Medical conferences are great places to hear about the latest and greatest techniques, technology and achievements in the medical industry. However, if you just show up and wander around, you're going to miss out on some excellent opportunities. Conferences are about opening doors and educating each other, but they're also very big events with a lot of events going on. This means if you're not paying attention, you may miss something that will not only advance your career, but may also help your practice. Before you go to a conference, consider the following things: 

Know why you're going
Have a purpose for going to a medical conference. Just because many of your colleagues are going doesn't necessarily mean you should go too. Look over the schedule and see who's speaking or what topics are being covered. If you see topics you're interested in or find out that some individuals or speakers you'd like to connect with are going, then you should go. However, you should know what your purpose is and have at least a few objectives for the day. 

Plan ahead
Conferences can be quite expensive. The cost of entry, travel and lodging can all add up quickly. If you plan ahead and coordinate with some of your colleagues, you may be able to reduce these costs. Also, planning ahead will ensure you get to the specific portions of the conference that you want to see the most. If you just show up without a plan, you may not realize that you're going to miss a portion of that seminar on new medical billing practices. Plan ahead so that your conference experience goes smoothly and ends up being cost-effective for your practice. 

Bring a few people
If you're not so worried about the cost of the conference, consider bringing a few medical professionals from your practice. This way, your practice can learn, and if you're going to miss something due to two important presentations or seminars happening at once, you can send one of your employees to one of the presentations to take notes and you can go to the other one. 

Take notes
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's easy to get wrapped up in the conference and forget to absorb all of the information you're learning. Either utilize a small notebook or your smartphone to take notes. Also, make sure to find out if it's OK to record people's presentations or if the conference will be recording the presentations and seminars on their own. Many conferences now record content for the Web, so you may not have to do quite as much work, but you should still take notes. 

Connect with people
Conferences are some of the best places to connect and meet other people in your industry. While it may be a pain to focus on networking, you may be able to talk with a few people who you respect or whose research or studies you've read. These connections can be helpful for moving your career forward and if you don't take advantage of them, you're missing out on one of the key functions of medical conferences.