There are less than 2 weeks until I am heading to ASHA. I am so excited! There are only a few things that I truly geek out over but this is definitely one! It will be the first time that I am attending as both an Exhibitor and a CEU earner so I am not just preparing for what courses I am going to hit but also how I will prepare for exhibiting. There is SO much to think about but I have definitely learned a lot in my time spent preparing. I thought I would share the love and give you my top 8 tips for getting prepared. I hope you find them useful.
Let’s start with sessions. After all, that is the reason that most of you are even attending, right?
- Utilize the online program planner. You can find the program planner here.
I have to say that ASHA had a great idea with developing this online program planner. By either logging in to the ASHA website (if you are already registered) or registering on the ASHA website (if you are not), you can search for sessions that are of interest to you and put it together in an awesome itinerary that can be shared with others. Instructions for utilizing the program planner can be found here.
- Looking for a way to access your ASHA 2014 planner on the go? Then download the ASHA Program App.
If the online program planner wasn’t cool enough, ASHA also has an app for your phone. This app gives you the same features as the online program planner; however, it’s in travel form. It goes anywhere your phone goes and if you are anything like me then your phone goes EVERYWHERE you go. Don’t make the mistake I made and try to search for this app by putting in any combination of ASHA or convention you can think of as it won’t actually pull up anything useful, however, if you search for “Mira Mobile” you will find it and the best news of all…. It’s FREE!!!
You can search for sessions, see which awesome exhibitors are going to be there, access a map of where the sessions will be and once you have added the sessions you want to attend you have quick access to your agenda.
With hundreds of courses it is so hard to choose. There are so many great courses that I ended up having some overlap. If you have friends or colleagues that you are going with I would suggest coordinating with them on which person will go to which session so that you all can share the information from all the sessions attended, otherwise you might miss out on some great information.
The following tips are most beneficial to fellow Exhibitors, however, depending on how much you incorporate networking into your convention trip (which you are missing out if you aren’t networking), others may find these useful as well.
- Download the Chimpadeedoo app.
Since we have an awesome Newsletter that gives our subscribers updates, freebies, featured Vendors and products among other things, we want to give attendees the opportunity to sign up for our newsletter while they are visiting us at our booth. To do this we are utilizing Mailchimps’ Chimpadeedoo app. It collects the emails (even if you are offline so no need for internet) and then pulls the emails directly into our Mailchimp mailing list when you do connect to the internet so there is no extra work that needs to be done on your part and it’s FREE… Yes, I think I am in love.
- Download the CamCard app. Why? It makes it so easy to capture and store all the new contacts you will be making during the event. You can enter them straight in if they don’t have a business card; however, what I LOVE about this app is that you can capture a picture of their business card and the app will store all the information into your contacts. You can add any information not on the card, like maybe an additional phone number or personal email. Depending on the quality of your camera you may need to fix some of the information that it inserts; however, you can always just save it as is if you are in a hurry and fix it later as the app saves an attached picture of the business card that you snapped. It also gives you the option of adding different groups so you can organize your new contacts in any way that makes sense to you. It’s so easy and again my favorite part is that it is FREE!
- Download the 2 Do app. I use this app in my everyday life and LOVE IT; however, I have now added a category with all my ASHA to-do’s and feel very safe and secure in knowing that I will get all my ASHA related things done as it allows me to set a reminder alarm for any of the really important—“must do or my life will be over” ones.
- Download your needed travel apps. Since I don’t know which travel company you may be using for this trip, I can’t suggest a specific one but I do highly suggest downloading the apps for the travel companies that you are using. Personally I downloaded the Alaska Air app as my flight is through Alaska and the Hotwire app because my car rental is through them. This way I have quick and easy access to my itineraries and confirmation codes if I should need them. They also provide clickable phone numbers so I can quickly and easily dial them if I am having any trouble or need to make a quick change.
- Okay so this last tip may only benefit a few but it is very near and dear to my life and that is finding a gluten free food option while I am there. I have to say, I am not so happy with Orlando as they do not seem to have the amazing assortment of options that I get here in the Pacific Northwest, however, there are a few:
- Tommy Bahama: This restaurant is on the pricier side and only has a limited gluten free selection.
- Delmonicos Italian Steakhouse has a full gluten free menu and there is even a choice of gluten free pasta. Prices are similar to Tommy Bahama but it definitely had the best options of the restaurants I found.
- For a quick bite I might try Nature’s Table’s protein bowls which are gluten free. This place is a healthier fast food option and is very affordable.
- Millers Ale House has very limited “gluten-sensitive” menu choices.
- TGIFridays also has a “gluten-sensitive” menu and has reasonable prices for a sit down option.
So in the end, not too many choices but at least there are some choices. I have a feeling I will be eating a lot of salads during my trip.
I know I didn’t mention any of the social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter); however, I expect that you guys already have these. If you do not have access to these on your phone though, I would highly suggest it. There is great benefit in utilizing these during the convention to capture and share all those amazing ASHA 2014 moments and don’t forget to get tons of group selfies with those individuals that you are really looking forward to meeting so you can remember the awesome time you had while there!
If you can’t tell, I am super excited about this upcoming trip! I would love to here any tips or tricks that you guys might have that I haven’t mentioned here. Also let me know who will be attending ASHA with me this year! Be sure to stop by Booth 1377, I would love to meet you!