I have always been a huge proponent of networking with other HIM professionals. Even when I was a student, I found great value in meeting other students who were going through all of the same milestones of HIM education. Talking with seasoned HIM professionals was a great way to discover what the HIM field had to offer, who I needed to be introduced to, and what I needed to do to land a job in HIM.
As a more seasoned HIM professional, there is even more value in networking with peers. It’s great to know you are not alone because there many others out there going through the exact same issues (such as ICD-10, reimbursement changes, regulatory requirements, etc.). We always say that HIM is a small world and it really is true. It seems you can travel to any part of the country for a conference and run into someone you know or someone who knows someone you know through networking.
It appears that HIM product vendors know how important networking is to HIM professionals therefore they seek opportunities to bring current, preferably happy customers together with prospective customers through seminars and social gatherings. This sets the stage for socializing and sharing experiences with certain products and gives potential customers a contact to reach out to in the future. Many lasting friendships are also made in the process.
Another great way to meet like-minded HIM professionals is through volunteering. Organizations and conference event planners are always looking for engaged volunteers to help and there are many benefits to both the organization and the volunteer. There is a lot to be learned through volunteering and it can open up many new opportunities through the experience.
Networking doesn’t have to be confined to in-person meetings and conferences. There are many opportunities to network through social media and various online forums. In a previous post, I made a plea for more HIM professionals to take advantage of the vast networking opportunities on Twitter. There are subject matter experts for almost anything you can imagine and they are usually accessible and responsive through virtual networking. I have had many conversations with HIM professionals I have found through LinkedIn and Twitter long before I met them in person. The benefit of using social media for virtual networking is that it can be done at any time and fit into anyone’s schedule. In-person meetings are great but may only be once per year, too far geographically, expensive, or may have scheduling conflicts.
Networking is not only successful for talking business but it’s also fun to get to know others with similar interests and backgrounds. With the many different opportunities and venues to enhance networking, it is convenient for almost any schedule or situation. Do take the time to partake in in-person networking, virtual networking, volunteering, or all of the above (and bring your business cards). The professional and personal benefits are endless.
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