We know that attending our conference for the first time can be both exciting and overwhelming. We know you might be thinking…
Can I afford it?
I won’t know anyone!
What goes on during the conference (will it just be boring lectures the whole time?)
We’ve heard it all, and have the answers to put your mind at ease!
Even before you come to the conference, you will be contacted by a conference veteran who will introduce themselves to you, tell you a little of what to expect and answer any of those worrisome questions you might have. It’s always fun when you meet the person who called you face-to-face at the conference!
What’s truly amazing about our Annual Conferences is that you are in one place with hundreds of people who share the common bond of stuttering. Everyone at the conference is there either because they stutter, they love someone who stutters, or they are interested in learning more about stuttering. When you’re at the NSA conference, people who stutter are in the majority!
Our conferences are a safe and supportive place where you can be completely open about your stuttering. No one will laugh or judge your speech. It’s a patient and supportive environment. That’s because we all get it and have been there ourselves. We welcome people who stutter of all ages, and speech-language pathologists, research specialists and the loved ones of people who stutter. Stuttering brings us together, and the NSA keeps us together.
Recommendations for First Timers
Pack appropriate clothing so that you will be comfortable throughout your entire conference experience. During the day, casual attire is acceptable (jeans, slacks, shorts). You might want to bring a sweater too, because the hotel space can be cool with the air conditioning. Evening attire is casual as well, however, our Saturday Night Banquet is your chance to dress up! If you have signed up for any of our tours or excursions, be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and appropriate attire, and be sure to have your prepaid ticket for the activity.
Keep your nametag on! Wearing a nametag with a ‘First Timer’ badge invites others to stop and say hi and find out a little about you. They will tell you a little about them. Pretty soon, you’ll have met more people than you can count!
Talk as much as you can! While you’re here, challenge yourself, empower yourself, and push yourself out of your comfort zone by speaking more than usual and introducing yourself to as many people as you can. Make sure to participate in workshops, open microphone sessions, meals, and outings with other people. Even if you feel overwhelmed, don’t stay in your room.
Workshops begin on Wednesday afternoon and end Saturday afternoon, running throughout the day, with a lunch break scheduled midday. Workshops are typically 1 hour and 15 minutes with a 15-minute break between them. There is no need to sign up in advance to attend workshops; simply arrive and enjoy! Take a look at our Past Conference Information to get a taste of what’s in store. Be thinking about leading a workshop yourself one year.
We work hard to ensure that First Timers feel right at home from day one. Many of our workshops/events are geared towards First Timers, and we recommend that you attend as many as possible to make the best out of your conference experience, particularly:
First Timers Workshop: Meet other First-Timers and become acquainted with the busy conference schedule at this fun, informative gathering. There will be a small presentation on the history of the NSA, a recap of some of the great things that we have to offer, as well as tips on how to ensure that your experience at the conference is the best it can be.
First Timers Lunch*: This lunch is held onsite and gives First Timers an opportunity to continue socializing with other First Timers as well as conference regulars. *The cost of the luncheon is included for all first-time attendees, but those wishing to attend must pre-register.
Opening & Closing Ceremonies: The only times that we ALL come together for awards, speeches, and special guests. Our closing ceremony can get emotional – so have some tissues handy.
Charity Banquet*: Our last night is your opportunity to take final pictures with new and old friends alike and dance the night away. *This is a pre-paid event – you must have a ticket for dinner.
We hope this information helps you to prepare well for your first conference. It’s going to be an exciting time that you’ll always remember, and the experience will leave a lasting impression. If you have any questions that we didn’t answer here, be sure to contact us, or ask the individual who calls you to welcome you to the NSA (and if they miss you and leave a message, be sure to call back!). We can’t wait to meet you!