So as a meeting planner for a medical education company, I interact with a lot of doctors across many different specialties - Emergency Physicians, Cardiologists, Neurologists, Endocrinologists, Orthopedists, Plastic Surgeons, Ophthalmologists and on and on and on.
Every year, I have at least one meeting that is for Chicago-area primary care physicians (Internists, General Practitioners, etc.). IT SCARES ME!
They aren't scary people or anything - it just scares me that these people practice medicine on the general public. You know how the few bad eggs spoils your view of a group? Well unfortunately, this is more than a few "bad eggs", its more like a few "good eggs"...
Here is a small sampling of the situations encountered with these folks last weekend - and sadly, these really aren't the worst of the situations...
Standing at On-site Registration, which is at one end of a line of 6 tables
Me: Are you preregistered?
Me: Okay, its all alphabetical by last name starting with A at the other end
Registrant: (still standing in front of me) Okay, well I'm B
Registrant: (still standing in front of me) Oh – I have to go to the other end
Last years meeting
This Asian lady comes up to registration and starts yelling at myself and a co-worker because it was apparently our fault that she couldn’t figure out how to get from the parking garage to the meeting, and therefore ended up being 15 minutes late, even though all 500 other people got there early/on-time without any issues. She also couldn’t read the sign that said R-Z with a left arrow and On-site with a right arrow and went to On-site…
Fast forward 17 months
An Asian lady comes to the meeting 30 minutes late, registers on-site and goes into our overflow room (because the main room is PACKED). 5 minutes later the lady walks out and comes up to registration:
Asian Lady: Can I have a question card
*Question Cards are exactly that, cards that people right questions they have for the speaker on it, and after each presentation, we go around and collect them and bring them up to the moderator. Much better than having people yell out their questions and trying to get over quick enough to give them a mic, and then have them hog the mic. We also get to ignore the stupid questions this way - Don’t believe people when they say there is no such thing as a stupid question J
Registration Temp: (hands her a question card from the pile sitting right in front of Asian Lady)
Asian Lady: (with a SHIT-LOAD of attitude) I can only have one?!?!
Registration Temp: No, you can have as many as you want (picks up a handful and gives them to lady…by the way, did I mention the pile is RIGHT IN FRONT of the Asian Lady – so much so, its closer to her than my registration temp)
Asian Lady: (Storms off with attitude into the room)
20 seconds later
Asian Lady: (lots of attitude) Can I get printouts of the slides?
Registration Temp: These are downloadable from the web, a link was sent out prior to the meeting and will be sent out afterwards, plus we have internet access in the room
Asian Lady: (tons more attitude) Well I didn’t bring my laptop
Registration Temp: Im sorry about that, but there are notes pages inside the book, or if you wanted, you could go to the FedEx Office on the 2nd floor and print them out from there, but that will cost money
Asian Lady: (storms off into the room)
20 seconds later, walking out with pocketbook
Asian Lady: (LOTS AND LOTS of attitude) Where is the bathroom?
Registration Temp: (pointing to the corner behind our table to the left) The bathroom is in that corner right there.
Asian Lady: (again – shitload of attitude, but yelling now) WHAT CORNER?
Registration Temp: The corner right over here (pointing directly to the area)
Asian Lady: (Did I mention she has a huge attitude) Where? Past the escalators or past the elevator?
BTW – escalator is across form the elevator, if you pass one, you pass the other
Registration Temp: (Calm as calm could be) Here, Ill show you (and kindly walks the lady to the bathroom).
Thank G-d I was just a bystander and not the one dealing with this lady – because I would have knocked some sense into her – maybe even tried to get the stick, that is so far up her ass its stuck in her brain, out…
In case you didn’t figure it out – Asian Lady from last year is the same as Asian Lady from this year.
Attendee comes out an hour after the AM break ends
Attendee (wearing heavy winter coat): Is there no coffee out here?
Me: AM Break ended an hour ago
Attendee: But its cold in that room, Im wearing my winter coat
Me: I’m sorry, there is a Starbucks in the lobby if you want
Attendee (in annoying whiny voice): You don’t have any coffee out here? Every meeting I go to has coffee throughout the day outside
Me: It’s a free meeting, so we stretch our budget as much as possible. We only offer coffee during breakfast and break times
Attendee (yelling in annoying, whiny voice): Last year you had coffee out the entire time
Me (clearly starting to get frustrated): Im sorry, but I ran the meeting last year as well, and I know I did not have coffee out the entire day
Attendee: Will you have coffee at lunch
Me: No, we will have water and soda
Attendee: Us doctors don’t drink soda, its not healthy and they are coming out with all these studies showing how bad it is
My Co-worker: There will also be iced tea
Attendee: Will it be hot tea
Co-worker: No, it will be ICED tea
Attendee: Well its really cold, you really need to have hot beverages around
Co-worker: There is a starbucks downstairs that you are more than welcome to go to
P.S. All the sodas were finished during lunch
P.P.S. You should know when you go to a hotel meeting, it is ALWAYS cold in the room – come prepared
P.P.P.S. You didn’t pay a freaking penny for this meeting and you are getting 6.5 hours of CME credit, breakfast, lunch, two coffee breaks, free internet if you brought your computer and discounted parking in the city – STOP COMPLAINING!
Attendee walks out of overflow room to grab lunch. There are two doors to this room – one which was closed since 7am, the other which was always open.
Attendee: Someone closed the door to the room that my stuff is in
Me: That door has been closed, but this door goes into the same room
Attendee: No, I went in that door, and now I can’t get back in
Me: This door and that door take you into the same room, so you can go in this door
Attendee: No that was a different room, and someone closed the door and I can’t get in now
Me: This door will take you into the same room, it is just a different door
Attendee: (getting frustrated at me) Someone closed the door on me, I need to get back in to the room
Me: This door will take you to the same room.
This went back and forth a few more times before the attendee just walked away from me with total annoyance and frustration.
During this day long meeting, we break in the afternoon and split into 3 different workshops. There are two timeframes for the workshops, so you can select 2 out of the 3. It has been like this for 3 years, there is signage all around, it is promoted like this in the brochure and listed in the program book like this. Fast forward to the break where we split.
Attendee: What are the workshops
Me: All workshops are listed on this sign and in your program book, additionally there is a sign in front of each room that says which workshop it is.
Attendee: I want to go to A and B
Me: Okay, well there are two time slots, so A is in Room 1 and B is in Room 2.
Attendee: But I want to go to both
Me: You can, we have two different workshop times, you just select one, go to that room now, and when it breaks you go into the other room
Attendee: So I can only go to one
Me: No, you select one, and then at the break, you go to the other
Attendee: So I have to split my time between the two
Me: Well there are two different times. Each workshop will run twice – once in each time frame (pointing to signs with time frames)
Attendee: Okay, Ill just go to A (and walks away towards Room 1)
I'm afraid to ever see one of my doctors at a meeting like this. If I do, no matter how great they are, I might have to switch doctors…