With the ANI just around the corner brushing up on networking techniques could prove useful. Making the most of a conference is much more than simply showing up. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful:
1. Well known author Harvey Mackay who wrote the New York Times bestseller, “Swim with the Sharks” advises the power of visualization. “Whatever a person does, they must first do in their mind” is his mantra. This is relevant to networking. Make a networking plan in advance and target some specific people that you’d like to meet. It may be a speaker, an exhibitor, someone on the Board of Directors or Executive Committee; everyone is approachable at the conference. By planning in advance, you’ll be able to look for specific people during the conference and you’ll be surprised, you’ll find them!
2. You already have established relationships with AAHAM members in your chapter and it’s comfortable to be with them but try to use the ANI to develop some new contacts. Sit at a table with some new faces. The conference offers a great opportunity to talk with someone from a hospital across the country and learn what their department is doing or about their AAHAM chapter.
3. Plan your elevator speech so when you introduce yourself to someone, you are comfortable explaining who you are and what you do or think of something to say that would be memorable and help you stand apart.
4. Initiate a conversation by paying a compliment or asking a question. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Take some advice from Larry King who is considered a great communicator and conversationalist. He advises to ask people questions that are straightforward and to listen to their answers. Focus on them and use their responses as a cue to your next question.
5. Leave your cell phone in your purse or pocket and be approachable. You’ve committed to come to ANI and it’s your responsibility to be in the moment not checking emails and text messages. Head to your room or someplace else if you must check in, but when you are walking the exhibit hall or waiting for session to start, be approachable.
6. Take advantage of what is offered at the ANI and go to everything on the schedule rather than head to your hotel room. Conferences are long and it’s tempting to call it a day but the ANI is why you are here. It’s important to show up.
7. The many benefits from attending the ANI are found not only from attending just one conference but attending them each year. You see familiar faces and gain a comfort level. As you leave Las Vegas this year, starting thinking of our ANI in New Orleans and put it on your list for 2020.
8. Returning to your office with a stack of business cards isn’t maximizing a conference. Whenever someone gives you their card, make a note on the back to help you remember who they were and why you were speaking.
9. Use those business cards to email or send a casual note to follow up after the ANI if this is someone with whom you want to establish a relationship. One of the best tips a speaker gave me was to travel with some thank you notes and use your travel time to write these notes while the meeting was still fresh.
10. Have fun! The ANI offers many opportunities to enjoy your AAHAM experience and its benefits and one of these is simply having fun.
I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas this year and safe travels!