Harvard Macy is a community of educators and leaders dedicated to transforming healthcare education. In addition to being a top course in research, teaching, and learning in health professions education, Harvard Macy is itself a community of practice – a group of people who share a craft and/or a profession – and thus a prime opportunity to grow your professional network.
What can you do to embrace networking while a Harvard Macy scholar? Here are 8 tips to consider:
- Practice your elevator pitch.Your pitch should let others know your professional affiliation, who you are as an educator and your unique attributes or abilities. Commit your elevator speech to memory, which will ease anxiety you may have about networking.
- Pay attention to name badges. When you meet someone, take a look at their badge. This will help you remember where people are from, and identify people you were hoping to meet.
- Engage social media. Health Professions Educators are connecting via social media, and The Harvard Macy Institute has a strong social media presence! Tweet at @harvardmacy and utilize the course hashtag (#hmieducators, #hmiassessment, #hmileaders, #hmihce), like Harvard Macy on Facebook, or connect via LinkedIn. Twitter is a huge course backchannel, and many conversations stemming from the course start and continue there. Identify our faculty ‘Blue Bird Tweeters’ who are available to support learners who desire one-on-one coaching throughout the course.
- Meet faculty and scholars from various disciplines. It’s natural to talk to people who are in your discipline, but don’t forget to meet scholars who work at a health professions education school different from your own. Our community of practice includes educators working in nursing, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, podiatry, schools of pharmacy, and more. There is value in having a diverse, interdisciplinary professional network. Each scholar brings different viewpoints, challenges, and opportunities for us all to learn from.
- Attend the social events. Harvard Macy offers a number of social events during the course. In addition to helping you decompress after a long day of learning, they are amazing networking opportunities. While enjoying your appetizer and drink, join a table of people you don’t know, introduce yourself, and take part in the conversation. All are welcome!
- Talk to faculty. At Harvard Macy, we are all teachers and learners. If you have a question, talk to the speaker directly. Most will stay around during the break to take questions. If you want more time for research or career mentoring, book an informal faculty consultation during a lunch break or an informal faculty consultation session.
- Make an introduction. Already know some folks at Harvard Macy? Introduce them to someone you just met from your project, journal club, or microteaching group. This reinforces both your old and new professional relationships, and will be appreciated on both accounts.
- Follow up after Harvard Macy. Between now and May, cultivate your professional relationships by following up via email or social networking. We want to hear your good news! Please also consider submitting a post to our community blog, which fosters the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming healthcare delivery and education worldwide.
Professional networking offers opportunities for mentoring, collaboration, career advancement, and the development of new friendships. Please reach out to me at any time, and accept my heartiest welcome to the Harvard Macy family!
Kristina Dzara, Ph.D., MMSc