Conferences can be one of the best things for your career. Attending healthcare IT conferences gives you a chance to network with hundreds, thousands, or even 40,000 (HIMSS) people in one place. If you’re not sure what healthcare IT conference you should attend, take a minute to browse through our Healthcare IT conferences list. We give insights and perspectives on some of the top conferences you should consider.
While attending a conference can be extremely valuable, it can also be a complete waste of time if you don’t make the most of your time at the conference. Here are a few ideas of how you can make the most of your time at a healthcare IT conference whether you’re currently looking for a new job or just building relationships for the future.
Be Promiscuous – No, I’m not talking about sleeping with someone at the conference. That’s a good way to ruin your career. I’m talking about getting out of your comfort zone and the people you know and taking chances to meet new people. Meet as many new people as possible.
A great example of this principle is when it’s time for lunch. As you head to lunch, choosing the right table is essential. Instead of choosing the table that’s empty, take a chance and sit in the last seat available at a table that’s otherwise full. This will maximize your opportunity to meet someone that could help you in your career.
For an advanced trick, try double dipping on your lunch. Many lunches are buffet lunches. If that’s the case, take a small portion to start. After you finish your first plate, that’s the perfect opportunity to get up and say goodbye. If the table is a really good one with lots of possibilities, you can always go and get seconds and then sit back down in the same place. If the table wasn’t that interesting, excuse yourself and then when you get the second half of your lunch choose another table. You can do the same thing with dessert too.
Selectively Dive Deep – While you should meet as many people as possible at a conference, when you find someone that’s really interesting, discard your previous plans and create a deeper connection and relationship with that person. Finding new people is important, but creating relationships that will endure past the conference is even more valuable.
Give Before You Get – When creating relationships with people, think less about what they can offer you and more about how you can help them. If you find a way to help someone, they’ll never forget you. If all you do is ask for their help they’ll wish they could get rid of you.
I call this approach Give Before You Get. When employing this approach don’t create it as a transactional relationship with the people you’re helping. Instead, focus on helping as many people as possible and trust that one of those relationships will pay off in big ways for you. In fact, you’ll often be surprised by how it happens.
Follow Up – Meeting and connecting with a lot of people at a conference is great, but you have to follow up with them. If you said you’d send them something, do it. If you appreciated the insights and perspectives they gave you or an introduction they made, send them a thoughtful thank you note/email/tweet.
In the age of social media and technology, there’s no excuse to not follow up with someone and stay connected. It’s as easy as connecting on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. If you’re not going to follow up, then why did you go to the conference in the first place? Oh, that’s right…the education.
Conferences can be a great place to enhance your career and even find a job. However, make sure you’re making the most of your time at the event. What other tricks have you found that work to help you maximize your time at a conference?