Sunday, February 11, 2007

Some Hints to Make the Most of a National Meeting

I compiled this list of helpful hints from my own experiences and from peers input over the past few years. I think it may be helpful to first timers but also to veterans of national/regional medical meetings like the AAHPM Annual Assembly.

This was originally posted to the AAHPM Professionals-in-Training Special Interest Group email list.

Any updates or additions would be appreciated.

Christian Sinclair's Handy Hints for a National Meeting
Originally written Jan 2005

* Bring your CV (multiple copies, and UPDATED) and business cards, regardless of whether you are looking for a job. Many people may want to know more about you for networking reasons, not just job offers.
* Talk to people. Don't sit by yourself unless you are the first person in the room. Sit next to someone and then introduce yourself.
* Don't stay in your room too much, you'll miss too many opportunities
* Stay in your room sometimes. Take some time to unwind and be yourself.
* There is a bulletin board in a central place where people post messages: Llook there for any messages regarding you or get-togethers you are interested in.
* The bulletin board is a good place to post a flyer with your picture on it, with a sign that says "Will provide good end-of-life care for food", if you want people to contact you about a job. (Trust me there will be a lot of people there looking for fresh new trainees.)
* When you go out with other people, you do not HAVE to talk about medicine (The people at the table next to you may appreciate that); find out what really makes someone tick (just like talking to patients)
* You should make dinner plans with other people (outside the group you came with, but invite them along too)
* Write down key facts you have learned towards the end of the day. The facts may be about topics you have learned about or people you have met. You may meet so many people it may be difficult to remember everyone and their interests. (The back of the business card is a good start)
* Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to any of the 'hospice celebrities'. Most of the well-known people in hospice and palliative medicine are very friendly and willing to talk, just make sure they are not in a rush for somewhere else. A lot of people would like to have their attention.
* Go to the poster session and talk to the people who made the posters. A lot of hard work went into most of these, and everyone likes to hear when they have done a job well.
* If you are bringing family or a significant other, make sure to spend some time with them.
* Reconnect with old friends.
* After a session, if you talk with a speaker, make your point or ask your question, and then allow others to interact. Nothing is worse, than trying to make a quick point after a session, then the know-it-all who wants to take up all the time of the presenter without regards to other people's interest. If you are presenting and you find this know-it-all who wants all of your time, make sure to set limits, and let others ask you questions.
* Turn in your session evals in a timely manner.
* Thank the coordinators who are organizing the meeting if you find them, they have put a lot of hard work and seldom get recognized.
* Try and get out and see the city you are in, since you never know when you will be back there or if it will be devastated by a major hurricane.
* When you come back to work schedule a educational session with interested parties to share everything you learned there.
* Go to at least one paper session. The concurrent sessions are great but you can find out some interesting up and coming things in the paper sessions. (Same goes for the Professionals-in-Training Case Conferences!)

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