Each year there are a number of annual events and gatherings that we attend in order tostay tuned in on the latest best practices and products in healthcare. Some meetings aretaking on carnival-like character while others are still managing to stay focused oncontent. Some events are really beneficial to participate in and some are like emptysuits. In every case, we view them as opportunities to get one-on-one with the readers weserve.

Today's reality and the advances in media have created the ability to get one-on-onewithout actually being face-to-face. Certainly, a face-to-face encounter at a tradeshow orcongress can facilitate information exchange and produce good results. These events arenot yet dinosaurs. However, there are many tools today that let you get one-on-one withoutleaving the office or hospital. Numerous technological developments and the long-distancerelationships they help facilitate have opened very productive communication channels. Wehave all been "dot-comed" and have seen how these electronic tools help buildand maintain relationships and communication. Phone, fax, and e-mail keep us involved inone-on-one communication as well.

Given the trade-offs involved in travel budgets, time away form home and office, andthe opportunity costs of neglecting other things while away at trade events, it mayactually be far more productive to be one-on-one instead of face-to-face. Using technologyto really create one-on-one relationships with readers, colleagues, customers, and clientsis not only the true key to productivity but is also the better way to access the world ofinformation we seek when attending trade events. If you invest yourself in relationshipsand in readily available technology, you may be able to reassess the annual events youattend.

Substance is very important in the healthcare tradeshow and meetings environmentbecause the application of knowledge shared in these events has consequences--consequencesthat have a very personal impact on patient and staff safety. Separating the fluff fromthe substance can sometimes be challenging. Perhaps if you use technology to buildone-on-one relationships, you will be able to refocus your expectations and agenda fortrade events and therefore make them more productive for you as well.

Craig Burr

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