In the February JEMS Lighter Side article,"Convention Intentions," columnist and cartoonist Steve Berry offered several tongue-in-cheek tips for making your first national EMS conference more enjoyable. Below are some extra tips penned by this 2009 EMS Today Conference & Exposition speaker.
- Collect as many handouts as you can at the conference and bring them home to your boss. It may help persuade them to send you again.
- Don latex gloves before shaking anyone_s hand while networking. When they ask you where you work, say, "You don't want to know."
- Don't overdose on conference coffee. Try overdosing on other chain-store brands of coffee across the street from the conference center.
- Stop at every booth when cruising the exhibit hall. Avoid eye contact with the vendor and scoop all the free stuff (cheap pens, notepads, pins, candy, calendars, tote bags, Frisbees, corporate logo mouse pads, cup holders and mugs).
- Only attend lectures with gory pictures. This shows you're not one dimensional.
- To avoid long conference buffet lines, hold a D-stick high in the air while pushing your way up to the front of food screaming, "It's too low! It's too low!"
- Replace your conference bag with a hazmat bag. People are less likely to mistake theirs from yoursÚ. It also discourages theft.
- To break the ice in a room full of medics you don't know, tell someone you_re having chest pain or that you can_t breathe.
- Sit in the back of a lecture hall, and keep adjusting the thermostat. This will help you distinguish those attendees who live in northern states from those of the south.
- Find out when and where all the vendor-sponsored wine and cheese receptions are and show up early before all the free booze and cheese is gone.
- Suggest the conference organizers have a rehab booth in the exhibit hall for attendees before the morning sessions. Tell them it should include IV fluid rehydration and vitamin B and D-50 infusion.
The nice thing about long-distance conferences is that they give you a chance to let your hair down and get away from work and the responsibility of washing the rig -- all while partying like it's 1994. But don't forget about all those digital cameras out there. You don't want your boss accidentally viewing you on the Web doing something wrong while wearing his company's logo on your T-shirt (which is why I always wear somebody else_s uniform.)