I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Ragan Communications’ Health Care Communicators Conference at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. The conference brought together hundreds of healthcare communicators from across the nation to discuss best practices for content marketing, social media and public relations, as well as healthcare marketing and PR trends. In addition to learning how to increase our clients’ visibility among patients as well as other stakeholders and potential partners, I learned some key lessons about why attending conferences is so valuable to your career and your business.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Learn from and be motivated by speakers

All communications and business conferences have speakers who are experts in their fields and will share insights on a particular subject with the audience. In addition to spreading their knowledge, these speakers often inspire the attendees into action by sparking new ideas. When attending conferences and listening to these speakers, I got excited to bring this new knowledge back to my team at Solomon McCown and put these ideas into action.

  1. Connect with key influencers in your industry and within your target market

When going to a conference or networking event, you will meet people that are thought leaders in your industry. I compiled a list of professionals I knew were attending the conference before heading to Baltimore. This way, I could think about questions I would like to ask these individuals, so I could more easily network with them, learn from them, and (hopefully) develop an important professional relationship.

  1. Familiarize yourself with what’s next in the industry

At the Ragan conference, Dave Vener, the director of business development for Smith & Jones, presented on 2016 healthcare marketing trends.

Healthcare is usually a little slower to embrace new tools when compared to other sectors. It took healthcare companies longer to leverage social media, for example. Being aware of what my clients are currently doing, I stay abreast of new trends and am constantly thinking about how our clients can embrace these to stay ahead of the curve.

How do you prepare to get the most out of a conference? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter!