It is almost time for the 2016 Asha Convention in Philadelphia. The organizers are estimating that over twelve thousand speech-language-pathologist will attend. This will be my 11th Asha Convention, my third convention just in Philly! The Asha convention is the largest gathering of speech-language-pathologist in the world. I only missed one convention due to being pregnant with my first baby in 2013. Let’s be honest, I dread getting ready for Asha Conventions, there is always so much to prepare for it: presentations, booths, clothes, packing. I have presented many times at previous conventions, this year I am taking a pass.
While I did get a little jealous reading about all my SLP friends on Facebook getting their acceptance letters, I am glad this is one thing I won’t have to worry about this year. If you are getting ready to present in the next few days you know what I am talking about: uploading your presentation, preparing handouts, etc.
Enough with the whining here! It is the Asha convention guys! We know, that if you are anything like me, the Asha convention is one of the highlights of our year, right?
What is so cool about this gathering of over ten thousand speech therapists? Just like in real life we love being with people who are similar to us. We can use our acronyms without having to explain what they mean. Besides, these days some of my best friends are people who I met in previous asha conventions and who I get to see only once a year. I am sure many of you can relate to that! Many times, this is the place to meet someone I have been chatting online for years and just now I am getting a chance to meet them in person and give them a hug ( I am a hugger!).
The exhibit hall
The exhibit hall is a city within the Asha Convention. There are three hundred companies showcasing their products and services there. People can easily spend hours strolling around the exhibit hall. The exhibit hall is where I spend most of my time during the conventions. Last year I split my time between my two businesses: Smarty Ears & Smarty Symbols. This years, I will be showcasing Smarty Ears apps.
You can preview the companies that will be exhibiting at the Asha convention here.
My close friends know this secrete about me: I am not a planner! This gets very tricky during the convention, when you get invited to a multitude of events and I have not even started to plan what I will do each night. There are some events that I do my best to attend such as the the MSLP reception and the closing party.
If they is your first time attending the convention be ready for some fun! A stroll at the exhibit hall is a must. You can grab lots of fun things from the exhibitors ( You will find me at the Smarty Ears booth #615). Here are some of the top items I believe that you must bring to Philly this year:
- Business Cards: This makes it easy for you to connect with other people, enter drawing at the exhibit hall and apply for job positions;
- Comfortable shoes: Yes! You can wear nice heals, I have seem people walking around with them. I am not one of those people though. I choose comfort! You will be walking around a lot.
- Night event clothes: Being a mom of two young children, I am looking forward to the various events happening when the convention closes each night. If you are one of those super cute SLPs, who are always cute during the convention you don’t need extra clothes, I am not, so I will go to the hotel change to my nightly events.
It is possible for you to grab lunch at the exhibit hall, you have to request the tickets to it when you register. I have personally never done this, and I have regretted a few times as you have to walk very far at some locations to grab anything to eat. However, I have also seen the lines for people with tickets, and they have always been quite long.
The closing party is one last opportunity to hang out, eat and even dance with your peeps! I have attended some very fun closing parties these past ten years, some of my favorites being the 2004 in Miami and the 2014 in Orlando. The closing party was always a free event with limited tickets, however they started charging this year ( $5). If you have the energy for this last event, I highly recommend it!
One last tip: Don’t overpack! You will need space for all that you will score at the exhibit hall, things you will get for free and the things you will buy. You will need that extra space for sure!
See you in Philly!