2018 Annual Conference

Conference Pro Tips: Insider Hacks

Kevin Connors, MS, MFT

Greetings Gentle Reader,

In this article, the members of the Conference Committee thought we would share with you some tips and “insider information” that might enhance your time attending our conference.

Come early and locate the workshop rooms in the hotel. Orient yourself.

Go over the conference program and note the workshops that appeal to you.

If you have questions about workshops, visit the Society Lounge and talk to the people who are there – they are ISSTD members, Committee Chairs, and Board members who are there to help you.

Don’t feel bad if you can’t get to all of the workshops you’d like to attend. Pick the one that fits best for the day – all of the workshops are recorded, and you can listen to the rest at home.

Sit up front.

Dress is usually business casual; although some prefer a more business formal, especially if they are presenting. Whatever you choose, dress comfortably and in layers. Temperatures in the different break-out rooms can vary quite a bit and getting hotel staff to adjust the thermostats can take time.

Hydrate. The air conditioners in the hotel tend to make the air dryer than normal and when one is spending most of several days inside, we need to keep up the “healthy” fluid intake.

Snacks at the refreshment breaks are just that; snacks. In the morning, there will be coffee & hot water for tea, some juice, and the occasional pastry. Afternoon breaks are usually just beverages, coffee, tea, maybe sodas or juices. If you want a more filling breakfast or afternoon nosh, there is the hotel restaurant, a Starbucks within the hotel, and several eateries within walking distance of the hotel.

Talk to the people near you whenever possible – introduce yourself and find
out who they are and where they’re from. Who knows, you may meet neighbors,
or people from far, far away. These are your colleagues.

Feel free to introduce yourself to others and to join into conversations. Feel free to ask questions. We are gathered together to “confer”. We already share one common bond in our commitment to learn about and share about the important work we do.

Check out the extra-curricular activities.

Attend the President’s Reception on Saturday Evening. This is a great opportunity to meet and greet and get to know new people. There will be a cash bar to get a refreshing adult beverage to help relax after the full day of exciting and stimulating presentations.

The ISSTD Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will be having “Bring Your Own” Lunch meetings on Sunday. If you’re interested in learning about and possibly joining one of the SIGs, now is the time to go.

Invite people to join you for lunch or dinner. Most of us are traveling alone and would love some company. I have watched a small dinner party grow to an exciting and animated group that has since grown into long-standing friendships.

Take time to unwind and process what you’re learning. This conference is so jammed full of innovative and inspiring content, it can be a bit overwhelming. Know when to take a break and re-charge your batteries.

Have we mentioned we are in Chicago? Maybe you want to plan an extra day to play tourist. A certain ISSTD President will be spending time at the Chicago Art Institute to visit some of his favorite Impressionist and Modern art pieces. Chicago is home to world class museums, the Shedd Aquarium, amazing architecture, and great pizza.

Be bold – ask questions, reach out to others, show up, and make the most of your conference experience.

Welcome to ISSTD. We’re glad you’re here!

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