Three Practical Tips to Navigate Networking at Heartland

Posted on in Growth Strategies, Membership, Heartland, Heartland 2017

By Sarah Buzynski, VGM Marketing

Heartland is your time to learn and connect with HME providers from across the nation [wow!].

Sometimes that connection part— networking—can be a little hard to navigate, whether you’re outgoing or reserved. I get it. Raging introvert here.

But I also know that it pays dividends to be intentional about building connections—especially at conferences crawling with like-minded professionals. Networking doesn’t have to be a bad word.

At Heartland, the more you get to know the people around you, the more at home you will feel and the more you will be able cut loose to have a truly impactful experience. And that’s exactly what we want for you.

Here are a few practical tips to get the most out of your networking opportunities at Heartland:

1. Focus your efforts: make two or three meaningful connections a day.

The goal is to build a network of people whose day-to-day tasks, concerns, and challenges match your own so that when you need help, you can call on that network. Chances are, someone has experienced something similar and can assist, or at least offer some outside perspective.

You should (and will) meet way more than 12 people at Heartland. But if you want your networking efforts to produce for you post-conference, focus on really developing a few core relationships—both with other attendees and your VGM representatives—so that it feels like second nature to call on your trusted network when need arises.

How? Get personal. Make friends out of these people. By simply sharing some business successes and struggles and talking through them together, you’ll get a sense for who they are and where their strengths lie. And while you’re at it, you might as well talk hobbies, sports, and family. They’re friends, after all.

Bonus tip, courtesy of business communication coach, Patrick Donadio: be sure to exchange business cards and take notes about your conversations so that the next time you talk, you can pick up where you left off.

2. Be a giver.

Once you break the ice with some network newbies, invest in the relationship by offering value at some capacity. An easy way to do that is to share learning resources and helpful contacts relevant to conversations you’ve had with your counterpart. You can also extend an offer to help where you can personally. Just be sure to follow through.

Additionally, you can give by acting as an agent through whom others can meet. If you get to talking to someone and get the feeling they could benefit from a relationship with another connection, be sure to introduce them.

3. Make the fun stuff a priority.

The best conference networking happens during the “extras.”

You’re much more likely to have memorable conversations when you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with someone on a golf cart or sharing a dinner together. It’s when you’re most relaxed that guards come down and you discover a shared love for hunting or start sharing crazy vacation memories. You know—the building blocks toward a meaningful relationship.

My advice? Come early and stay for the party parties. Be sure to check out all the great “extra’s” we have in store for you at this year’s Heartland Conference and get them on your agenda.

Know and be known.

Know and be known is a mantra to which you can cling for business and personal success. Know your stuff. Know good people, and make sure good people know you. It’s what we’re aiming to help you do every day at VGM, and you get to see it first-hand at Heartland.

I think I can speak on behalf of all VGM associates when I say that we can’t wait to host you at this year’s Heartland Conference, and I, personally, am looking forward to meeting you.

Not registered for Heartland Conference 2017? Register by June 8 to secure your spot.