Four Health Tech Networking Mistakes

With a jampacked fall conference season here for the healthcare and health IT industries, it's time to brush up on networking best practices to make lasting positive impressions amidst a sea of competitive professionals. To help, check out four health tech networking mistakes to avoid.

  1. Résumé self-promo. Whether you are actively seeking employment or connecting for future possibilities, know the time and place for résumé distribution. Pushing your résumé on everyone can look desperate and disingenuous. Unless your résumé is specifically requested within natural conversation, hold on it. Save it for the email follow up conversation or online application. Honestly, most people misplace or toss papers handed to them during a hectic conference, and you don’t want to look pushy and self-promoting. Even if you’re an eager young professional, keep your cool.

  2. Business card binge. Similarly a signal of someone too eager, avoid collecting mass amounts of business cards without genuine conversation. Sometimes conferences have a business card or booth bingo competition for a sponsor prize, but even in those instances, don’t rush business card exchange. Slow down and pay attention to the conversation. Ask meaningful questions instead of pushing your own agenda. When you do exchange cards, make sure to end the conversation with a confident handshake, sincere thank you and eye contact. After the person walks away, jot down quick notes on the back of the card to easily recall the conversation or follow-up tasks later.

  3. Ignoring conference speakers and sessions. Even if your primary goal of an event is networking, show respect during conference speaker presentations. Give your full attention. Take notes. Show engaged body language. You never know who is in the room or how that speaker could be a connection for you. Plus, the sessions could serve as great talking points for attendee conversation starters or as blog or LinkedIn conference recap content to show your thought leadership.

  4. Missing or lazy follow up. Think of the tons of emails HIT leaders receive per day. How are you going to make your conference follow up stand out in an email inbox? Add personalization to your message, mentioning details from your conversation. Don’t go straight into self-promotion. Be brief but meaningful in your messaging. If you promised to share notes or an article link, make sure to do so. Similarly, if your contact facilitated another connection or gave you advice, acknowledge how he or she helped you. Those sincere pieces go a long way.

Keep these four considerations in mind as you prep for upcoming health IT conferences, user group meetings and tradeshows. Best of luck networking!

Stay tuned for more HIT leadership insights.