mgma-13-conferenceThere are lots of reasons to spend time in the exhibit hall when attending practice management and other medical conferences. By visiting the exhibit hall you will learn a lot about what’s going on in the industry, how vendors are seeking to meet your future needs and what technology changes have emerged that can make a practice more efficient and profitable, while improving service and outcomes.

Yes, there are lots of reasons to get down to the exhibit hall, but it’s also important to plan how you can do this without being overwhelmed or wasting your valuable time.  Forget about seeing everything – it’s just not possible and can lead to unnecessary frustration. However, with thoughtful planning you can see those things that can make a difference in your very own practice.

Get off to a good start. Conference materials at the convention will include a list of all the vendors that are exhibiting. Match these with your interests. Then check-out their location on the exhibit floor. This will allow you the opportunity to plot your course.  Visit your selected vendors, by covering one section of the floor at a time. It’s a strategic move that will get you off to a good start. Refer back to your vendor list as you move through the convention. You might want to take photos using your mobile phone or make notes. This will be valuable for follow-up and decision-making when you get back to the office.

Pace yourself.  Be realistic in evaluating how much time must be spent on the floor of the exhibit hall to achieve your goals and meet with the different vendors you have targeted.  Allow an average of 5 minutes for each of the vendors on your list.

When you meet with an exhibitor, it’s important to be a good communicator and get right to the point.  Let the sales representative know what information you want and why.  At the same time, if the sales rep is not a good listener you could be wasting valuable time.  Don’t allow him or her to lead the conversation to information that doesn’t interest you. Get what you need, discuss your follow-up plan and know when to move on.

What’s new?  If you want to stay ahead of the curve, be in charge of your own future and be strategic in your actions, you must know what’s on the horizon. The convention is rich with opportunities to do this. You will want to cruise the floor for new discoveries and do it diligently, with your eyes wide open.  Take the time to stop at new exhibits to find out what opportunities are on the forefront.

Make the most of it. Enjoy yourself.  The routine of the office is left behind and you are in control.  It’s a chance to learn from industry experts and exchange ideas with your peers. It’s an opportunity to expand your knowledge, and get energized about the future and what it has to offer.

Once you are back at the office, schedule a meeting with the management team to discuss what you’ve learned. Examine new ideas and determine how the practice can adapt progressive ideas that enhance practice performance.  Extra steps like these can make the difference between the average practice and the top-performer.

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