Each year there are a number of annual events and gatherings that we attend in order to stay tuned in on the latest best practices and products in healthcare. Some meetings are taking on carnival-like character while others are still managing to stay focused on content. Some events are really beneficial to participate in and some are like empty suits. In every case, we view them as opportunities to get one-on-one with the readers we serve.
Today's reality and the advances in media have created the ability to get one-on-one without actually being face-to-face. Certainly, a face-to-face encounter at a tradeshow or congress can facilitate information exchange and produce good results. These events are not yet dinosaurs. However, there are many tools today that let you get one-on-one without leaving the office or hospital. Numerous technological developments and the long-distance relationships they help facilitate have opened very productive communication channels. We have all been "dot-comed" and have seen how these electronic tools help build and maintain relationships and communication. Phone, fax, and e-mail keep us involved in one-on-one communication as well.
Given the trade-offs involved in travel budgets, time away form home and office, and the opportunity costs of neglecting other things while away at trade events, it may actually be far more productive to be one-on-one instead of face-to-face. Using technology to really create one-on-one relationships with readers, colleagues, customers, and clients is not only the true key to productivity but is also the better way to access the world of information we seek when attending trade events. If you invest yourself in relationships and in readily available technology, you may be able to reassess the annual events you attend.
Substance is very important in the healthcare tradeshow and meetings environment because the application of knowledge shared in these events has consequences--consequences that have a very personal impact on patient and staff safety. Separating the fluff from the substance can sometimes be challenging. Perhaps if you use technology to build one-on-one relationships, you will be able to refocus your expectations and agenda for trade events and therefore make them more productive for you as well.
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