Network, Network, Network. In-person group interaction is a powerful component of learning.
While there are many fantastic educational opportunities at the ASHP Summer Meeting - Conversations are just as valuable as the sessions you attend.
The lectures, talks and panels might provide some new ideas, but are one-directional. The unique, personal, and insightful conversations you have with other people can only happen at an event.
Here are just a few helpful tips to make the most of your networking opportunities at the ASHP Summer Meeting.
Tip 1: Mingle. ASHP’s formal education sessions are enriching, but so are the more casual conversations attendees have with new people and longtime friends. The association offers several networking opportunities throughout the meeting; individuals should consider Grand Opening Reception; Meet & Greet with Pharmacy Leaders; Delegate Reception & President-Elect Reception.
Tip 2: Introduce yourself to someone. Talk with your neighbors before a session starts, talk to one of the speakers after the conclusion of a panel, start a conversation in the elevator. Tell him or her where your interests lie and ask them about their own interests. Invest time in connecting with other people.
Tip 3: Bring plenty of business cards. If you don’t already have some, they are inexpensive to make and offer an efficient way for people to have your contact information. When you receive a card, write on the back how you should follow up with the person.
Tip 4: Make plans to meet for dinner. When 4:30 or 5pm rolls around, every single person at the conference is thinking about where they’re going to go to dinner, and who they’re going to go with. Try to set yourself up with a plan early in the day, and ask people you run into to meet or ask what their plans are. Often they’ll say that don’t have any, which is your ticket to make some. Tell people to meet at a hotel lobby, and for them to tell others the same. Then whoever shows up goes to a nearby Baltimore restaurant together.
Tip 5: Read the name badges. In this age of e-mail, you finally get to see someone with whom you have been corresponding or whose book you have read. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Also, remember to pick up ribbons for your badges at the membership information center to display your involvement.
Tip 6: Give yourself a goal. “I will meet two new people each day of the conference.” By the end of the meeting, you will have made almost ten new contacts.
Tip 7: Keep your eyes and ears open. Many organizations, corporations, vendors, and universities host hospitality suites and receptions in conjunction with the ASHP Summer Meeting. While these events are not part of the official Summer Meeting program, you may see notices about these events posted on the hotel “Reader Boards.” Keep your eyes and ears open for these events—they are good opportunities to meet other professionals in a more casual environment.
Tip 8: Stay Connected. There are a variety of communications tools available that will help you stay connected with other attendees before, during and after the meeting — including the ASHP Connect SM12 community, ASHP Connect Mobile app, a Facebook page and through the Twitter feed (#SM12), among others.
If the only things you take home from a professional meeting are CEUs, you are being cheated out of a worthwhile experience. By networking you'll open doors to opportunities you didn't know existed, you'll expand your network and you'll leave the meeting with the enthusiasm to take the next step in your career.