Forming business relationships is an instrumental part of success; this holds true no matter who you are. Connections aren’t just about doing business with one another, and exchanging information, it’s about forming time lasting mutual beneficial relationships with trusted partners. Ever heard the saying “it isn’t about what you know, but who you know”, that’s because most people understand that a big part of success is about fostering relationships that could be career prospering. Networking isn’t everybody’s favorite past time, but if you are serious about your career trajectory, here are the best six ways to connect with others at your medical conference.
Being late is never an excuse, plan for potential time-consuming obstacles, such as traffic, emergency phone calls etc. First impressions are everything, can you imagine if the first message you send to your audience at medical conferences is you are unreliable, and cannot be trusted with a task as simple as showing up at a specific time. Promptness communicates to people that you not only value and respect someone else’s time, but your time as well, it also shows you have a sense of responsibility, and how to present yourself. In fact, try to be one of the first people at the conference, that way it will be apparent that you are eager to make connections. Every minute you lose could have been used making a career changing connection.
Treat the medical conference like a job interview, dress to impress. If you are not sure how to dress, remember it never hurts to over-dress. Most psychology studies state that the majority of people make snap decisions on others, within the first minute of meeting them. Remember to not have too much jewelry, perfume/cologne, or makeup on, and have your clothes pressed. Lastly make sure your clothing choice reflects the mature responsible person you are.
People won’t want to get to know you or talk to you without a little confidence and enthusiasm. Make sure you smile, are polite and actively listening to others. Approach people who are not already engaged in conversation. Look people in their eyes and shake their hands and be sure to stand up straight. Practice selling yourself in under a minute. These are all techniques that show the person you are communicating with, that you believe in yourself, and therefore they should believe in you.
Bring your laptop, notebook, pens, resumes and business cards. Just like over-dressing it is never a negative to be over-prepared. Practice questions people might ask you, that way you are as prepared as possible for any unconventional curiosity. Vice versa, study who will be attending the conference, and be prepared with questions you have for them. If you are attending the event with a team, make sure you are all on the same page, you know what you want to accomplish and how to accomplish it.
These conferences only last so long, every minute is crucial in connecting with those you are interested in. The more people you talk to in your field of interest, the more information and connections you make. Talking to someone you have no intentions of following up-with is a waste of time. When you are interacting with the people you have targeted, remember to keep your pitch short and simple, no one wants to hear someone talk about themselves for 15 minutes.
Speakers and organizers talk to a lot of people at these events, so it is best to stand out as much as possible, by following up with them immediately. Contact your connections a day after your conference is over, that way you are still fresh in their minds, chances are they will remember your skills and expertise, and other valuable pieces of information you may have given them. Contact them through phone or by email and try to get them to commit to an in-person meeting, or at the very least a phone call.