First Time Participants

We know that attending your 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! I’m scared. Will it just be boring lectures the whole time? (Absolutely not!) We’ve heard it all, and have the answers to put your mind at ease.

“If you’ve never encountered anyone else who stutters. If you’ve never spoken about it. If you truly think you are the only one in the world who stutters that perception will change the moment you arrive at the Conference.” 

– Vikesh A.

The Annual Conference is 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.

Pre-Conference Communication

Before you come to the Conference as a First Timer, you’ll be contacted by a past Conference attendee 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!)

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 person who calls you to welcome you to the NSA Annual Conference.

Tips for First-Timers

Pack Appropriate Clothing

During the day, casual attire is expected (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 Closing Celebration Dinner is your chance to dress up! If you have signed up for any of our Activites & Events, be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and appropriate attire, and be sure to have your prepaid ticket for the activity.

Attend Workshops

We’ve got workshops and activities for all ages, whether you’re 6 or 96; fluent or a person who stutters! Workshops are typically one hour with a 15-minute break between them. There is no need to sign up in advance to attend workshops; simply arrive and enjoy! 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.

Keep Your Nametag On!

Wearing your 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 themselves, and pretty soon, you’ll have met more people than you can count! While you should keep your name badge on during the entirety of the conference, you are certainly not required to wear it outside of the hotel (for dinner or on an excursion, etc). This can potentially label you as a tourist, making you vulnerable.

Attend the First Timer's 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.

Attend the Opening & Closing Ceremonies

These are 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.

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. Active listening is encouraged as well; there is no pressure to have to talk, but even if you feel a bit overwhelmed, we encourage you not to stay in your room.

Celebrate at the Charity Banquet

Our last night is your opportunity share a meal, solidify connections, and take those final pictures with friends, old and new alike.