If you’ve visited ASDA’s website recently, you may have noticed that we’ve been counting down to today for quite a while. That’s because it’s the first day of Annual Session 2014, also known as “the best week ever.” But what makes this meeting so special? Is it the networking, the keynote speaker and other educational sessions, the exhibit fair or the President’s Gala? The answer is D. All of the above.
Annual session is a great environment to reconnect with what you enjoy most about the profession. Whether you made it to Annual Session 2014 or not, read through these tips for how to make the most of a professional meeting.
1. Meet new people. Think this sounds like a given? Wrong. Most of us seek comfort in people we already know. Take this week to make some new connections from other dental schools. Sit with new people at lunch or make a point to talk to three people you don’t know during the Welcome Reception. Use tips shared on previous Mingle Monday posts to get more comfortable with networking. The potential benefit could be a connection in a city you end up in one day for a residency or your career.
2. Attend all the sessions. Woody Allen said that “80 percent of success is showing up.” No matter which meeting you attend, be sure to go to all the sessions. Those who put the most effort into an experience get the most out.
3. Bring home souvenirs. We’re not talking about Mickey ears. Take copious notes and bring your experiences back to your chapter. ASDA posts session presentations online after the meeting so that you can take what you learned home. Be strategic about which sessions you attend and be sure to split the sessions between members from your chapter. That way you’ll all have a different perspective to share when you return. Consider hosting a special meeting or lunch-n-learn to share your takeaways from Annual Session 2014.
4. Keep an open mind. Whenever you gather 500+ dental students in one place, you’ll find a variety of perspectives. Talk to new people and try to learn from them. Ever wonder what the licensure process is in Alabama? I bet some UAB dental students could fill you in. Practice being a good listener and asking follow-up questions so you can learn as much about someone as possible. You never know what you might have in common with a dental student studying thousands of miles away.
I’ve been with ASDA nearly six years and this will be my seventh annual session. Each year I learn something and each year I’m fascinated by the diversity in experiences and backgrounds from the attendees. I think this is the best week ever because it’s a change to meet ASDA members face-to-face and to feel the excitement they bring to this organization.
Put everything you’ve got into attending Annual Session 2014. I promise it will make the week even better.
If you’re a veteran meeting attendee, what’s your advice for those attending annual session for the first time? Let us know in the comments below!
~Kim Schneider, publications manager