Have you been to FNCE®, the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo? If not, you are seriously missing out on an amazing event! For registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered, it’s right up there as one of the best conferences to attend — but it can be one of the most overwhelming conferences to attend, too. Here are my tips and tricks on how to have an amazing experience at FNCE.
Be Prepared, Be Prepared, Be Prepared
It’s such an important tip, it bears repeating. Take time and ask yourself a few questions:
- Besides continuing education, what do I want to get out of this conference?
- Why am I going this year, as opposed to years when I have not attended?
Ask yourself now, because I guarantee there will be no time to think about intentions once you get there.
Make a Plan
At FNCE in 2015, I was up at 5 a.m. for breakfast meetings and would not make it back to my room until after 11:30 p.m.! Before you arrive, consult the daily session schedules and plan out what you want to attend. And don’t forget about the Expo floor, speakers, events and other meetings! One way to stay organized is using the FNCE® App. If you’re coming to Boston from another state, remember to put the times on Eastern time!
It happens at every FNCE: on day one, everyone is super cute and dressed up; by the final day, everyone has opted for workout clothes and tennis shoes. When you pack for the trip, consider all of your events. Depending on what you have planned, you might need a daytime outfit and nighttime outfit. If you’re attending FNCE for five days, that equals 10 outfits and shoes! Think about how you can pare that down to mix and match to lessen your luggage burden.
Make Sessions Count
While I love social media, it’s a mistake to spend a whole session on Twitter. I know, I’ve done it — and walked out of a session having no idea what information was shared. Instead, go to the session with the intention to learn, take notes, ask appropriate questions and connect with fellow attendees. The people in the session are just as valuable as the material. Before and after the session, get to know the people around you and what made them come to the session. Then, after the session is over, get back on social media and connect with the people you just met in real life.
Network for Real
Do you really know how to network? If so, awesome! Skip this section because you don’t need any more contacts or social media followers. But if you could use help learning how to network, here’s the secret: be intentional, be kind, be you, be curious … and know meeting new people is hard! When someone comes up to you or you jump into a conversation of strangers, keep in mind a few questions to make talking to strangers easier. I always like to start with these: Where are you from? What brought you to FNCE this year? In which areas of nutrition do you practice? (Here’s the main point: Make the conversation about others and not the “me show.”)
For me, FNCE is right up there with Disneyland! It is a chance to see my favorite RDNs from around the country, make new friends, be surrounded by like-minded people who share my interests and totally nerd out on new nutrition information! By setting an intention for FNCE, you will help keep your mind in the right direction. What you put out there will come back to you.