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Making the Most Out of Convention Attendance: Tips and Tricks

Xiaoping Fan, Collin Brooks, Jaimie McMullen, and Kevin Patton

joperd cover March 2021

Attending a convention is a means for people’s professional learning and development, and therefore it is important to discuss how to make the most out of the experience. The benefits of professional convention attendance include the acquisition of knowledge and practical ideas (Stroot, 2001), the establishment of professional networks, the exploration of job opportunities (Kampla et al., 2008), and the maintenance of current knowledge (Napper-Owen et al., 2008). Attendees may expect to get the most out of their convention participation but may not know what to expect or how to make the most out of the experience. This is especially true for attendees with less experience such as preservice teachers and/or first-time convention attendees. This article provides useful advice and tips that can be applied to convention preparation, attendance, and postconvention activities for in-person convention attendance.

A variety of individuals attend professional conventions, and there are tips and tricks that can help them to make the most out of their experience. In 2005, Petersen and colleagues provided some guidelines for faculty to encourage students to attend the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (currently SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators) convention (Fiorentino et al., 2005; Petersen et al., 2005). However, it has been 15years since those were published, and there are likely new guidelines that should be considered (e.g., electronic schedules and social media, etc.). This article provides some tips and tricks for professionals to consider as they attempt to make the most out of their convention experience. Though these suggestions are specifically based on attendance at the SHAPE America National Convention, many of the tips are tricks can be applied to a variety of convention situations.

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