Attending an industry convention can either be incredibly enlightening or a complete waste of time and money. Often, the outcome for an individual has little to do with the convention logistics and everything to do with how you take advantage of what’s there. So how can you make your convention experience worth it?
We have a few suggestions.
Analyze Your Business Needs Before Arriving at the Conference
If you’re a therapy clinic owner, your business is always evolving. It’s easy to get distracted by all of the offerings and information available at an industry event, but the reality is that only some of them will be relevant to you and the trajectory of your business. Thinking about what you need now will help you focus on your priorities as a convention attendee.
One way to do this is to schedule 30 to 60 minutes about one week prior to the convention to look over your business processes. Think of it as zooming out and reviewing every process that happens in your clinic on a daily basis. Are there any areas that need improvement? If so, do you think this will involve outsourcing, or do you just need advice on how to improve internal systems? Answering these questions prior to being surrounded by experts and salespeople will allow you to clearly recognize what information you are there to gather and who might be able to help you do so.
Prioritize Your Time Using the Vendor List and Schedule
Most conventions will release a full list of exhibitors and presenters ahead of time. Make use of this by highlighting each talk you want to attend and each vendor you want to speak to; then, do some research on each one.
Spend a few moments following the vendors you’d like to connect with on social media platforms prior to the day of the convention. This way, you’ll get live updates about any events or giveaways that could be money-saving for you. It’s all too common to think a presentation will be relevant to you and then find out after a few minutes that it’s not.
To avoid this dilemma, look into each presenter and the services they offer ahead of time. The same goes for vendors, because it’s quite easy to get distracted in a busy exhibitor hall. If there is a map available, you can even plan out the order in which you’ll visit the vendor booths.
If you think it will be tough to say no to heavy sales pushes in the moment, have a clear priority list in mind: include the services you require and the things you may only want if they’re affordable. Keeping a rough budget in mind for any new business services is also a good idea so you don’t overcommit and regret it later. By the same token, try to avoid being pulled in by “swag” and free offers that you don’t really need.
Ask Questions Before Presentations if Possible
Speakers will be bombarded with questions after a talk. If you’ve researched them ahead of time and read the synopsis of what they’ll be discussing, you should already have an idea of what you’re hoping to hear about. It’s often easier to grab a moment with a presenter in the ballroom or auditorium before their presentation begins.
This enables you to be efficient with your time and get your questions answered in a more natural environment, away from the crowds that gather when a talk ends.
Take Notes in a Format That Works for You
Know how you learn and remember best. Don’t fill a notebook with random details from each talk if you know you’ll never open it when you get back home. Many conventions will allow audio recording, so long as you’re not sharing publicly. It’s also smart to create a master list of resources, such as websites or tools that are suggested throughout the convention, because if you keep these in separate places you may lose or forget about them.
Attending a therapy convention can be a great way to build connections, learn from industry leaders, and scale your business. However, we believe in going in with a plan to get the most value from your investment.
The TheraPlan team will be attending the 2019 ASHA Convention for audiologists and speech-language pathologists in our hometown of Orlando this weekend: November 21-23. We’ll be there with our close business partners: EEP’s therapy billing experts, Clinic Connection’s credentialing team, and EligiPro’s Medicaid eligibility gurus. If you’ll be attending, we’d love to talk to you! Whether you’re a student, therapist, or clinic owner, stop by our exhibit to see how our services and advice could transform your business.