Do you enjoy attending education conferences, or do you prefer getting information on health care trends from books and journal articles?
Whether the focus of your educational needs is clinical or administrative, conferences offer one benefit that other resources do not; networking.
Through my experience of both attending and planning conference programs I’ve come to appreciate how much work they are to put together and execute, and how truly beneficial they can be. Most of that benefit is directly connected to networking opportunities. I’ve had fascinating conversations over morning coffee, or with the stranger sitting next to me. (Although I promise I don’t chat during the sessions – people who do are one of my pet peeves! Shush – we didn’t come all this way to listen to you!)
While I’ve attended a few “Wow!” sessions over the years, most of the really thought-provoking ideas I’ve taken home have come from fellow attendees. My advice? Don’t be shy! Take advantage of the phenomenal amount of education and experience that surrounds you at conferences. Most people are more than willing to share their expertise in the casual “let’s chat over lunch” atmosphere that exists in these settings.
My second tip; as you’re collecting business cards from all those interesting folks, take a moment to jot something about them on the back, otherwise you get home with a fist full of business cards and no idea what you talked about with most of the people they represent. Definitely a lost opportunity for further networking.
I will soon be attending my first-ever Estes Park Institute Conference and I can hardly wait. Colleagues who have attended these programs have assured me that they are well worth the investment. If you happen to attend the same program I do, be forewarned; I plan to ask a lot of questions – and only some of them will be directed to the speakers…