The 10 “Do’s and Don’t’s” When Networking at a Healthcare Conference

With OneMedForumNY 2013 just one month away (and a few healthcare conferences coming up), we thought it best to step away from our usual editorial functions and instead offer a ‘how to’ on enhancing your conference experience. Below, find 10 (actually, 11) tips to maximizing your conference networking.

We’ve thrown in a few special tricks, as well.

Have any more tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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1.       DO Pre-register for Presentations. Before arriving at the conference it is beneficial to have a plan and know which presentations are of importance to you. Most conferences now alert pre-registrants of company presentation times, and where to learn more. Further, pre-registration means you won’t get shut out of the standing-room only sessions!

2.       DON’T Forget About Panels. Many attendees view conference panels and workshops to be tangential to main goals of viewing presentations and networking. However most conferences purposely schedule programming during lulls, so you won’t sacrifice your time. In recent years, programming during life sciences conferences has been geared less toward metaphysical discussions about the state of the industry, but instead on action items (legislation, regulation, financial developments) that affect business. And you never know who you could happen to sit down next to or meet…they could be your next business partner.

3.       DON’T Solicit Every Attendee on the Meeting System. It’s better to locate the most appropriate parties, and on the other hand, only those with whom you would feel comfortable pursuing a partnership. Make the best of the meeting system by following basic etiquette rules and contacting only the investors you think would have a genuine interest in your company. Do your research! *Try this trick: Every conference has a meeting system coordinator. Introduce yourself to this team in the days leading up to the conference, and you can expect help in researching potential meetings.

4.       DO Ask Questions During Panels and Workshops. You probably can’t count on the few minutes after the session to properly introduce yourself and tell your story. It is better to have participated in the session, so when you follow up later you are more easily remembered. Additionally, an insightful comment may inspire people in the audience to seek you out. *Try this trick: Always introduce yourself before making a comment, and don’t be afraid to use a real-life example.

5.       DO Pay for and Attend Events that Cost More. Oftentimes certain activities or meals cost more to attend, and these premium tickets may not be available for walk-in registrants. These sessions are usually more exclusive and focused, leading to better connections and better information. Not to mention better food and drinks.

6.       DON’T Run Out of Business Cards, and DO Carry a Pen. Following an event each attendee can expect to face a mountain of business cards, which all look the same after a while. No business card means no shot at a follow up. *Try this trick: So you can be remembered, write a phone number, or a few words on the front or back of your business card before handing it out. The handwriting will feel more important later, conjure up a memory, and distinguish your card from others.

7.       DO Set a Quota for New Business Cards. At the core, a conference is just an excuse to meet new people and catch up with familiar faces (of course, while enjoying some cocktails and entertainment). Before you engage the colleagues, peers and veterans, introduce yourself to 10 people you don’t know. It only takes 1 to be a potential partner going forward.

8.       However, DON’T Get Stuck in a Lame Conversation. If you find yourself losing interest, confused, or just plain bored, it is not rude to walk away. Always end the conversation by swapping a business card, and you won’t seem rude. *Try this trick: Fake confusion from time zones. Everyone respects an overachieving traveler.

9.       DON’T Drink So Much…of the usual brands, that is. Most conferences feature craft beers, microbreweries, and local wines. Put down that Budweiser in favor of the region’s native brew.

10.    DO Enjoy the Event. Yes, you are technically working and should be effectively spending your time while at the conference. However, conferences are supposed to be an enjoyable event. While making the most out of your time, also try to enjoy your time spent outside of the office.

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Don’t forget to register for OneMedForumNY 2013, June 26-27th at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. Space is limited!

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