Whether it’s your first AFCPE® Symposium or your 26th AFCPE Symposium (à la Dr. Barbara O’Neill), we guarantee you will walk away with new ideas, new connections and new resources to use in your work and practice. That said, a few good tips always come in handy.

Together, our self-proclaimed “Twitter Queens” (a title that was well earned at #AFCPE15), Kate Mielitz, AFC® and Dr. Barbara O’Neill, CFP®, AFC®, CHC® compiled 14 great tips to help you maximize your symposium experience this November!



    • Check out the proceedings and the schedule for information on speakers and topics ahead of time so you know what to attend and when! There are lots of interesting presentations from researchers and practitioners. The Symposium provides a great opportunity to learn specifically about a topic you are interested in and it’s a smaller group, so there’s generally more opportunity to ask questions and/or talk to the presenters one-on-one. ~ Kate


  • Read the attendee list that is sent out by AFCPE in advance. See who is going to the Symposium and identify the people you especially want to meet and where you might meet them (e.g., at their poster during the poster session). ~ Barb


    • Attend and participate in general sessions! These sessions are important opportunities to share thoughts and ask questions! Don’t hesitate to speak up and give your opinion. Just like many of us express to our clients and/or students, if one person has a question, it’s likely someone else in the room has the same question.
      ~ Kate


    • Get there early! Get to your “must see” concurrent sessions early, before the room closes up. Otherwise, you could get turned away at the door or have to sit on the floor. ~ Barb
    • Keep Moving! If you are into fitness like I am, get up early in the morning to exercise for at least 30 minutes. Otherwise you’ll never get 10,000 steps a day in on conference days because you will be sitting way too much.
      ~ Barb


    • Use Technology! If you are a presenter, post your slides in Slideshare so your workshop participants can access electronic copies of your slides if you decide not to bring hard copies or if they run out. ~ Barb


    • If you learn something new and interesting, or someone makes a great point, TWEET IT! Live tweeting presentations and general sessions is highly encouraged! Join your unofficial AFCPE “Twitter Queens” in sharing with the Twitterverse what #AFCPE16 is all about! Help generate interest in what we do! We’ve never been a trending topic before – it would be awesome if we could do it this year! ~ Kate
    • Sit with someone you don’t know at group events and presentation sessions. This conference is a great networking opportunity for everyone! ~Kate
    • When you meet someone new, make a note! When someone gives you a business card, write notes on the back of it to remember your follow-up action (e.g. sending a document or inviting them to a meeting). If you don’t make a note, you’ll forget when you get back home. ~ Barb
    • Attend all of the social functions. This is where lasting personal and professional relationships are developed and you’ll learn a lot about topics that are not on the official formal program. ~ Barb
    • Visit the vendor tables to see what resources are available for FREE or for purchase! There are many terrific resources available! ~ Kate
    • Exchange Ideas! Do you have an idea for a project or research you might be interested in? If you are a practitioner, make sure to take the time to talk to a researcher (student or PhD). They can help you find what research is out there or even connect you with someone who might be doing research that interests you!  If you’re a researcher – talk to practitioners! What are they doing? What’s working? What do they have questions on? This is a great opportunity for practice and research to inform each other, which strengthens our field for everyone! ~ Kate
    • Check out the poster presentations for a quick snapshot of research being conducted! This is a great, informal way to ask questions of the researcher(s) or practitioner(s) who worked on the project! ~ Kate


  • Follow the conference Twitter stream using #AFCPE16. There you’ll see photos and summaries of Symposium content. Twitter, along with the proceedings, is a great way to review content from workshops that you are unable to attend. ~ Barb

We want to hear from you! Share some of your go-to symposium tips?

August 31, 2016

How to Make the Most of Your #AFCPE16 Experience

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