RDH Under One Roof (UOR) is almost here! Five years ago, I was a rookie. A dental hygiene classmate talked me into going with her, and it was the best decision of my life. I’m not exaggerating when I say attending Under One Roof in 2018 changed the entire trajectory of my career.
If this is your first UOR, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of the experience.
First things first
Based on the extreme popularity of the event, the first thing you need to do is book your hotel. The host hotel has sold out for the past two years, and while more hotels are nearby, I prefer to stay where the action is.
Next, spend some time on the UOR website. Take a long look at the schedule. As this event grows, workshops and classes fill up fast. Register for the ones you think you want to attend; you can always change them later if space allows. There are many free sponsored events (breakfasts and happy hours), but you’re often required to preregister for them. Don’t miss out on any cool networking opportunities!
As soon as it’s released, download the official RDH Under One Roof Mobile app. It will give you on-the-go access to the conference schedule and course offerings. Take the time to “favorite” what you’re interested in. That way you won’t be scrambling to remember what you want to attend. I would also recommend checking out the exhibitor list and making note of the exhibitors you want to talk with. It’s a huge exhibit hall, and it’s easy to forget who you wanted to see when the crowd rolls in.
Also, join the RDH Under One Roof official Facebook page for up-to-date info, early networking, and practical tips from other attendees. You just might make a new best friend before the event even starts!
You might also be interested in: Invest in yourself at RDH Evolution 2023
How to pack
Think layers. The air conditioner was on full blast last year, and I expect nothing less this year. As for type of attire, every style of dress was there. Some teams even had matching shirts. I tend to go business casual. It helps me feel professional and confident when I interact with speakers and exhibitors. Another important thing to remember is to wear comfortable shoes. You won’t believe the number of steps you get in.
You might also want to consider a cross-body bag so you can keep your hands free in the exhibit hall. You’ll most likely be given a few bags from vendors and when you check-in, but if you have a favorite big bag to collect all your loot, bring it! Then toss in a portable phone charger so you don’t run out of battery and miss taking awesome pictures of all the fun.
You’ll need extra room in your suitcase for the trip home. If you’re flying, plan on checking a bag. It is absolutely worth it. Not only will you want to try the new products you learned about, but you won’t want to turn down the latest gadget or free new scaler because you don’t have room for it in your carry-on bag. If your airline charges too much for a checked bag, consider using the hotel FedEx office to ship your goodies home. Seriously, you get some good stuff!
What to expect at meals
All the long days of courses and lectures will make you hungry. Since classes kick off at 7:30 am, you might want to pack some snacks to tide you over until lunch. The lines at the coffee shop will be long.
Lunch on the first day is not provided, and the break is only one hour, so don’t dally or you might miss a course! For the next two days, lunch is on the exhibit hall floor to give you the opportunity to meet with vendors. Dinner both nights often ends up being the food provided at the happy hours (which you must preregister for), with some late-night snacking if you’re not careful. Having some healthy food in your hotel room isn’t a bad idea. Or you can make dinner reservations with your new friends. Also, I suggest bringing a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. (And you won’t spend a fortune on hotel water.) And watch how many drink tickets you use … this is a professional event!
How to tackle registration and CE courses
First of all, remember that you must sign up in advance for any class you want to attend. If you arrive early enough on Wednesday for UOR, head down to pick up your registration packet and name badge. You can’t get into any event without your badge, and there will be quite a crowd on Thursday morning.
There will be a code displayed at the end of every course to get your CE credit. Be sure to keep track of these codes and the name of the course. Taking pictures was a genius idea until I didn’t know which course the code was connected to. If the line at the CE kiosks is long, don’t stress about it; you can take care of all that at home or on the app.
The exhibit hall is hopping!
Take time to talk to the vendors in the exhibit hall. They love to answer questions and hear about your experiences with their product or service. Don’t just take the free stuff! You’ll miss out on learning more about the products and a great opportunity to network. I got my first out-of-the-op position with DentalPost at UOR 2018, and it happened because I stopped to talk with the team.
Be sure to network
Talk to the people around you, even if you came with a group of friends. You can learn just as much chatting between classes as you can in the classes themselves. Don’t be afraid to talk to the speakers. They love feedback and getting to know other professionals in the industry. You can also email them afterward with questions.
Bring business cards. If you don’t have updated ones, get some printed. Vistaprint is inexpensive and effective. The cards don’t have to be fancy, but they need your name, title, email, and phone number.
Pro tip: When you get home, email everyone who gave you a card. I think doing this led to much of my success during the last few years. It has helped me build relationships with companies and clinicians, as well as make some really cool friends!
Most of all at UOR 2023, be ready to have some fun! This is, hands down, my favorite conference of the year. I have been to quite a few dental shows, and the energy at Under One Roof is special. You’re sure to come home with new friends, new products, and a renewed enthusiasm for dental hygiene.