An Introvert’s guide to large conferences ... or how I survived HIMSS 2018 (and 2017 and 2016)

The thing about HIMSS is that there are a lot of people. I mean ... a lot of people. More than 43k people will attend as speakers, exhibitors or attendees.

Let that sink in for a second.

No. Really. Let. That. Sink. In.

That’s more than the average attendance of a MLB game of 29 teams. It’s ridiculous.

As an introvert you know what will drain you and what will invigorate you. For me I need to be cautious of conferencing too hard. That is, I need to be aware of myself, my surroundings and my energy levels.

My tips are:

  1. Have a great playlist on your smart phone. I use an iPhone and get a subscription to Apple Music just for the conference. This allows me to have a killer set of music that helps to drown out the cacophony of people.
  2. Know when you’ve reached your limit. Even with some sweet tunes it’s easy to get drained. When you’re done you’re done. Don’t be a hero.
  3. Try to make at least one meaningful connection. I know, it’s hard. But it’s totally worth it. Other introverts are easy to spot because they’re the people on their smart phones pretending to write a blog post while listening to their sweet playlist. But if you can start a conversation, not small talk, it will be worth it. Attend a networking function that’s applicable to you and you’ll be able to find at least one or two people to connect with.

The other tips for surviving HIMSS are the same for any other conference:

  1. Don’t worry about how you’re dressed ... you will always be underdressed when compared to Hospital Administrators ... you’re in ‘IT’ and you dress like it
  2. Wear good walking shoes (see number 2 about being under dressed)
  3. Drink plenty of water
  4. Wash your hands and/or have hand sanitizer
  5. Accept free food when it’s offered

Ok. One day down. 3+ more to go!