How Do I Prepare For A Medical Conference?

how do I prepare for a medical conference

The Science and Technology sector is renowned for being one of the fastest-changing industries. That means that it’s imperative that you keep up to date with the latest developments and technological changes if you are employed in these sectors so that you can stay ahead of the curve.

There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective is to attend industry conferences. Not only will you be across the leading-edge industry trends, but there is also the opportunity to network with peers that you may otherwise not bump into.

With the new year getting started, many of you will be scoping out which conferences to go to in 2018. So, with this in mind, here are our recommendations to get the most out of your conference experience.

Contents

Research, Research, Research

Like most things, you can get more out of conferences if you’re prepared. Check out the event website to find out who is attending and what they specialise in, so you know who to talk to and what to talk to them about. Once you’ve identified a few key people, take a look at their social media presence. This will give you an insight into what they’re currently up to, as well as their areas of interest and expertise. If you can’t find a list of people who are attending, make note of the companies that are hosting or sponsoring the event, as this could give you an indication. 

Follow the event on social media, whether you’re there or not

While social media is a useful tool for research and background purposes, you can also find value on it during the conference. People will often post about conferences while they are there, sharing content related to the event. Twitter is a great starting point for this, with its hashtag function providing an easy way to keep up with proceedings. 

This allows you to interact with speakers and other attendees, connecting with them for later, as well as enabling you to give thoughts, commentary and feedback on the event itself. 

Finally, following a hashtag can be useful even if you don’t attend the event. By seeing other people’s content from the conference you’ll be able to get some of the insights shared from the outside, and some speakers even share their whole presentations online afterwards. If you’re already doing this and find yourself wanting more, then it might be time to head along in the flesh.

Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to People

It’s most likely that you’ll be attending conferences that relate directly to what you do, and cover subjects that you’re pretty familiar with, if not a bona fide expert in. However, while the topics talked about are important, the networking aspect of industry events is just as valuable. 

Don’t be afraid to talk to the people around you, even if they might not have roles that are relevant to your interests or specialisations.

Often, these are the people who can help you learn new information and open up new opportunities. While their field might seem unrelated to you initially, you just never know when having a wider professional network might come to be useful.

Stay to Socialise

At almost every industry event, there will be some kind of extra social function that takes place after the main conference or presentations. These give you the chance to get to know your peers in a more casual setting and are an enjoyable way to expand your network. 

The conversation here is usually less work-focused, which can actually make for more genuine, and thus more meaningful, connections. These types of connections are valuable and are often the ones that yield better results as they tend to be more memorable.

Follow up Online

When you meet someone at a conference, don’t just forget about them once the event is finished. Nowadays, utilising tools like social media and online message boards after the conference is crucial to getting the best out of your experience.

Not only does it provide you with an avenue to continue discussions with people, but it also gives you a point of contact if you feel that they might be able to provide you with a future opportunity. 

On the other side, if you connect with someone on LinkedIn for example, they’ll be able to find out more about your skills and experience, which can be a significant help if you’re looking for job opportunities.

Get on Stage

All that said, the best way to be noticed by your peers at conferences is to get involved. While, yes, it is easier said than done to start your speaking career, it can do wonders in terms of establishing your personal brand, which can help to open up new career opportunities. 

If you are engaging on stage and present thought-provoking content, then there is no doubt that people will approach you afterwards to learn more, or simply to pick your brain. Getting up in front of a room of your industry peers can be understandably nerve-wracking, so keep in mind that you don’t have to dive in headfirst. 

Doing presentations internally within your company, or potentially speaking at universities or schools, are great ways to hone your skills. Lastly, keep in mind that every one of the successful speakers at these conferences had to start somewhere. If you’re nervous about the idea, ask them for their advice. You may just get a valuable connection out of it too.

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