The True Cost of a Conference
What would you say if I told you that I have NEVER actually paid to attend a conference? Would you like to know how that’s possible? Would that secret make you want to attend more conferences yourself?
If you could go for free and had the time, you would go, right? I would bet that you could find the time. But what if I told you that you could attend that conference and make money? Do I have your attention?
I have yet to attend a conference that did not lead to major ideas and money-making opportunities for my practice. You could certainly do the same with a few minor changes in your thought process. The benefit of attending the conference could very easily outweigh the upfront fees if you are open to following these five simple steps.
The first thing you need to do while sitting in a conference lecture is listen as much as possible. The most minor detail in a presentation might lead to the biggest change in your dental practice. I have heard minor comments made by a presenter turn into significant money-making opportunities for my office. We have all sat through a boring or awkward presentation, wondering if we should just get up and go. Keep your ears open, and you may be rewarded with a valuable tidbit of information to take back home.
Let your mind wander a little. Some of my best ideas come from allowing one idea to flow toward something completely unrelated. As these ideas come, write them down immediately. Remember to do this because a great idea can drift out of your mind as quickly as it enters. Discuss these ideas with others; do not be afraid to test them out.
Make it a point to talk to as many people as possible. Talking to other people in your field will give insight into the operations at their practice, which may be helpful to your own. Talk to as many of the vendors and sponsors as you can. Again, one minor change could make all the difference in your practice’s bottom line. I have gone to conferences and implemented as many as five new types of financing, websites, marketing, supplies, or vendor products. I always do so with the expectation that our business will expand in partnership with these new companies.
Once you decide to try something new, TRY SOMETHING NEW. Do not be afraid to implement those new products or ideas. You are in your executive position for a reason. Be confident in your ideas and decision-making.
The most important and often hardest thing to do is enforce changes. People have become used to the old way of doing things. Employees and doctors may resist change. It’s always possible to walk away from the changes and return to the old way. However, it’s necessary to give things a chance and see if they work well first.
At every conference I have been to, I have left with new ideas and beneficial business improvements to employ. The benefits and increases to our bottom line have always FAR outweighed the cost of the conference itself. Some conferences have paid for themselves 100 times over, and then some. Other conferences may have come with minor increases. Be as open to MAKING CHANGES as you are to MAKING MONEY, and you will never pay for another conference again.
About the Author
Daniel Schriftman, MAADOM, is a business manager and coach. He has an MBA with a focus on Human Resources. Daniel coaches dental practices to run their fee-for-service business models more efficiently. He is the innovator of The Philadelphia Dentist, P.C., an emergency dental practice serving the Philadelphia community 365 days a year. He is also a founder of Unicorn Professional Coaching, LLC, a burgeoning organization seeking to improve all aspects of the dental employer, employee, and patient experience.