Success at 2021 HFMA Conference

Liaison Financial's Sales Director, Paul O'Connor shares some helpful hints for networking in the new normal

15 December 2021

By Paul O’Connor, Liaison Financial

We’ve all had to wait a little longer for it, but the HFMA annual conference 2021 finally arrived, and how fantastic the event was.

Celebrating saving the NHS £171m in 2021, we attended the HFMA annual conference at the London Hilton Metropole last week. It’s a key fixture in the financial healthcare industry calendar and remains a major hive of networking activity for NHS finance professionals.

Whilst it was great meeting people for the first time and catching up with peers after a long while, it’s understandable that you may have felt anxious about seeing people face-to-face for the first time in many months. It’s a good time to revisit some tips to reinstate your way back into networking in the new normal:

1) Be yourself. Now more than ever, we look forward to the prospect of seeing people. But we can sometimes focus too much on what the other wants to hear, rather than enjoy some real conversation.

If you’re feeling nervous, why not start with ‘I was really nervous coming here today’. You’ll be amazed at how many people will agree with you or will go out of their way to make you feel more at ease. The best relationships often start with a simple connection.

2) Wear something comfortable. How long has it been since you wore your go-to event outfit? With many of us having to change-up our wardrobe with remote working, knowing what to wear to an event can leave you in a panic, especially if left to the last minute.

Plan in advance for different scenarios, for example, will the room be too hot or too cold? Can I stand in these shoes for long periods of time? You can also try on your clothes beforehand so that you have time to change if you need to. That way, you’re not stressing about how they look or make you feel throughout the event.

3) Stay hydrated. When you’re chatting all day in a room full of lots of people, you want to make sure you’re refreshed and focused. Keep a reusable water bottle with you that you can refill throughout the day. Small sips can keep you calm and relaxed, especially when feeling nervous or anxious.

I really enjoyed seeing so many of you at this year’s conference. With new contacts being made during the event, and existing clients popping onto our stand, it was so good to meet up.

I look forward to continuing to listen to our clients and invest in research and development to offer new services that will help the NHS to achieve savings.

Until next year, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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