2 questions for EMS World Expo Conference attendees

Bring more than just trinkets back from an EMS conference and trade show

National EMS conferences, like EMS World Expo and EMS Today, as well as regional EMS conferences, offer a great schedule of speakers, events, and sponsors in the exhibit hall. When you attend a conference presentation at any conference I want you to be able to answer these two questions.

What did you learn?

Several years ago at the Wisconsin EMS Association Working Together conference, I asked dozens of other conference attendees visiting an exhibit hall booth I was staffing, “What did you learn in a session today?”

Many attendees had eloquent and interesting facts and anecdotes from the sessions they attended. Two sessions received the most praise and detailed comments: Tom Dunn’s session on assessing and treating veterans who may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, and a daylong workshop on avoiding and deterring violent attackers.

Unfortunately, I also had many conversations with conference attendees like this.

“Which session did you attend?” I asked a booth visitor.

“Airway,” she stated.

“What did you learn?” I asked.

“About the airway,” she quipped.

“What did you learn about the airway?” I replied, not wanting her to get away easily with a handful of click pens.

“That the airway is important,” she retorted while briskly walking to the next booth.

The floor has been set. In a 75-minute conference presentation, you can definitely do better as a trained and certified EMS practitioner than the “airway is important.”

At the end of each conference presentation, write, “What did I learn?” at the top of a piece of paper and write three or more things you learned during the session. Surely you will have enough free pens and notebooks for the task.

What can you take back?

By all means fill your EMS conference tote bag with pens, stickers, calendars, magnets, can coolers and other schwag from the exhibit hall. But also strive to take back tools, resources and knowledge that will benefit your patients, coworkers, supervisors and yourself.

For EMS World Expo news, photos, and attendee updates follow the Twitter hashtag #EMSWorldExpo

Which conference session topics or presenters are your favorites? What products will you be seeking in the exhibit hall at the next conference you attend? Leave your answer in the comments section.

This article, originally published 9/9/2013, has been updated

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