It would be safe to say as a chiropractor, you will attend more post-graduate seminars during the course of your career than your counterparts in other fields of healthcare. As a whole, chiropractors tend to have a thirst for knowledge and self-improvement.
Because seminars are an investment from a financial and time standpoint, you want to be sure you get the maximum “take-home” value. The tips that follow will help you get the most for your money when attending seminars:
- Plan your seminar attendance well in advance. Planning ahead helps in several ways. Early registration often provides the opportunity to attend the seminar for the pre-registration price, obtain airline tickets for less, and book rooms before the hotel is full. Once you are registered for the seminar, be sure to check with the airlines the day prior to departure for schedule or flight changes. Have your hotel confirmation number handy and check on the availability of transportation to and from the airport and hotel. If you are driving to the seminar, have the hotel fax or mail directions with your confirmation.
- Be on time. This is for your benefit and for everyone else attending the seminar. Showing up late may disrupt the speaker and other seminar participants, not to mention the fact that you will miss an important part of the program and class notes. Plan an early arrival and determine where the meeting rooms are located. If you did not pre-register, allow time for paperwork and payment prior to the beginning of the seminar. Scout out restaurants in the vicinity of the seminar. If possible, make reservations for lunch each day. This will ensure faster service and help you get back to the seminar on time. By the way, eat a light lunch. A heavy lunch will make you sleepy all afternoon and is not conducive to learning.
- Always bring a writing pad and pens to the seminar. Even when notes will be provided, bring something for note-taking. Note-taking is part of the learning process for new concepts and ideas. Following the seminar, review all notes within two to three days to reinforce the learning process.
- When several members of an office staff attend a seminar where a variety of classes are offered each hour, split up the group to attend as many of the classes as possible. Select topics of interest that represent the office’s greatest needs, and send staff members to as many of the classes as possible. Each staff representative should take detailed notes so he or she can share thoughts and concepts later when the group is re-assembled. If your staff cannot attend all the classes you are interested in, inquire about the availability of audiotapes for the classes you can’t cover. Some groups provide seminar attendees the opportunity to purchase tapes of individual classes or the entire seminar. You can listen to classes you couldn’t attend on tape, and staff members who could not attend the seminar can also benefit. You can even listen to tapes of the classes you did attend to further reinforce the information.
- Once you are in the seminar, stay in the seminar. Too many doctors and staff members roam the halls and spend time socializing during seminars. Save socializing for breaks and the hours following the seminar. There is a lot to be learned in the hallway or lounge, but not during class time. If the seminar is not what you expected or you were truly bored to tears, by all means, leave. This is much better than staying and possibly disrupting those who are interested. We have all sat through seminars at which someone talks excessively, argues with the speaker, talks on a mobile phone or creates some other disturbance. Leaving quietly is the professional thing to do.
- Finally, be open to learning. It’s not uncommon to see two doctors of similar ages with equivalent educations, who practice in similar towns and use the same techniques, attend the same weekend seminar. One will show up on time, sit near the front and take copious notes. The other will show up late, go in and out of the room frequently, never write anything down and leave early.
The first doctor leaves excited with several ideas, which he or she will implement as soon as possible. The second will leave saying, “They didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know.” Guess which doctor’s practice will improve and whose bottom line will increase?
Make a list of all the ideas, you plan to implement before the next seminar. You can hear lots of good ideas, but only the ideas that are implemented will make a difference.
The eager, open-minded doctor can usually walk away from any seminar with at least one idea, which made the efforts to attend worthwhile. Avoid the attitude portrayed by those who say, “They didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know”; or, “I’ve heard all of that stuff before.”
Remember, marketing guru Zig Ziglar says, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” Just because you have heard something before doesn’t mean you fully listened, learned, implemented or owned the idea.
See you at the next seminar!