By Linda Conlin, Pro to Pro Managing Editor

Living in close proximity to New York City, I’ve been able to attend Vision Expo just about every year since it was OptiFair. In all that time, I’ve learned many things outside of the classes I attended. Here are three: Eat a good breakfast, wear comfortable shoes and attend a Pop Up Talk.

Pop Up Talks are free, don’t require reservations (you can just pop in!), they run between 30 and 60 minutes, and serve up some great ideas and information. I find them a refreshing break from the bustle of the exhibit hall, while staying productive and not having to go very far. This year, between March 16 and 18, there are 22 Pop Up Talks on a variety of topics. You can get a spectacle lens update, dispensing tips, how to use Instagram to promote your practice, how to build a great resume and more. The Pop Up Talks are a great opportunity for networking, too.

There are two talks I plan to attend. “Independents A to Z: A Guide to Standing Out on Main Street” on March 16 from 11:00 to 11:30 in the Galleria Lounge. A panel of independent retailers will discuss tips for running an independent retail shop and creating a unique identity. (There’s plenty of competition out there. What will make my practice different?)

The other is “Seeing Eye to Eye,” also on March 16 in the Galleria Lounge from 2:00 to 2:30 (just about when my feet are getting tired). James Spina, Senior VP and Editor-in-Chief for 20/20 Magazine, will talk about the importance of the partnership between retailer and vendor in caring for the public’s eyes. (Wouldn’t a great partnership help my practice provide products that are truly the best for my patients?)

Attending the Pop Up Talks will still leave plenty of time for cruising the exhibit hall. The Vision Expo website lists more than 400 new products, services, equipment, accessories and more from more than 1,400 exhibitors. How exciting to have all of that in one place, but it’s a lot of ground to cover! You’ll need at least a general plan, but keep the Pop Up Talks in mind. Look, learn, enjoy and pop in to the Jobson Booth #2875 for a copy of 20/20 Magazine!