Sunday, July 23, 2017

SWAMTA Conference Preparation

Roommates from AMTA 2014 Conference

Roommates from AMTA 2014 Conference

I posted some checklists for Preparing for Regional Music Therapy Conferences, now I’ll show you how I put them into action for the Southwestern Region Conference.

Since Oklahoma City is 3 hours away, I’ll be driving this year. I’ve already booked a hotel room, registered for conference, and renewed my AMTA membership, and conference starts in two days. So let’s get ready!

Determine your goal for this conference experience. Who do you want to meet? What do you want to learn? What do you want to buy?
I’m giving several presentations this year, and I’d been on the Board of Directors for almost 20 years, including President, so my goal this year is to connect with people I know but don’t get to see very often. There’s a few presentation slots where I’m not presenting, so I plan to attend sessions related to advocacy, since this is a hot topic in my state right now.

Check out the schedule posted on the conference website. Decide what sessions and events you’ll attend.
I checked out the SWAMTA website, and clicked on the big conference graphic at the top to get to the conference information. The tentative conference session schedule has been posted, along with a brief meeting schedule. Looking at the schedule, I see several presentations that match my conference goal.

Print a customized schedule for your conference experience. Include room locations and times. This part can take some time, but it’s worth it to me to have one page to look at, instead of flipping through a conference program to try and figure out where I’m supposed to be and when. For this conference, I’ve created a schedule for you that you can customize. SWAMTA Regional Conference Planner

This is my #SWAMTA15 conference schedule.

This is my #SWAMTA15 conference schedule.

There are 3 presentations that seem to fit within an Advocacy Umbrella Topic, and I’m presenting 3 times, so I could potentially earn 50 CMTEs just by attending this one conference. If I added two 5 hour CMTE courses, then I’d get a total of 60 credits. If I were still on the SWAMTA Board of Directors, then I’d add 3 additional credits for Professional Service. However, I have 128 CMTEs already and I’m in the 5th year of my cycle, so I might have already reached some credit limits in some categories. Check out my post on How to Record CMTE Credits.

Plan your conference budget. How much will you need for your hotel, transportation, food, entertainment, exhibit hall? Decide what your goal is for purchasing new equipment or books. I don’t have a need for new equipment or books, but I’ll probably look through the exhibit hall anyway. I’ll set a budget of $50 for the exhibit hall. I’ll need about $150 for my hotel room and let’s assume I’ll need 2 tanks of gas at $40 each. Thursday dinner and Saturday lunch are provided at this conference, so I’ll need breakfast on Friday, lunch on Thursday and Friday, dinner on Friday and Saturday, and breakfast on Saturday. I’ll budget $60 for meals. That makes my conference budget $300.

Print travel documents you need.
I have my conference registration receipt, directions to the hotel (just in case GPS fails), and my hotel registration printed and in a yellow file folder for travel documents.

Plan your wardrobe based on your schedule and pack accordingly. Don’t forget phone chargers, a toothbrush, medications, and presentation materials. I’ll need travel clothes and then something semi-formal for Thursday, professional clothes and something to wear to dinner for Friday, and professional clothes and travel clothes for Saturday. I’ll also need my phone charger, presentation materials, and powerpoint supplies. I have a blue folder with my speaker notes and handouts for the Life After Internship presentation, a green folder with my speaker notes and handouts for the Psychodynamic presentation, and a red folder with my speaker notes for the CBMT presentation. I also have a notebook for writing down anything I want to take away from each presentation I attend and to make notes about things I need to follow up on after conference.

Set your alarm.
I’d like to be at the hotel at 3 pm on Thursday, so I need to leave my house no later than noon. I’ll leave my alarm set for it’s normal time at 7:00 am.

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