Continuing education (CE) courses can be one of the largest annual expenses professionals make, when meeting their annual requirements or simply to improve in their profession.

In the medical field, specifically dentistry, courses can range anywhere from the low hundreds (USD) to a few thousand dollars – not including flights, accomodation and time off working.

They’re not cheap.

My colleagues and I have frequently found ourselves either regretting going to course, or feeling energised about our careers afterwards. Whilst the content of the course can determine the level of engagement, there are a few things course creators can do to increase the value they provide to attendees, and ultimately boost their own brand value:

Less Slide Notes

Do you know the best way to lose the interest of attendees? Have excessive notes on a powerpoint slide – add to that, one with the smallest font size.

We’re here to listen to you. Not read a lengthy slide.

Take a leaf out of Steve Jobs presentations – more pictures, less text. Less is more.

But don’t worry – if there are important technical details worth mentioning, you can attach it in an email to your attendees.

Avoid Technical Material After Lunch

Post-lunch sleepiness can stem from a dip in your core body temperature that naturally happens between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. It’s a dip that triggers the release of a snooze-inducing hormone called melatonin. It’s a normal part of your body’s circadian rhythm.

It’s true – people are naturally sleepy after lunch. So if you introduce technical, dry material after lunch, good luck with trying to keep your audience engaged.

There is nothing more demoralising than seeing audience members actively passing out in front of you whilst you deliver your lecture. In order to avoid this, keep the content material after lunch very light with less technical concepts.

Have Bright Lighting

Nothing more sleep inducing than a dim room, especially combined with a heavy lunch.

A bright room can help keep your audience engaged in the content you’re delivering, keeping them focussed.

Get Comfortable Chairs

If this is a day-long event especially, your audience will be seated for a while. Have comfortable upright chairs, without the ability to recline (once again going to the point where audience members may be more inclined to have a snooze).

Get Social

For many medical professionals, going to in-person CE events is a chance to get out of the office and finally socialise with other members of the community. You can foster this, and create a great community around your brand. Have more breaks, get attendees to interact with each other, go for drinks; there are many ways to do this.

A successful continuing education event does not need to be jam packed with content which can be impossible to consume in a day. It’s not about volume of content, but quality.

If you can make the course enjoyable, and simultaneously provide a few golden nuggets of knowledge, course attendees will be coming back for more.