Medical professionals attend conferences for many reasons. Some of the primary motivators are gaining new knowledge and perspectives in order to better care for patients, establishing relationships with others in the field, and sharing personal experience in order to educate and edify others. With so many goals, attendees can potentially feel overwhelmed and worry that they aren’t getting the most out of their experience. Masterclasses in Dermatology creates agendas in which all sessions are plenary. This removes the “fear of missing out” feeling that can stress attendees at other conferences and ensures you benefit from every moment of the programming you paid for. That said, we also offer this advice for maximizing your conference time, whether you’re joining us in Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks or are planning to attend a different event in the next year and beyond.
The best advice can be summed up in a single word: Prepare!
Set Your Personal Goals
Before anything else, spend a bit of time determining what exactly it is you would like to get out of this conference. Is there a respected member of your field with whom you would like to engage? Is there a specific topic you have been pursuing? Are you hoping to meet a colleague in person? Are you planning to bring information back to your clinical team or to others? Deciding what is most important to you can shape all of your subsequent conference-related decisions.
Know the Agenda
Conference agendas are typically made public well in advance of the event. Be sure to at least look over the schedule and other available materials so you can have at least a general idea of the pacing, flow, and organization. Note which presentations and activities are most relevant or interesting to you, and make a plan that allows you to access these opportunities in a timely and efficient way. Knowing the agenda also allows you to prepare pertinent questions in advance, as well as get an idea of other professionals who may also be in attendance and willing to network.
Plan for Meeting and Greeting
Not every moment of a conference is spent listening to speakers. There are typically abundant opportunities to connect with fellow attendees, whether between sessions, at scheduled meals or breaks, during peripheral activities, and even before and after the official conference hours. Especially savvy professionals reach out to colleagues and those with whom they desire to meet ahead of time to plan for conversation and collaboration.
Familiarize Yourself with the Faculty
This is an easy and straightforward way to give yourself a leg up when it comes to conferences. Examine the speaker list before you go, find the faculty you would especially like to meet, note the subjects of their talks and their availability, and plan accordingly. Many faculty are willing to spend more focused time with attendees who respectfully seek their guidance or expertise in advance.
Write Your Questions Down
Don’t rely on your memory alone to hold everything you may want to explore at the conference. Prepare lists of questions based on the sessions and speakers, and be ready to speak up when invited during a presentation or at opportune (and welcome) moments between sessions. You can also be ready to quickly email these questions if asked.
Don’t Forget to Make Time for Yourself
In addition to familiarizing yourself with the faculty and sessions, you must also check out the hotel, amenities, and surrounding environment. Read up on what you can do to relax, unwind, and recharge. If there are scheduled recreational activities, prepare for them accordingly. At the very least, exploring these opportunities in advance of your trip can let you know whether to pack sunscreen and a swimsuit!
Choose a Conference Tailored to You
Remember that Masterclasses in Dermatology 2024 is “a different kind of meeting”. In addition to our plenary agenda, we build our conferences on a foundation of education and collaboration. Our goal is to create and foster important relationships between both disciplines and individuals. If you have any questions about what to expect before you join us Feb. 16 through 19 in Puerto Rico, contact us online.
We’ll see you there!