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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Countdown to a convention

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

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Who’s going to FNCE? That’s short for Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo – the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It is just over two weeks away.

10 tips to get the most out of a convention

In countdown fashion, allow me to share 10 tips to get ready and get the most out of the convention…

10 – Identify your priorities.

Why are you going? Your off-the-cuff answer may be to get continuing education credits (CEUs). That should be a high priority, but get more out of FNCE than just 20+ CEUs.

9 – Make an education plan.

To get the most out of the educational offerings, which include 100+ sessions and hundreds of posters, plan ahead what to attend in person and which sessions you might access as a benefit of FNCE-On-Demand, which allows you up to 3 years to “participate” in a FNCE session.

Check the “Day-at-a-glance” ahead of time and the more detailed listing at the conference. But there’s more to a conference than educational sessions so don’t pack your days so tightly that you miss out on other great opportunities.

8 – Make an exhibit plan.

Learn about new resources and products from the 375 exhibitors in the huge exhibition hall. You can get credit for time spent learning in the exhibit hall, so it helps achieve your goal for CEUs. Identify which booths are a “must see” and which ones to save for “if you have time.”

7 – Make a plan to visit the DPG/MIG Showcase and the Product Marketplace.

Be inspired by what other RDNs are doing. Support their work. Share your ideas.

6 – Select several special events to attend.

You will get multiple invitations for breakfasts, receptions, and more. You can’t attend everything, so carefully select those that will provide the best learning and networking. See below for information about a reception for Purdue alumni and students – hope to see you there!

5 – Make a networking plan.

Who do you want to connect with? With 10,000 attendees at FNCE, it doesn’t hurt to make a plan for meeting up with people you don’t want to miss. Schedule a day and time to meet, or agree to attend the same event.

What can you offer to others you meet? Are your business cards up-to-date? Do you have a system for collecting information about your contacts and following up afterward to keep the conversation going?

Networking can be the most valuable outcome of attending a conference. Do it with intention.

4 – Make a plan for putting something you learn into practice after the convention.

Implement a new idea, access a new resource or product, share new information with colleagues, clients, or students. Look ahead to the next convention and submit a proposal to speak. Give back.

3 – Make a plan to have fun!

Enjoy the city hosting the convention. Visit a new site away from the convention center and your hotel. Enjoy a new restaurant – don’t live on expo hall food! Make a few new friends. Buy a souvenir.

2 – Make a plan to stay healthy.

Get plenty of sleep. Embrace the walking – wear comfortable shoes. Stay hydrated. Eat healthfully. Wash your hands.

1 – Pack lightly.

Wear comfortable clothes that layer, mix and match, and make you feel fabulous. For light luggage on the trip home, avoid picking up more in the expo hall than you can transport home.

Above all, strive to make the most of the convention. Relax and enjoy the time away from your daily stresses. Be fully present where you are and with whom you’re with.

If you’re going to FNCE, how are you preparing? What are you looking forward to most?

If you’re a Boilermaker –

Join us for our Purdue gathering Sunday, October 21st, 5-7 PM for southern small bites & drinks. Location: Acadiana Restaurant, 901 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC (across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center).

Acadiana is a contemporary Louisiana eatery, the only restaurant in the nation's capital to serve Louisiana cuisine at a heightened level of elegance. It has been deemed one of the “Best New Restaurants” according to Esquire Magazine and one of the city’s “100 Very Best Restaurants” by Washingtonian magazine.

Hope to see you at #FNCE!!

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

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