The Experience of a SHSMD Conference First Timer

I’ve been a conference expert from afar.

I know the dates and locations of conferences across various industries a year in advance. I know when the call for speakers opens and what each proposal entails. I know how to write an abstract that gets clients front and center in front of their target audience. This year, I helped earn speaking engagements for my healthcare clients at conferences like SHSMD, HCIC and Medtrade. While I thought I knew the ins and outs of these events, I decided I wanted some first-hand experience — and what better place to start than attending the leading healthcare strategy event itself?

SHSMD Connections gathers healthcare marketing, communications and strategic planning professionals from all over to explore the industry’s challenges, trends and opportunities. I was particularly excited to check it out as I pitched and landed an advanced analytics session for our client, Sequence Health with Fresno Heart and Surgical Center. Now that I’ve attended, I have a few new tips for fostering a successful SHSMD experience for newbies and veterans alike.

  • Channel your inner Sherlock. And what I mean by that is do your research. I mean, really plan ahead. I’m a planner by nature and it still feels like I could’ve planned even more. Study the conference agenda ahead of time so you know which sessions you’re going to attend. Review the Exhibit Hall and map out which booths you’re going to stop by. All of this will save you time and allow the opportunity to accomplish everything you came for. I’d also recommend noting the companies from your city that are attending — I enjoyed meeting fellow ATL marketers and plan to reconnect after the show.
  • Conversations are key. SHSMD is a wonderful place to digest information, and the sessions and keynotes from industry experts are ones you don’t want to miss. But I found that even more valuable is the people you meet and engage with. I went out of my comfort zone by introducing myself to anyone I saw, and the conversations were rich and rewarding.
  • You won’t know if you don’t ask. Need a conversation starter? Ask questions. The best way to learn about the industry is to ask the people who are living it. Ask your peers about their challenges and pain points to create a common ground and gain insights into industry trends. Trust me, they’ll like it, too!
  • Don’t cram everything into one day. Being a first-timer, I only purchased a pass for the day my client was speaking. While I had a great experience and gained a lot, I left wanting more of everything — more sessions, more conversations, more connections. I’d recommend getting at least the two-day pass to fully maximize your time at the show.

If you put in the needed time and effort beforehand, the days leading up to and actually at the event, conferences are well worth the investment and you will likely leave with a plethora of new information, connections and prospects.

Want to speak at one of the leading healthcare conferences next year? Contact us today to see how we can help!