- Learning level: Does this conference match your learning and teaching needs? Is this conference primarily for health literacy newcomers? If so, it might have introductory sessions about what health literacy is and why it’s important. Or is this conference for those who want to (or have to) learn a new skill? If so, a workshop format with time to practice might address that need. Some larger conferences address multiple learning levels.
- Topics and areas of interest: Do the presentations match your area of practice? For instance, is it mostly about patient-provider interaction, public health communication, or community services? If not specific to your work, is there a way to adapt this information? As a speaker, I take seriously the responsibility to meet the needs of each audience. For example, when I spoke with medical librarians (of which I am not), I began by talking generally about health literacy principles and then moderated a panel of librarians who highlighted ways they put these principles into practice.
- Speakers: Are speakers from the local area or nationally recognized experts, researchers, and authors? Have you heard them speak before? If so, are they talking about something interesting or new? Beyond the subject itself, are speakers engaging and easy to listen to? Will there be other opportunities to meet with them? I very much enjoy informal ways of getting to know other speakers, meeting hosts, and conference participants.
- Audience: Are most attendees from the local area? Or coming from other parts of the country or world? I like it when conferences distribute a list of attendees ahead of time so I can make plans for getting together with folks I know or want to meet.
- Logistics: Will my investment pay off? This includes not only my time at the conference but also in travel. Can I attend for just an hour or two, or does this conference require a full-day or multi-day commitment? How much does the conference cost? What about other expenses as for travel, hotel, meals? Does this conference offer CEUs or other professional credits? As a small business owner, I think carefully about the potential payoff for my investment in health literacy conferences.
Helen Osborne often speaks at health literacy conferences. Learn more about her keynote presentations, workshops, and onstage panel conversations.