any tips that YOU may have to share with any new Convention attendees, as well as for the seasoned veterans that are always excited to learn about new ways to make the Exhibit Hall experience as grand as it can be, so please share in the comments section. We can’t wait to hear from you.
By Roberta Underhill, FPEA Ambassador