Tips and Tricks for Newbies
The AAOE Annual Conference is your time to network with peers and gain valuable insight on topics that affect you and your practice! But with so much going on, it can be overwhelming. To help a little, here’s a list of tips and tricks to guide you through your first (or second) AAOE Annual Conference!
Key Insider Information
- Always wear your name badge – your badge and various tickets allow you to get into certain events, including several events that are open to attendees only!
- Reference the Final Program and mobile app – there is a lot of information packed in these resources, and they can help answer many of your questions.
- Be sure to check out the Hive! The Hive is THE place to go if you have any questions about the conference or AAOE, or if you simply want to connect with other “Newbies.” Volunteers at the Hive are seasoned members who can help you make the most of your conference experience.
- Identify your current issues or questions – this will help you decide which educational sessions will be the most beneficial, along with identifying which exhibitors to visit!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice! The staff and volunteers are ready to make sure you get the most out of the conference, but no one can help if you don’t ask.
- Be sure to take a break! This applies to the conference and to the work that is waiting in your inbox. Be sure to utilize breaks in the schedule to grab food and take a breather. If you really need to get some work done, try to limit it to a specific period. You are taking time and putting forth effort to attend the conference, so be sure you are making the most of your time here. Then go back to the office with some new ideas, knowledge, and contacts!
- Remember to have fun!
All About Networking
- Making connections at the conference can be the most important part of being here! In just a few days, the contacts you meet can become resources, collaborators, and friends for years! Many members use the conference as an annual catch-up with peers.
- Keep an eye out for other “Newbies”! They are experiencing the same things you are, so make a point of connecting with them. Come to the Meet-up at the Hive every morning and use that time to bond with other Newbies. Keep an eye out for the green badge holders that identify new members and first-time conference attendees.
- Being the Newbie can seem intimidating, but remember that everyone was a Newbie once. The conference experience is whatever you make of it. If you don’t engage in the education, shy away from networking sessions, or don’t visit the exhibitors, you will miss a lot of opportunities to make connections. You may be surprised by how many people are genuinely interested in meeting someone new.
- The Exhibit Hall is a great place to get a different kind of education, especially if you want to learn more about products and services relevant to your job, or if you want to see specific technology up close. Ask exhibitors how other practice professionals are using their product or service. Vendors are a great source of ideas and information, and are a huge support to the industry. And here’s a pro-tip: some exhibitors have evening receptions for current and potential clients. If you are a serious prospect, you might be invited.
- Go to all the social events! These are great opportunities to network with your fellow attendees. And if you aren’t normally comfortable at big events, you can take solace in the fact that half the people there are in the same boat as you but they are doing their best not to show it. It’s okay to be nervous!
Don’t Forget the Education
- Explore your interests or learn something new – there are more than 70 educational sessions covering a variety of topics pertaining to orthopaedic practice management. Dig deeper into a topic you are familiar with or branch out to discover something new!
- Remember to take notes! It is best to jot something down while it is fresh in your mind rather than hope you’ll remember it after a session ends.