LEVERAGING YOUR LESSONS FROM CONFERENCES

By Scott Betcher
No matter your industry, attending conferences and educational events is a great way to gain exposure to a variety of learning and networking opportunities. Above and beyond the large optical industry events that exist, such as Vision Expo East and West, there are two- or three-day conferences offered to lab professionals that take place throughout the year as well.

Transitions Optical, for example, puts on one of the optical industry’s leading educational forms –Transitions Academy – that began in 1996 and has grown to attract more than 1,300 industry professionals from North and South America. The key here is that many of the 1,300 people are return attendees. So, how does an event like Transitions Academy keep people coming back and grasping the interest of new attendees? It’s more about what happens after Transitions Academy.

Most often, while on your way home from an event like Transitions Academy, you feel energized, inspired, motivated and ready to incorporate change – whether big or small. However, it’s easy to quickly fall back into a daily routine without looking back at your notes and plans.

To help its partners avoid falling into this rut, Transitions Optical dedicates a significant portion of Transitions Academy to action planning. The 2013 theme, for example, was all about igniting belief, passion and action among attendees. The last day of Transitions Academy included a series of marketing breakouts and planning workshops, where attendees had time to reflect on what they heard, and convert more ideas to tangible, measurable actions.

But the planning doesn’t stop there. To truly get the most out of events like Transitions Academy, consider planning a post-conference debrief, or designating time during a regular weekly or monthly meeting to review notes, share ideas with those who did not have a chance to attend and identify new goals as a team. As a lab professional, you also have an opportunity to work closely with your Transitions Optical representative, who can help ensure that your team follows-through on action plans, and is aware of all of the tools and programs available.

“We try to always incorporate what we’ve learned at Transitions Academy into our company’s annual “Growth Plan” – to be sure that the ideas generated at the event can have a lasting impact on our business,” said Jeff Szymanski, vice president, Toledo Optical. “We met with our senior management team immediately upon returning from Academy this year, and then scheduled a meeting with our Transitions Optical partners to refine our 2013 goals. We most recently held our annual company meeting at the end of February – where we reviewed our past performance, discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead, introduced our 2013 company goals, and explained how Transitions Optical will be part of our overall success.”

In addition to workshops that educate attendees about Transitions Optical products and programs, Transitions Academy also offers attendees non-industry courses that focus on professional and personal growth, such as time management and planning seminars from Franklin Covey.

“During all of our post-Academy meetings, we defined Franklin Covey’s ‘Four Disciplines of Execution,’ which we learned during Transitions Academy in 2012, and worked against this model to create specific goals and action items,” added Szymanski.
It’s important to also keep “reach goals” on your radar after returning from a conference. During the 2013 event, Transitions Optical announced four new celebrity ambassadors, who will support its Official Sponsor of Sighteseeing™ program throughout the year. Toledo Optical saw potential in leveraging this program to partner with their ECP customers and engage patients in the community.

“Our plan is to tie in a visit by Cal Ripken Jr., to a Toledo Mud Hens (our famed triple A baseball team and Detroit Tigers farm club) baseball game,” said Szymanski. “We hope to draw a significant crowd to a unique venue and meet one of Transitions Optical’s newest ambassadors and offer an educational experience.”

Scott Betcher, U.S. ECP sales director, Transitions Optical, Inc.

CURRENT ISSUE


August/September LabTalk 2017