Today’s guest post is by Ronald G. Shapiro, PhD (Psychology, Ohio State University). Dr. Shapiro is a speaker and consultant in career development, education, ergonomics, human factors, leadership development and learning. Ron’s TV Game Show style Education by Entertainment programs are applicable, easy to remember, educational, entertaining, useful and a ton of fun. They are suitable for businesses, colleges, middle schools, high schools, professional organizations, universities and youth groups. Ron also offers similar programs for special family events such as birthday celebrations which capitalize on fun, but also bring in an appropriate mix of learning to help improve performance at school and/or at work and communication everywhere.
Conferences, conventions and annual meetings of professional organizations (I have heard all 3 terms used interchangeable) provide an outstanding opportunity for professionals to share information, learn, network, potentially find an employee or a job, and secondarily possibly visit a city the attendee has not been to before or try new restaurants. Conventions tend to have one or more keynote or plenary speakers to address large groups of attendees, a number of smaller concurrent sessions on more specialized topics, a poster area for attendees to display some of their work and engage in discussions with attendees, an exhibit hall for demonstrating products which may be of interest to the attendees and potentially a job fair. Conventions may also have additional training workshops available for an additional fee, social events, and technical tours or sightseeing activities. Conventions also tend to be expensive to attend because they entail time away from work, travel costs, and convention registration fees. Thus, one challenge the first time attendee will face is obtaining funding to attend the convention.
Tips for Convention Attendees
The simplest way to obtain funding is to ask an employer or school to pay. The chances of obtaining an affirmative answer increase substantially if the attendee is either asked to participate in the company’s exhibit or appears on the program. The process for helping with a company’s exhibit varies from company to company, but check with the sales department. To become part of the convention’s program contact the organization sponsoring the convention (or check their web site) about a year in advance of the convention and obtain a copy of the request for proposals. The organization will probably ask you to submit a form including a title for your talk, an abstract of around a hundred words, possibly a copy of your entire talk, and possibly your biography. The proposal will be evaluated by a committee and you will be notified of its acceptance (or rejection). Other ways to convince your company (or school) to pay would be showing that you will be a better employee as a result of what you may learn at the convention or that it would simply be useful for the company to have you speaking with people explaining what your company does.
Speakers (other than selected plenary, keynote or other distinguished speakers) would normally not expect to be paid, though they may receive a reduced registration fee or possibly no registration fee. Sharing hotel rooms or staying in an offsite motel (perhaps a bus ride from the convention site) may save some serious money.
* Check back next week for another post from Ron on a Checklist for a Successful Convention Experience.
Another great guest post by Ron: Birthday Party Planning, to Surprise or Not to Surprise?
1 Ron would like to thank Industrial Consultant Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.