Meeting new colleagues, business contacts, and friends.
Sharing ideas and soaking up the wisdom of industry experts and accomplished peers.
Socializing and networking at fun events.
Gaining new knowledge and skills to implement in your practice when you return.

It's an incredible amount of activity to pack into four short days, and it's what makes a veterinary conference so great to attend. It is exciting, yet this can spark a bit of apprehension for some, especially the first-time conference attendee.

AAHA Nashville is going to deliver an amazing experience and we want you to make the most of the conference. Here are 10 tips, gathered from the feedback from veteran AAHA conference attendees, to help you get ready for all AAHA Nashville has to offer.

  1. Customize the conference for you.
    However you organize your experience, make a plan for all the sessions and events you want to attend. We make it easy by offering the information in several places, so review the conference Final Program, or create a personalized calendar in the AAHA app (coming in February) to customize your experience so you get the most out of AAHA Nashville. Need a place to start? Check out the conference highlights.
    *Some events and sessions require pre-registration; make sure to pre-register so you are guaranteed a seat.

    "Ooh, I love the AAHA convention! I go every time they come to Phoenix! My best advice: Download the AAHA app! It has the schedule, a map, hotel, and restaurant information, seminar info, and tons more. It even as a feature where you can locate any friends who are there! It totally kept me on track and helped me make the most of the convention!" --Julie Carlson
  2. Interact!
    Many sessions have round tables to help facilitate conversation. Find a table with friendly faces and say hello. Your tablemates will become your collaborators in each session. You'll pick up tips and tricks for success and maybe even make a new friend or two.

    "The whole meeting is fantastic. I really like the timely topics. Always great to share info with your peers. Works very well for problem solving." --Kate Pillsbury
  3. Socialize!
    Let loose and enjoy the several receptions, happy hour, AAHA Fun Night, Late Night With AAHA, and other fun events. You'll be mingling with some of the best in the veterinary industry and you never know who you might meet.
  4. Peruse the exhibit hall.
    There are more than 200 vendors offering the latest and greatest in the veterinary industry in the exhibit hall. Take some time to visit the exhibitors and find something new.

    *BONUS! The exhibit hall offers several giveaways and prizes. Make sure to get your passport stamped for your chance to win $5,000 and stop by the AAHA Resource Center to enter to win prizes.
  5. Eat!
    It's easy to get caught up in all the action and forget your basic needs, like sleeping, or food. Don't worry, we've got you covered with lunches in the exhibit hall and refreshment breaks between sessions. Accredited members can enjoy their very own lounge overlooking the exhibit hall. Keep up your energy and take advantage of the free food we're offering.

    *BONUS! Meet a new friend at your lunch table! (See tips 2 and 3 above.)
  6. Wear comfortable shoes.
    With so much activity packed into each day of conference, you won't want to miss a minute of it. But, your feet might not share your enthusiasm after a day of walking to sessions and events. Treat your feet right and wear your most comfortable shoes so you can keep up with the conference pace by day, and still dance the night away at some of AAHA's fun networking events or at Nashville's Honky-Tonk Row.

    "Break up the exhibit hall experience into multiple trips or you'll get overwhelmed. Wear comfy shoes--even if they aren't fashionable (your feet will thank you)! And if your practice is AAHA accredited, enjoy the Accredited Practice Lounge. I love this conference!" --Lindsay Brandenburger Peltier
  7. Drill down to one takeaway.
    You'll attend many sessions, and you'll take a plethora of notes, so how do you keep it organized? Take a moment and write down one key takeaway per session to refer to later.

    *BONUS! You'll receive the Education Workbook in your conference bag to take notes and keep your thoughts organized, plus it includes a specific spot to write down your key takeaway so you get the most out of every session you attend.
  8. Make an action plan.
    You've taken days off work and spent money on furthering your education, so make it worth every penny by implementing a plan of action when you return to your practice. Pull out those notes, review that key takeaway (see tip 7), and create an action plan to make the most of your new-found knowledge.

    *BONUS! Need some help putting your goals down on paper? Check out the action plan section in your Education Workbook to help you get started.
  9. Follow up with new business contacts.
    You'll meet a lot of new people at the conference, and you'll collect many business cards. Organize the cards into three categories: follow up for specific need, file in your address book, and not sure who this is. For those you want to follow up with, write the reason on their card and create a timeline to contact them. File the others in your address book and dispose of the rest.
  10. Ask for help.
    Need anything while you're at conference? Don't hesitate to ask an AAHA team member for assistance. You can find friendly AAHA faces throughout the conference. Plus, you have access to our very own AAHA practice consultants at the Resource Center in the exhibit hall. They're there to offer you expert answers to membership, accreditation, or practice-related questions.  

    *BONUS! Schedule a time for consultations on your marketing, website, social media, practice blueprints, and more!

Let us know if you have any tips to share or how we can improve your conference experience. Contact us at [email protected].

We can't wait for you to experience AAHA Nashville!



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About this Blog

Red is your guide to everything AAHA. Whether you’re looking for association news, updates on our educational offerings, the latest books from AAHA Press, deals from our Preferred Providers, or fun reads from various AAHA staff and AAHA-member veterinary professionals, this is where you’ll find it.

Questions or comments?
Email us at [email protected] or call AAHA’s Member Experience Team at 800-883-6301.

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