Putting your best foot forward at events

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  Posted by: The Probe      17th June 2021

As COVID-19 rules and restrictions begin to ease, the dental sector can begin to look forward to brighter days ahead – not least with an industry event calendar that will see professionals reunited after a long and challenging year, encouraging a return to the collaborative way of working that underpins the sector.

As conference centres across the country get ready to welcome crowds, there are steps that you and your team can also take to prepare, so you can put your best foot forward at these eagerly awaited events, and maximise the opportunities.

What are the benefits of attending an event?

There are many reasons to attend a conference or event, whether it be keeping on top of the latest industry news and announcements, updating your knowledge and skillset, or simply socialising with others in your field, and remembering why you fell in love with the profession in the first place!

In addition, events can form an important part of your practice’s marketing strategy and present unique opportunities to meet the right people, keep an eye on your competitors, and build relationships. While many attend conferences with the idea of generating business, only a select few have an action plan on how to achieve their goals.

Spend time now planning how you will maximise your impact at these events and get the most from them both personally and professionally – it will be worth it!

How to get the most from an event

Here are some top tips to keep in mind when attending your next, much-anticipated, live event.

Do your homework

Preparation is key. Conferences can be an overwhelming rush of presentations and conversations, and it can be tough to know where to focus your attention.[i] Take time in advance to go through the event programme and decide which workshops and presentations you would benefit most from attending, and plot out your schedule for each day. It’s always good to mix up clinical seminars with practical workshops where possible to keep your mind and skills fresh – and remember to take time for yourself to recharge and refocus each day.

Also be sure to familiarise yourself with the exhibitor list and decide who you and your team should speak with, depending on your goals. Whether you want to source equipment, find training, or create new partnerships, draw up your list and share them out between the team so you know which stands to head for.

It’s useful to do a bit of background research on those exhibiting and jot down some key questions too. Plus, consider connecting with them on social media ahead of the event. It’s even better to message them and perhaps tag them into social media posts saying how much you’re looking forward to the conference and seeing everyone there, to start building the relationship early on.

Use social media

If you manage profession-facing social media accounts for training, mentoring or referrals, you could send out social media posts during the event, including quotes from sessions you have attended and give your opinion. It will position you as a thought leader and help showcase your expertise. Most events these days have a hashtag so remember to include this in your posts to help connect you with those following it. Be sure to follow event’s social media pages such as those for the British Dental Conference and Dentistry show too for the latest updates – @dentistryshow, @TheDentistryShow and @thedentistryshows on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram respectively.

Visual content is incredibly popular on social media,[ii] so always have your phone camera to hand. Taking and sharing photos of yourself with the people you meet is also a handy way to remember and be remembered by the people you have connected with (especially if you can tag them in). This will help you build your network and make it easier to reach out in the future.

Create your own content

Conferences are jam-packed with new and exciting industry-specific content that you can harness to show that you are abreast of key clinical updates and leading current opinion. If you are a dentist involved in peer-to-peer training or mentorship, consider writing an opinion piece on the latest innovations highlighted at the event, or on another topic of your choosing, to submit to an industry blog or publication. Sharing your new-found knowledge in this way can also help to show referring dentists that you are at the cutting-edge and could generate business for your practice.

Bring it back to the team

When you’re immersed in a talk or workshop at a conference, it can be easy to forget to take notes or jot down the key information to refer to later on. This is particularly important if you are the only person from your practice attending and are being relied upon to share the top takeaways!

Popular note-taking apps such as Evernote and Simplenote[iii] are great cloud-based solutions for storing and managing your presentation summaries – just make a point of organising them when you have some downtime to avoid them potentially getting out of hand. Alternatively, taking photos of key presentation slides is a great way to record information.

When you get back to the office, share your findings by producing a document illustrating the key updates, or even offer to present your takeaways from the conference over a lunchtime session.

Build your network

Use the event as an opportunity to make connections and build your referral network. Remember to bring business cards, or exchange contact details, so you can follow up on conversations and take note of any referral opportunities with your colleagues.

Sending a ‘good to see you there’ email shortly after the event can keep up momentum and build on the relationships you made. You could also link to the content you produced following the conference and highlight any unique features that your practice and expert clinicians can offer – building your reputation and encouraging referrals.

Register for your next event!

With lockdown easing, the sector is certainly looking forward to the return of physical conferences and events, and armed with the hints and tips above you will be able to make the most of the opportunities these will bring.

As one of the landmark events in the dental calendar, be sure to save the dates for the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2022 – Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May. Presented in collaboration with the British Dental Association (BDA) once again, this will deliver two days of enhanced CPD for the entire dental team, boast sessions hosted by world-class speakers, and welcome hundreds of dental manufacturers to showcase their latest technologies.

 

The next British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show will be held on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May 2022, Birmingham NEC, co-located with DTS.

For more information, visit www.thedentistryshow.co.uk, call 020 7348 5270 or email dentistry@closerstillmedia.com

 

 

[i] Harvard Business Review. How to Get the Most Out of a Conference.

https://hbr.org/2015/07/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-conference. [Accessed April 2021]

[ii] Agorapulse. How to Use Social Media to Stand Out at a Conference.

https://www.agorapulse.com/blog/social-media-stand-out-conference/. [Accessed April 2021]

[iii] Association for Talent Development. How to Bring a Conference Back to Work. https://www.td.org/insights/how-to-bring-a-conference-back-to-work. [Accessed April 2021]


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