Published: May 14, 2024

There’s a Seat for You at the Next Roundtable Discussion

Networking opportunities prove popular with the membership and will have a significant role at the upcoming Annual Meeting.

James C. Denneny III, MD AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEOJames C. Denneny III, MD
AAO-HNS/F Executive Vice President and CEO
The Academy recently staged the inaugural OTO FORUM April 6 – 7 in Alexandria, Virginia, under the direction of the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS). The program, featuring “Business of Medicine” topics, was well received by attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors alike. The scheduled topics, which covered a wide range of subject matter critical to the practice of medicine in today’s rapidly changing environment, were of significant interest to the attendees and were well presented. The strategic decision to include ample time for Q&A sessions after each presentation resulted in exceptional audience participation. Remarkably, despite both pre-luncheon presentations with Q&A running late, not a single attendee left the room until the discussion was complete, even though the meal was available 20 minutes earlier.

This meeting also featured afternoon “Mastermind Roundtables” sessions specifically designed to facilitate in-depth conversations centering on a designated topic for each table. These roundtable events outdrew the simultaneous programming by a wide margin. Post-meeting evaluations confirmed the high value attendees placed on this type of interaction as an adjunct to excellent didactic presentations. This type of opportunity is a desirable enhancement on many levels and is an additive attraction to both large and smaller meetings.

Post-meeting analytics derived from attendee interviews and surveys over the years have consistently identified the general topic of networking as one of the most important reasons physicians choose to attend in-person meetings. During our in-depth analysis of the “Future of AAO-HNSF Meetings,” which was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic with our consultant 360 Media, the AAO-HNSF looked at predictions of what the meetings industry would look like and what types of programming would most likely generate the greatest interest for attendees and thus fuel a more rapid and complete recovery for the in-person education meetings model. Among the recommendations emanating from this exercise included increasing networking opportunities and offering content that was not available elsewhere. The two most recent AAO-HNSF Annual Meetings, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee, incorporated recommendations from this process, and the AAO-HNSF exceeded the predicted attendance recovery rate by a significant margin.

The OTO FORUM originated from two of the most highly recommended concepts and “proof of concept” validation through the successful South Carolina regional meeting, Oasis, which was originated by Eugene G. Brown III, MD, RPh, and his group. The AAO-HNSF has offered a number of networking-related functions to augment existing social events and impromptu colleague gatherings. We have had meaningful success with a variety of networking events sprinkled throughout the Annual Meeting including those for all attendees as well as those designed for specific groups and audiences. The most successful of these events has been the Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section General Assembly and networking luncheon that continues to grow on a yearly basis. The Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF) and Young Physicians Section (YPS) have teamed up for a combined networking reception following their respective General Assemblies for the last several years allowing additional exposure, which is building new connections.

Speed networking events have been extremely popular additions to our meeting with medical student attendees, international resident physicians, the WIO, domestic resident physicians, and physician recruitment activities. These events revolve around group commonality as well as shared interests and needs more so than specific topics.

There have also been meaningful efforts at producing smaller group events based on a specific content area such as the previous, sell-out event, “Lunch with the Experts,” and more recently “Coffee Talks,” which debuted in 2022 as a Business of Medicine resource through the OPPS.

This year’s Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in Miami Beach, Florida, will feature a new wrinkle in networking opportunities that allows you to “Build Your Own Roundtable” from a broad list of categories affecting otolaryngology and your practices. The roundtable discussions will take place on the EXPO floor 12:00 – 1:00 pm (ET), Saturday – Monday, in an area where you can eat your lunch while participating at a table topic discussion that piques your interest. This will give all registrants an opportunity to converse with peers on a subject of mutual interest and “have it your way.”

We anticipate this format will identify previously unrecognized areas of interest and concern that will foster informative and beneficial conversations among our attendees. It is also likely that this will facilitate interactions between groups that might not typically attend this type of programming together. Ideally, this will increase the experience and value for all attendees, domestic and international, students, residents, fellows, and all types of practicing otolaryngologists.

These smaller forums will allow attendees to supplement an already outstanding planned program for this meeting by taking part in a variety of personal discussions afforded by the roundtable format. Details of how to submit a topic for consideration will be provided in the June Extra Bulletin.

More from June 2024 – Vol. 43, No. 6