We’re now in the midst of convention season. You and your team are probably planning a trip to a meeting in your region and you want to make the most of it. Traveling to conventions can be an excellent opportunity to learn as well as have some quality time building relationships with your team.
While you do want to have fun, I bet learning is your primary objective for these trips. Here are 4 steps to getting the most out your next dental conference.
Figure out the why
Why are you going? Your first answer may be to get your CE for the year. But I want you to think a little deeper than that. Have you heard about a new product or procedure that you’d like to learn about? Take a look at the schedule of courses ahead of time and plan which ones you’ll attend.
Think about how you’ll implement what you learn. If you’re going to learn more about Risk Assessment, for instance, do a little research and find a couple articles to read before the seminar. This will allow you to have a basic knowledge of the topic and hear different points of view. How will this new knowledge make a difference in the way you practice? Just think about it and look for answers throughout the program, making notes along the way.
Go In Prepared
Before hitting the exhibit halls, create a list of products or equipment you want to check out. Break up into groups of 2 or 3 to ‘shop’ the hall and tackle your list. Give the vendors a chance to educate you on their product and don’t be afraid to kindly question its use in real practice. Figure out how you’ll use it to make your job easier and deliver better care. Again, arming yourself with a little information before you go will help you to ask the right questions.
If there are large purchases you’re considering, set up, in advance, meetings at the convention with several reps in the same category of the product or equipment you’re considering. This way you don’t have to fight the crowds and you can get the time and information you need to make the best decision.
At the end of each day, plan a time to re-group with your team or a few colleagues if you’re going solo. Dedicate the first 30-45min to discuss what you learned or what new products you discovered. Report the estimated cost of implementing if you can and how it will improve efficiency and service.
Have each group of 2-3 report their findings to the group. Then assign one person in each group to be responsible for following through on the new ideas once you return back to the office.
Create your action plan
Before you return home to your busy work life, set aside and hour or two to create an action list based on what you learned at the conference. Note what action you’ll take-order product, implement new diagnostic or operative techniques. Determine who will be accountable for moving it forward and a date by when the action will be taken.
On a sheet of paper, draw 3 columns:
What? Who? By When?
Take this back to the office, take action and you’ll have a return on your convention investment like never before.