Saturday, March 28, 2015

Preparing Your Elevator Pitch & Networking Questions for the HIMSS Conference

Credit: Mark Anderson -

So you’re going to the 2015 HIMSS Conference in Chicago! What are your goals for networking at the conference? What do you want to learn from other people? What do you want to be able to get from or give to other attendees? There must be something. Why else would you be going?

Theoretically you could meet somewhere around 40,000 people interested in healthcare information technology. Realistically you’ll probably be quite successful if you have 300-400 relatively brief conversations. You should also use the little time left before the event figuring out what you want to say to people. Here are some suggestions and tips:

Have your Personal Elevator Pitch Ready

Come up with a sentence or two that quickly and accurately explains what you do. It should include what the primary benefit is that you provide and your role at your company. Avoid unnecessary jargon so those new to the industry or not is your particular area of expertise are not confused.

Struggling to come up with your Personal Elevator Pitch? Check out “The "High 5" Elevator Pitch Worksheet.” 

Note: Even if you're not going to the HIMSS Conference this year, having a Personal Elevator Pitch and having some questions ready to improve  your networking skills can help you both professionally and personally.

A Good Listener is a Great Networker

After the introduction, a most uneasy moment can be not knowing what to say next while you and the person you just met stare at each other or the coffee cup in your hand. To avoid this scenario, consider having a list of general questions to use with people you meet. Having this list also helps others interacting with you to better understand how you might be able to help them. It can also make you look less silly, which is a nice bonus.

You should ask meaningful questions and list to understand what the other person is saying. A good listener is a good networker. Focus on that person's answers to your questions and not on how you intend to respond. Don't try to fill in what the other person is saying. Let the person do the talking because by limiting your own talking and encouraging the other person to talk, you’ll make yourself more memorable to the other person. Seems counter-intuitive but it’s true.

Sample Post Introduction Questions

1. Where are you from?
2. How long have you worked at ABC company?
3. Where did you work before joining ABC company?
4. How did you become interested in your area of expertise?
5. What are you hoping to get out of the conference?
6. What sessions are you most looking forward to?
7. What do you think the best sessions have been so far?
8. Are you going to any other conferences this year?
9. I’m trying to improve at XYZ - what did you read to do so?

Make Your Own Luck

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. The HIMSS Conference will provide all the networking opportunity than you'll ever have in one place in a short period of time. Remember that networking is a wonderful opportunity to get to know people, so make the most of it by coming prepared.

For more information on the 2015 HIMSS Conference, consider following @HITConfGuy on Twitter. 

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