I’m just about to meet some of the 20% of dentists who attend 80% of conferences

As if there weren’t enough conferences, study clubs, post-graduate courses and overseas jollies for us to attend, I’m here at Hammersmith’s Novotel this morning, preparing to co-introduce and co-compere Stars of Dentistry 2018, with the usual glitterati of the clinical world showing the audience how things can be done.

In the member’s declaration of interests, I don’t get paid for this – the good folks at FMC covered my bed and breakfast but there’s no fee.

Now I’m not entirely altruistic in saying that because the reputation management and exposure about being “on stage” and visible is obviously good for business.

Even so, the £2,000 of billings that I’m sacrificing, together with the travel costs from Manchester represent a significant investment of time and money – just the same as the delegates and speakers who will be here today and may well have waved goodbye to similar, if not more, in billable time.

Why do we do that (and why have I paid to attend next Thursday’s “Dentistry, Education and Scones” conference at The Campbell Academy as an audience member?).

It’s definitely not to build up some eCPD – there are easier and far cheaper ways of doing that.

It is because we are passionate and committed about the profession and the business of dentistry.

It is because we see a bigger future for ourselves.

It is because we recognise that we can accelerate our own development by listening to the “wins” and “losses” of others – those who are humble enough to share both without sounding arrogant.

It is because we understand the principle that real learning is about standing on the shoulders of giants.

There’s a good old 80/20 rule in every walk of life and I’ve no doubt that 20% of all dentists attend 80% of all the courses – it’ll be the same old faces down there today, both on and off stage.

I’m looking forward to mixing with the 20%’ers.

This year I’m not staying over as there are matters domestic that have priority but I’ve no doubt that, on the 19:40 from Euston this evening, my mind once expanded, will never return to it’s original shape.



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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.