HIMSS20: Your Guide to Networking at This Year’s Global Conference

a man networking with other young people at a conference

Update: USF Health Online is saddened to hear that we won’t be able to see you at HIMSS 20 in Orlando due to the conference being canceled. Organizers have made a responsible decision in light of the coronavirus issues we face right now, but we hope we can still connect with you. Check us out on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram to learn more about how USF Health can help you achieve your goals. 

HIMSS20 is just around the corner, and now that the holidays are over and schedules are being solidified, it’s time to map out a networking strategy. As the hype around the conference reaches a fever pitch, now is a great time to start making plans for the people you want to meet and how you want to socialize.

HIMSS offers a variety of networking opportunities designed specifically to help professionals relax, get together and have discussions that will ultimately help them create new connections.

Here are some things to consider as you put together a strategy for connecting with your fellow health IT professionals. But whatever you do, remember this advice from Healthcare Scene’s John Lynn.

“Network like crazy,” Lynn said. “One of the beautiful things about HIMSS is you never know who you’re going to be sitting by on a bus, a meal or education session, who you’ll run into at an evening party, who you’ll meet in the exhibit hall when you’re walking around. There are huge opportunities everywhere you go, but the key is are you going to be willing to open your mouth and talk to that person. Sometimes it’s a challenge, but if you go in with the idea that you’re going to start conversations, then you’ll have success and you’ll network with a bunch of people.”

Places to Network and Learn

Orlando has no shortage of distractions to get caught up in, but you’ll want to stay focused and not let the allure of sunshine and non-conference attractions get in the way of you doing some networking. Here are three locations at the event that offer built-in opportunities to meet new people.

Breakfast Sessions

The four breakfast sessions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. These events require an additional registration. With a focus on networking for professionals in interoperability, health information exchange and blockhain, these breakfasts are a great opportunity to engage with people working in these specific areas while tackling a few learning objectives and getting a strong start to the day with a good breakfast.

Focus Groups

What if you could network, have a built-in platform to have your voice heard and earn a $100 eGift card in the process? Well, actually, HIMSS offers you the opportunity to do just that. Offering 48 different focus groups examining topics within health IT ranging from data analytics to patient engagement, HIMSS Corporate sponsors want to hear what you have to say about these areas. Insights will be shared and taken into consideration by market suppliers in those areas. For more information, click here.

HIMSS Community Receptions

Community receptions are open to all registered conference attendees for an additional fee. Some of these include brief educational sessions whereas others are more focused on peer-to-peer networking. They take place throughout the week and represent communities from CMIOs to nurse informaticists and interoperability professionals.

For more information about HIMSS Community Receptions, click here.

Other Networking Events

HIMSS offers a number of events that are dedicated to networking specifically. Here are ones you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

HIMSS20 Opening Reception

When/Where: Monday, March 9, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Valencia Ballroom

A complimentary opportunity to network, this kickoff to the larger event promises beverages, bites and some interactive entertainment to help conference goers have a little fun to get the week started. There will be live music and plenty of opportunity to connect with other attendees right from the start.

Millennials Reception

When/Where: Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Rosen Centre Pool Deck

This afterhours reception has become a big hit in recent years as a way for young professionals to connect. Space is limited, so hurry and join the conversation with other attendees going to #GenY4HIT.

This year’s event is sponsored by USF Health who will be at the event. Stop by and see us on University Row, kiosk UR20 to learn more about why you should attend the reception with us!

Women in Health IT Networking Reception

When/Where: Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Hyatt Regency

One of the most popular events at HIMSS, this reception provides an opportunity to celebrate and exchange ideas with leading female thinkers in health IT. There are a significant number of entrepreneurs in attendance at the reception, which is designed to provide mentorship from women who have found success and create new connections between females in the field.

There is an additional $50 fee for this reception, but the session proves well worth it for women looking to share their ideas with other women. Interact with other attendees on social media under #WomeninHIT.


In addition to these sessions, there are a number of chapter and community specific networking events on offer. For a complete list of HIMSS20 networking opportunities, visit the HIMSS networking events page.

And don’t forget, if you start your efforts on social media, it helps to use hashtags.

Networking Tips

While it may seem easy, networking is more than just talking to people and making your presence known in a room. So here are some strategies to get you ready for a busy conference.

  • Keep a List of People to Meet– It might sound counterintuitive compared to just meeting people and letting the conversation flow, but some planning is vital to success. Do some preliminary research about who will be at the conference and who has mutual connections or interests that will serve as an easy icebreaker. Use social mediato create connections beforehand and interact with others under conference hashtags to increase your potential audience. This will help you build a list of people to interact with that will fill your schedule.
  • Practice an Efficient Introduction– Think 30 seconds or less. Do you want to listen to others ramble on about themselves for minutes at a time? Probably not. You’re there to become familiar with one another and connect over specific topics. A 30-second or less introduction that provides the vital information (where you’re from, who you work for, something interesting about your work) and gives them a sense of you is all that is needed.
  • Listen More Than You Talk– Odds are you aren’t there to lead conversations as much as you are to learn. So don’t take over a group discussion or even one-on-one conversation with self-talk. You risk appearing braggadocious and will not be able to make genuine connections that will benefit you long-term unless you engage and share the room equally with everyone around you.
  • Don’t Be a Ghost, Either– You don’t want to overdo it, but you still want to be present and interested. You should always try to make eye contact, shake hands and at least exchange pleasantries. First impressions matter and you don’t want to appear uninterested, snobby or uptight.
  • Have Business Cards at the Ready– You’re not the only one who is going to meet too many people to remember. Have a business card on hand for people to remember you by and contact you with.
  • Follow Up– When you return from the conference, follow up with people you want to maintain connections with before they forget about you and move on. If you wait a few months or even weeks, it may be too late. A simple email saying that you enjoyed meeting them and would appreciate their perspective or advice in the future may be all you need.
  • Remember Why Everyone is There– The other people at the conference have come for many of the same reasons you have. They want to meet new people and engage in fascinating conversation just as much as you. Everyone is nice, everyone is social and just about anyone can have some value as a connection. So don’t hesitate to talk and be real. Show interest in their passions and show curiosity for subject areas you may not know about. Others don’t care how much you know as much as they will be excited to see that you want to know. Your curiosity may just be the start of a collaboration.
YES! Please send me a FREE guide with course info, pricing and more!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Academic Calendar

SUMMER 1 – 2021

Application Deadline April 16, 2021
Start Date May 3, 2021
End Date June 27, 2021

SUMMER 2 – 2021

Application Deadline June 11, 2021
Start Date June 28, 2021
End Date August 22, 2021

FALL 1 – 2021

Application Deadline August 6, 2021
Start Date August 23, 2021
End Date October 17, 2021

FALL 2 – 2021

Application Deadline October 1, 2021
Start Date October 18, 2021
End Date December 12, 2021

SPRING 1 – 2022

Application Deadline December 17, 2021
Start Date January 10, 2022
End Date March 6, 2022

Get Our Program Guide

If you are ready to learn more about our programs, get started by downloading our program guide now.