Networking — Think Differently About Conference Attendance

By: Jhaymee Wilson-Tynan

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The first time I met Kelly Hoey was in 2009 when I joined an organization called 85 Broads, now known as Ellevate Network (still a proud member!). I will never forget our conversation, and her words of wisdom have stuck with me since our initial encounter. She spoke about the importance of networking and how she successfully navigated her career because she connected people. For me, conference attendance is not only to invest in my personal education and career growth. It is as an opportunity to meaningfully stay connected in my industry (healthcare and strategy) while being generous and thoughtful about connecting with each other.

[Related: Exercise Your Networkin​g Muscles]

I recently came across an article that Kelly wrote for Forbes titled “How to Get the Most Out of Attending Conferences and Events”. It was serendipitous that this article popped up in my Twitter feed, as I will be spending time at the American Hospital Association’s SHSMD Connections and National Association for Health Services Executives Educational Conference. What I love about her article is that she continues the theme about connecting people as part of your ​networking approach. Here are a couple of my personal additions to expand upon this article and be more purposeful with your conferences this fall:

  • Use Twitter as a Conference Catalog: You love to Tweet. Now put those tweets to work! Live tweeting during a conference is a fresh, on-demand way to take notes and share your experience with your network. It serves double duty — allowing you to engage with social media while actively codifying your experience. Use the conference hashtag to quickly pull up your previous tweets to remind you of anecdotes, quotes, and sessions that elevated your experience.
  • Take a Business Card…and Follow Up: Too often, I’ve seen conference attendees ask for a business card from a speaker, thought leader, or panelist with no intention of ​following up. Don’t be afraid to keep the conversation going post conference by sending a thank you note or follow up email. This is a small thing you can do to up your game and expand your network on topics of interest to you.
  • Write a LinkedIn Post About Your Conference Experience: Sharing key takeaways that you learned from a recent conference you attended is a great way to connect with your LinkedIn network. Be sure to tag specific presenters in your post to highlight content that was particularly impactful to you.

If you are attending/attended SHSMD Connections 2018 or NAHSE’s Educational Conference this year, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter (@jhaymee).

I hope to see you there!

Jhaymee Wilson-Tynan is the the Director of Strategy Management and Growth, at Atrium Health — one of the largest non-profit healthcare systems in the United States.

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