On the road again

I have just returned from Las Vegas after teaching a two-day veneer preparation course for PennWell's "Cosmetic Dentistry 2003" dental meetings.

By Joe Blaes

I have just returned from Las Vegas after teaching a two-day veneer preparation course for PennWell's "Cosmetic Dentistry 2003" dental meetings. The participants ranged from young turks newly out of dental school to old hands with 30 years of experience, and everything in between. I finished this course on a high that I have never before experienced in my career. The high came from the energy that existed in the room during the course. I drew on that energy and I believe that it made me a better teacher than I have ever been. The course evaluations were the strongest that I have ever received.

So what's the point? Many times, I have gone to continuing-education courses and sat in the same seats that you've occupied. I admit that my attitude often was that the speaker had to prove that he was worthy of my commitment to the course. And I generally gave very little feed back. Yet, the worst thing that can happen to a presenter is to stand before an audience and speak about something the audience does not care about. Often the speaker has the information the audience wants, but the audience simply doesn't communicate what they need from a course.

The difference with this year's "Veneers Made Easy" was that the participants opened up and asked for help in the areas they found difficult. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? These dentists had three areas that were holding them back from doing more veneers in their practices — tooth preparation, temporization, and veneer cementation. At the end of the program, I was confident that everyone had received the information they needed to successfully do more veneers in their practices. I.don't attribute this to the fact that I was such a great speaker, but because this fine group of intelligent, inquisitive professionals were willing to take a chance and tell me where they were having problems. Doing so is not easy, but results in great benefits.

So, the next time you are sitting in the audience and the speaker is going down an unhelpful path, perhaps you could share a story or comment that will help the speaker understand which critical issues are blocking you from performing more successfully.

March and April will be busy months. I am speaking at the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration in Tucson, Ariz., at an all-day meeting in Muncie, Ind., and at the Hinman Meeting in Atlanta. Right after that, I will be leaving for Cologne, Germany for the International Dental Show. The IDS is a seven-day meeting that is held every two years. It boasts an exhibit area at least three times the size of the Chicago Midwinter meeting. There are no continuing-education courses — only commercial exhibits — and many of them are huge. Typical German hospitality is evident everywhere, with plenty of good food and drink. This is my kind of meeting!

Seriously, many new and innovative products are presented at this meeting. I will be reporting on the ones that I think we will see in the United states in the near future.

After my return from Cologne on Sunday, I will speak all day the following Friday in Monterey, Calif. The next week, I give a lecture at the Connecticut State Dental Meeting and another at a study club outside of Boston. After the Easter holiday, I am speaking at one of my favorite meetings, the California Dental Society meeting in Anaheim. I'm looking forward to attending this meeting and visiting the Mouse!

If you are in any of these seminars, please come up and say "Hi!"

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor — e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

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