Delegates are preparing for one of the best congresses yet. These tips can help you get the most out of the event, and return to practice inspired, energised and informed.
1. Use the Congress App
Be prepared before you arrive in Cape Town by downloading the Congress App. This contains everything you need to plan for a successful congress. Create a diary of the sessions you want to go to and the speakers you want to meet.
Find out who is exhibiting and know your way around with the interactive floor plans. If you don’t have a smartphone use the congress iPlanner to plan your schedule. If you started with the iPlanner you can import your sessions into the App.
2. Know your way around
When you arrive at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, take time to get to know the floor plan for the event. There are signs positioned around the centre to help you find events, rooms and routes. This will help you to move between sessions in good time.
3. Ask volunteers
The Congress is staffed by volunteers who are there to help you, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions. Multilingual volunteers will be wearing badges identifying languages spoken. They can help you with everything from directions to planning your day.
Ask them about the message on the back of their t-shirts and find out about how the congress is supporting a local initiative to keep people fit and healthy.
Get to know your way around using the Congress app, and plan your day using the programme
4. Find a buddy and make friends!
Whilst a good number of delegates have been to a WCPT congress before 60% are attending for the first time. If you have been before help those that are new to find their way around a busy programme and introduce them to others that you know. If there are queues at registration use it to start your networking.
5. Explore all that is taking place in the exhibition hall
Visit the exhibitors to find out about the latest products available and join one of the industry workshops. You’ll also find an art and health exhibition, posters and poster walks, and the new meeting and inspiration zone, the Indaba - this should definitely be on your list to try something new.
6. Keep an open mind
A WCPT congress covers the diversity of practice and is a wonderful opportunity to look beyond your own clinical area and consider professional issues that affect every physical therapist around the world. Many discussion panels, seminars and networking sessions are relevant to everyone, whatever your specialty.
If the session you wanted to go to turns out to be full, there are always plenty of other sessions at the same time. Some of the best could be the ones you arrive at unexpectedly! Many presentations will be online after Congress has ended, so you can always catch up.
If you know who you want to meet, have a plan and make the most of your encounter
7. Have a plan to get the most from the networking opportunities
If you know who you want to meet at congress plan in advance and focus on why and what you want to get from the encounter. However, be open and ready to the chance encounters and the potential that comes from new contacts.
Introduce yourself to people, talk about why you are at congress and find out about what they are interested in. Come prepared with business cards to exchange details or be ready to add them to your phone. With delegates from over 100 countries attending see how many of them you can tick off.
And when it is all over remember to follow up soon after the event if you want to keep the contacts growing.
8. Get social!
Connecting via social media is a great way to connect with others who may or may not be at congress. There is a growing community on Twitter and the WCPT Congress Connect Facebook page is another good way to share what is happening and connect with people. Remember the congress hashtag #WCPT2017. It’s also worth making sure that your Twitter or LinkedIn profiles are up to date and that includes a recent photo so people recognise you!
9. Bring the right kit with you
If you are busy using a tablet or smartphone all day, you are going to need your chargers or spare battery packs.
10. Keep active – and have fun!
Pack comfortable shoes! You will clock up the step count moving around the venue, it’s a good way to compensate for sitting in sessions. Every physical therapist knows the importance of keeping active.
Visit the exercise and healthy living zone, join in competitions, physical activity sessions or take time to stretch in your busy day. Most of all enjoy the colours, environment and vibrancy of the WCPT Congress 2017!
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