How To Get Nothing Out Of #HIMSS18 And Go Home Empty

Posted on March 2, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Going to HIMSS can be a high-stakes game.  To get anything done at the show, it takes a pretty substantial investment of time, energy and if you’re a vendor, a huge marketing budget.  Unfortunately, though, some poor schmucks will end up squandering the great opportunities the show offers and go home with their tail between their legs.

If you want to be like them, and get nothing out of HIMSS18, here are a few ways to make it happen:

Spend all your time in chitchat

The show offers you a chance to meet amazing people accomplishing great things, and many are happy to talk about what they do. But you’re more comfortable sticking with your buddies from the home office who already know you. So why not talk about sports and office politics with the gang for most of the event? Learning about new things, meeting new people, and stretching yourself is scary and hard, right?

Confirm your prejudices

Shows like HIMSS18 offer fertile ground for creativity and collaboration. But that doesn’t work for everybody. If you’re a vendor, stick to your booth and your product as you know it. No need to check out anything new; your solution is obviously the best one. If you’re walking around the exhibit hall touring the scenery, assume you already have all the answers, and tune out anybody who challenges you. Tell yourself that this is not the time to rethink your strategy.

Be disorganized

If you make an effort, you can take in a ton of information and make a lot of contacts at HIMSS18. Want to be sure you don’t have to follow up? Stick people’s cards in your suit jacket pocket or the bottom of your purse then forget they’re there or forget to get the cards in the first place. Meanwhile, if absorbing new information isn’t your speed, be sure to leave your vendor fliers, e-books and white papers in your briefcase, unsorted and inaccessible. And by no means take notes!

Be jaded

At any HIT show, some of what you see won’t be completely new, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll be exposed to exciting proposals. But you can avoid being stimulated or bringing valuable ideas home.  It’s easy – just assume that you’ve seen it all before. Startups are run by silly dreamers and big companies are clumsy and slow, so why believe that anything in HIT will really change?

Of course, most people who go to HIMSS18 are there to learn, connect with their peers, talk about big ideas and go back to their jobs refreshed and inspired. Despite the investment required, going to shows like HIMSS18 can be immensely valuable. Just go with an open mind and you’ll be glad you were there.