COVID-19 forced meetings of all kinds, including those in the dental industry, to go virtual. However, in recent weeks, the door to in-person dental trade meetings has swung back open.
I attended my first in-person dental meeting back in May as a speaker at the Montana Dental Association meeting. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking in Minnesota, Florida, and Nevada, all to audiences sitting in the room with me rather than on the other side of the Zoom. Every audience has been different, and every state has been different as well. For example, Las Vegas required attendees to wear masks indoors while Orlando did not, and that’s been an adjustment with every trip.
Everyone has their own comfort level with being back in-person. Some are ready for hugs and some are hoping to keep that six feet of separation everywhere they go. Either reaction is OK in a world where we are all trying to figure out best steps and predict what will come next.
Here are three pieces of advice/knowledge I would share with you before heading back to the dental classroom or show floor in person.
First, know that everyone at a dental meeting is approaching the current phase of the pandemic differently
Some will double mask. Some will wear single masks. Some will gripe about wearing masks. However, it’s more important to worry about your own level of safety rather than trying to change or police everyone around you. If you’re safe sitting in a room filled with people on all comfort levels with the pandemic, you’ll be right at home in the meetings to come this fall and winter. If you’re not, there are still options for you to learn in-person, including plenty of masking, distancing, and sanitizing.
What’s the bottom line? Be prepared for all levels of reactions to the pandemic and focus on your own comfort levels. If you can do that, you’ll enjoy the show.
Second, dental vendors are ready to see you back on the show floor
Dental companies have missed you as customers and they’ve missed being able to show you the latest and greatest advances in technology, materials, and everything else that impacts your practice. Now more than ever, it’s important to take a few moments and walk the show floor and visit the booths. It’s good for business, and it’s good for you to keep up with everything that has been introduced since last March as well.
Third, precautions are being taken
No matter where I have attended a dental meeting, I have seen organizers taking extra steps to ensure safety, whether it’s sanitizing surfaces or enforcing mask mandates. I can honestly say that I have never felt uneasy inside a trade show this year because of the enhanced efforts being taken. Dentistry is a healthcare profession and no one wants the spread of the virus to happen at a dental meeting. It’s a serious responsibility and I have seen it taken as such everywhere from Missoula to Orlando.
If you have any questions about how trade shows have been this year, or what to expect when you first walk into one later this fall, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to share my experiences with you. I look forward to seeing you at a dental meeting soon!
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