How to get the most out of Harvard Medical School’s 2020 Women’s Leadership Course

We are so excited for Harvard Medical School’s 2020 “Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare”  course, which takes place this Thursday – Saturday (Nov 5-7).

Although we are disappointed not to be able to gather in Boston this year, we are looking forward to connecting virtually throughout the conference.

The biggest reason we love being part of this course is YOU. 

This event brings together an attendee list that includes many of the brightest minds in medicine and our goal is to help you amplify your message by teaching you the most effective ways to build and engage an audience in the new media landscape.

We are excited – and we hope you are too. As Dr. Silver will tell you in her opening keynote on Thursday, you have a huge opportunity in front of you at the conference this year.

How can you make the most of this virtual event? Below are five ways to do so. 

Get out of your comfort zone

You made the investment of your time and resources to participate in this conference.

How much are three days of your time worth?

We’re not exactly sure but we would guess it’s worth a whole lot. You should be commended for making this investment in yourself and your message.

But if you don’t approach the conference with the right mindset, you’re not going to get everything you can from it. The biggest encouragement we’re going to give you is to connect at this event. There is a lot of opportunity to connect with others in a virtual environment. 

Connect with the faculty. We’re here for one reason – to give you as much value as we possibly can and the best way for us to give you value is to answer your questions and guide you in taking your message to the next level. Although we won’t be able to meet in person, don’t be shy – we’re eager to talk to you – we’re going to be active on the event hashtag (#SheLeadsHealthcare) and look forward to answering questions and getting to know you.

Connect with each other. We have heard from many past attendees that the connections they made with other attendees at this course have not only led to lasting friendships but also made a significant impact in their career. Look for opportunities to connect with others throughout this virtual event. 

Join the conversation on Twitter –>#SheLeadsHealthcare

You are going to hear Dr. Silver, myself and many other faculty members talk quite a bit about the power of Twitter to not only build connections with colleagues, journalists and others but also with other attendees of this conference.

The official conference hashtag is #SheLeadsHealthcare and you will find a lot of great backchannel conversation happening throughout the conference on these hashtags.

Let’s do a quick review of the basics to make sure you are set up for success: 

  • Sign up for Twitter and ensure you have the right Twitter handle. Your Twitter handle should showcase your expertise. For example, if you have an MD or PhD, you will increase the likelihood of high-value interactions if that is part of your Twitter handle (eg @JulieSilverMD instead of @DrJulieSilver or @JulieSilver).
  • Get visual – The quality (or lack thereof) of your headshot (your avatar) and your header image (the large horizontal picture on your account page) make a big first impression. Make sure your pictures have the right resolution (they shouldn’t be pixelated) and make the kind of first impression that would intrigue a journalist, literary agent or colleague.
  • Optimize your bio – Add a full, detailed bio to your Twitter account (up to 160 characters) so others can quickly see who you are and what areas you focus on. To stick with Dr. Silver as an example, her Twitter bio is the following:

Associate Chair/Associate Professor Dept of PM&R

@HarvardMed & @SpauldingRehab | Researcher #Rehabilitation #Prehabilitation #Disparities | #Physiatry | #PROWD

Notice how she lists her titles, the Twitter handles of formal connections, the hashtags of her specific areas of focus, etc. She’s doing a lot here in 160 characters and we want you to do the same. 

Be present

We talked earlier about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and making the most of the time and resources you’ve invested to participate in the conference and a big part of that is being present throughout the event.

This is hard enough when you are at an in-person conference but we know it’s even harder with the multitude of distractions that may exist in your virtual environment. We are committed to earning that attention but we also want to ask you to own your experience. If you will be fully present with your attention and your time you will maximize the investment you’ve made to participate.

Take advantage of the accessible content 

When in an in-person environment, attendees typically have to choose between breakout sessions. An advantage to a virtual environment is the sessions are available for 30 days – meaning you can consume more than one breakout session if you choose to do so. 

You can also go back and rewatch certain sessions if you want to dive deeper into the content delivered. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to get the most out of this experience. Don’t be afraid to Tweet at faculty members with follow up questions as you consume content – that is what we are here for! 

Have fun!

These three days offer so much opportunity to make connections and build relationships and we’re looking forward to a great event that makes an outsized impact on society. 

This course that Dr. Silver started has really become a community, built over many years and we want to be the first to welcome you to the Harvard Women’s Leadership Course family – have fun and we look forward to connecting with you online.

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