BY EILEEN MORRISSEY, RDH, MS
I had the honor of presenting at RDH Under One Roof in Chicago in August as the American Academy of Dental Hygiene's sponsored speaker. (Check AADH.org to learn more about this superb organization in our profession.) I took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the conference and hear a handful of the many wonderful dental hygiene speakers during the three days that I was there.
What struck me about virtually all the presentations I attended were the audiences; hence the name of today's column.
Warning: small rant first. I'm not sure how it is for all of you, but I've felt somewhat frustrated at continuing education seminars the past few years because of the disrespect displayed by some of those in attendance. In some ways, I suppose it's positive that the speaker inspires those in attendance to turn to their neighbors and comment about what was just said and how it pertains to their circumstances. (I'm trying to put a positive spin on this.) However, when there are numerous side discussions happening throughout the general audience, the noise level turns to a dull roar and becomes distracting to those who are trying to listen. The larger the audience, the louder the roar.
Add to this all those who choose to text throughout a speaker's presentation. There is an all-out addiction to cell phones in today's world. I suspect that entire generations of people will have premature double chins due to the fact that their heads are continually facing downward.
Allow me to share with you what I found unique at the RDH Under One Roof conference. I sat through each presentation, including my own obviously, and was extremely impressed at the graciousness of the audiences. In many cases, you could have heard a pin drop because people appeared to be so genuinely inspired.
I watched two of the UOR speakers engage their audiences by asking them to actually use their cell phones to respond to a survey question that was posed to the group. Another asked us to use our phones to text comments or ask questions on the subject being presented. Clever!
I saw several speakers create an interactive dynamic by having us turn and talk to those around us, which allowed for formalized talking with others. It was chatter with a mission, and gave us all a chance to discuss the points being made. It was very effective, as we took a break from listening and talked because our speakers asked us to! The most effective activities were the simple topics we pondered and resolved.
I marvel at someone like Lori Saporito, who presented for two hours nonstop on the topic of radical healing without a PowerPoint! WHAT? She did, and she totally dazzled her audience. We also took a test, not for grading purposes, but as a way of assessing lifestyle, habits, and previous knowledge on the subject at hand.
It was great to see speakers use clips from movie classics or television shows to make their points. I can still see the magnificence of the ocean waves in Patty DiGangi's "Silver Tsunami" presentation. The waves were breathtaking and inspiring.
I used a professional audiotape and videotape, both self-written, starring yours truly, my daughter, and one of my bosses. The latter earned a big round of applause from my ever-so-gracious audience, which absolutely made my morning.
I realize this column may sound like a plug for the conference. So be it! I had originally intended to write a commentary on what I observe at many CE seminars, and ideas for positive solutions. I suppose my hope is that all of us, whether we're speakers or attendees, should try for more graciousness when we attend such events.
I had a sociology professor in college who told us that we dental hygiene students were "the cream of the crop." Could that be it? The dental hygienists who attend RDH Under One Roof appear to be of very high caliber. It's a pleasure to see old-world class exhibited in multiple generations concurrently and under one roof!
Have you heard enough? All right, see for yourselves in Las Vegas in July of 2015. It's sizzling summertime continuing education amid a backdrop of vendors who are there for hygienists only, all set within the city of revelry in the Nevada desert. Prepare yourself to be a part of these amazing audiences! Kudos to you, PennWell! I will be there!
Onward we go; it is in our hearts' core! RDH
EILEEN MORRISSEY, RDH, MS, is a practicing clinician, speaker, and writer. She is an adjunct dental hygiene faculty member at Burlington County College. Eileen offers CE forums to doctors, hygienists, and their teams. Reach her at [email protected] or 609-259-8008. Visit her website at www.eileenmorrissey.com.