When it comes to attending a professional conference like HCCA’s Compliance Institute, what separates the rookies from the pros? One word: preparation. Rookies simply show up. Pros show up with a plan.
Planning for an event like the Compliance Institute means more than just choosing your learning sessions. It’s mapping out the entire experience. The goal is to come back with more knowledge, better insights, and with a renewed energy about your chosen profession. You’ll be meeting and mingling with more than 3,000 compliance professionals just like yourself. How will you make sure you meet the right people, access the right content, vet the right vendors, and still enjoy your time away from the office? Follow these six steps and you’ll be on the right track…
1. Engage in some self-reflection…
…not just for you personally but also on behalf of your organization. Reflect on the compliance challenges that your organization dealt with or has been dealing with over the past year, and jot down your findings.
Your goal in this exercise is to recognize any commonalities in the challenges and to compare those themes with the content of the sessions being offered. Sure, you can follow the learning tracks to a tee. There are some really fantastic tracks! But why follow a suggested template for your learning when you can create one that’s optimized to suit yours and your organization’s needs?
2. Go all in.
Zumba can be intimidating. Networking events can be awkward. Downloading another app to your phone takes up storage space. Do it anyway.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your experience at the Compliance Institute is to lean in to it fully. When you choose to immerse yourself, you become exposed to opportunities that may not have presented themselves otherwise. Your next mentor may be in the morning Zumba class, or your next employer could be waiting to meet someone just like you at one of the networking events.
You are in the midst of 3,000 other compliance professionals; the possibilities are there if you choose to open yourself up to them.
3. Get social.
If you're thinking to yourself “well I’m not on social media so this doesn’t apply to me,” then you are severely underestimating the importance of social. It’s 2017! It’s no longer acceptable to avoid social media. Scratch that - it’s more than unacceptable. It can be detrimental to your career not to have your adequately represented online. You have a voice. Make it heard farther than 6 inches past your nose!
Twitter is going to be abuzz during the Compliance Institute. Follow the hashtag #HCCAci to find out what other compliance professionals are learning in their sessions, see what everyone is up to after hours, and see what sponsor giveaways are happening. And don’t forget to join the conversation!
4. Chat with exhibitors.
If you think the only compliance experts are the ones who are leading sessions, we implore you to take a look inside the Exhibit Hall.
Vendors develop successful solutions because they have taken the time to understand the problem fully. It’s likely that whatever challenge you’re facing, there’s a vendor in the Exhibit Hall who has hundreds, even thousands of clients who were once in your exact same position.
Pencil in some time to get to know the exhibitors. Tap into their expertise and ask them to share stories of how their clients overcame similar challenges. Be receptive to how their solutions could help your organization. Remember that the exhibitors appreciate being able to share what they know with compliance professionals like yourself (and to hear your stories, too).
5. Get outside.
Why does traveling for work feel so different than traveling on holiday? . In fact, work travel can be just as enjoyable as personal travel if you pencil in time to see your destination.
This year’s Institute is just outside of Washington, DC, a city known for its springtime beauty. The National Park Service has predicted that peak bloom of the capital’s cherry blossom trees will be March 14th - 17th, and will be taking place while the Compliance Institute is in town! Head into town for the festivities, site-seeing, or to simply indulge in some of .
6. Focus on solutions.
If you think your primary objective is to learn more about the climate of compliance in the healthcare industry, you’re wrong.
Your primary objective is to learn about the current climate of compliance in the healthcare industry, and to leverage that knowledge to deliver new and creative solutions to your organization’s everyday compliance challenges.
Plan to provide a comprehensive run-down of your newfound insights. Take excellent notes during learning sessions, jot quick comments on the back of business cards of the people you meet, and keep all relevant vendor collateral for reference later. These notes and tidbits are going to be vital when you sit down to report on your experience.
After you’ve reviewed your notes, take a challenge-solution approach to your report. List the challenges your organization has been facing and present solutions to the challenges with evidence from your learning sessions, talks with vendors, and discussions with your peers. Your superiors will appreciate your solutions-focused approach, and you’ll likely end up with a ticket to next year’s event, as well.