4 ways to count on happiness in the CVC exhibit hall


The classes and labs guarantee education at a conference like CVC, but don't count out the exhibit hall when it comes learning about new technology at your own pace.

(Photo Greg Kindred)Whether you're learning new surgery techniques in a lab, finding out how to create a Fear Free experience for skittish patients or enjoying a high-energy, interactive lecture, you already know all the ways in which education and inspiration happens in the CVC sessions I help plan. But there's that big room next door (or downstairs), too, filled with doctors, technicians, entrepreneurs and company reps who want you teach you about the next greatest thing since the rabies vaccine to improve patient health and your bottom line.

If you're already excited about that kind of learning, you don't need this article.

If, however, you balk at the idea of walking up and down the aisles thinking about the many ways veterinarians, practice managers and credentialed technicians spend their money to be better and more efficient at their jobs, here are four fun things to count (and count on) in the big room ...

1. Count on candy from exhibitors

If you're at all interested in a booth, a demo or a particularly charismatic sales rep or entrepreneurial doctor, hey, enjoy the spiel before buying, taking away some information or walking away with a polite "no thanks." If you're too tired or too introverted to muster up the energy for any of that, just look around for the rainbow-filled jar, jam some of that hard candy in your mouth (don't choke) and shrug and nod a lot during the sales pitch.

2. Count paw prints

Companies in the veterinary space know you: You love animals. So turn that pet-filled marketing into a game. Count paw prints on logos on the floor and in booths, in pictures, on shirts and so on. If you're a cat lover and they all seem like dog paws, grouse to your friends or friendly sales rep about how many dog pictures you see instead of cat pictures. What the heck, people?! Cats are HUGE on the internet!

3. Count your steps

You push yourself for an extra 1,000 or two at work and at home. Carry that passion to the show. Bust out your smartphone, Fitbit or other device and go to town. Walk up and down the aisles so much the sales reps can ask you about your pets by name. If you're going to count the old-fashioned way (i.e., in your head while muttering under your breath), for comedic value, bark angrily at people who interrupt you during the day and make you lose count.

4. Count exhibitors

There are a lot of companies. Some you'll be super excited about, some you'll be curious about, and some you won't care about at all (just not your thing, y'know?). But before figuring out which is which, walk the aisles thoughtfully and let your eye wander and stop at anything that looks interesting. If you ever get bored (and how could you, with all these people desperately wanting to talk to you?), ask exhibitors their shoe size, birthday, biggest fear or the name of their favorite kid (make them pick one...don't take "no" for an answer).

Exhibitors help defray a big chunk of the cost of continuing education at a conference, so be happy you can count on these friendly folks. And find a way to make your exhibit hall experience count for you too.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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