Make the Most of SHSMD 2017: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Time

Make the Most of SHSMD 2017: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Time

By Lee Ann Lambdin

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The Society of Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) annual conference is the biggest healthcare strategy conference nationwide. As stated on their website, it is “the premier conference for healthcare marketing, public relations and communications, and strategic planning professionals.” Headed into its 21st year, SHSMD Connections 2017 is taking place September 24 - 27 in Orlando, FL.

With an estimated 1,400+ healthcare marketing, public relations and communications, and strategic planning professionals on-site, 60 sessions to choose from, 8 targeted learning tracks, and more than 4 hours worth of keynote sessions, this conference can easily be an enriching experience for attendees, but it can also feel like you’re drinking from a firehose.

SHSMD Connections is primarily focused on education and it provides many opportunities to learn best practices that you can take home and share with your team. It can also be a tremendous opportunity to build professional relationships and network with peers in your field. Pulled from the SHSHD website, below you will find an overview of the roles and responsibilities of those who attended SHSMD in 2016. This provides a good point of reference for who can be expected to attend in 2017.
 
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A wide range of viewpoints in one conference means there will be numerous valuable opportunities to meet with others in your same line of work as well as others who are further along in their careers. There will be many chances to grow professionally and even pass along some of your knowledge to others.

Stratasan has been attending SHSMD since 2011 and over the years our involvement in the conference has grown. We are now regular sponsors of the tote bags which are given out to every attendee, we’ve grown our booth presence and expanded our prospective client giveaways. I’ve also been a session speaker for the past three years. This year, our exhibit booth is #200, so please come by and say hello.

As a big fan of SHSMD and a long-time attendee, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are my five top tips for making the most out of your SHSMD experience.

  1. If you take away only one thing from this blog post, let it be this: plan ahead. Study the conference agenda ahead of time, reviewing speakers, session titles, and session descriptions and plan ahead for which sessions you want to attend. This will prevent you from flaking out and missing sessions based on indecision. Additionally, you will be more likely to pick the sessions you feel will give you the most benefit for your time and applicability for your projects.
  2. Coordinate with your supervisor and co-workers back at the office so they know you will be offline while at the conference, allowing to you really focus and be present in all the sessions, luncheons, and networking opportunities. If you have to miss half a day of the conference due to project work for the office, that's half a day of learning wasted. Promise to present your learnings to the team when you return home.  
  3. Study the Exhibit Hall ahead of time, keeping in mind the needs of your team back home and look for opportunities to make valuable connections. Keep in mind, you can learn a lot from exhibitors, so plan for which exhibitors you want to visit with and make sure you see those exhibitors during the Exhibit Hall hours. The rest of the exhibit time can be spent visiting without feeling like you’ve missed a big opportunity.  
  4. Take advantage of the great networking opportunities at your fingertips. Having a huge number of peers to network with in one place is a rare occassion. Attendees are usually very gracious and will share experiences and advice when engaged in conversation. Take advantage of the networking sessions.
  5. SHSMD is in one of the greatest cities in the world this year, Orlando. Schedule some time before or after the conference to see the sites and be on the lookout for upcoming posts from other members of our team sharing nightlife recommendations.

 

The Takeaway

SHSMD Connections 2017 will no doubt be a lot of fun and will open the door for a lot of learning, too! You can gain new insights about your field, network with peers, and grow as a healthcare professional. But, without a little bit of planning and preparation, it can also be a bit overwhelming. If you will be attending this year, take my urging to heart and plan ahead. All your planning will be time well-spent and will make your experience at the conference that much more valuable. With some advance planning, you can show up feeling relaxed and ready to make the most of your time. I hope to see you there!

P.S. Interested in some good reading to occupy your travel time to SHSMD? Check out this post: 6 Ways to Create More Effective Presentations.

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Article by Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP of Healthcare Strategy for Stratasan

Attending SHSMD? Come meet our team! We’ll be at exhibit booth #200 and would love the chance to meet you.

 

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