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NE Regional Meeting Update

Posted By Laura Polson, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Untitled Document

The first annual AHVAP Northeast Regional Meeting was held at the Philadelphia, PA Embassy Suites hotel on March 31st, 2107. Wow! What a great networking opportunity we had with some of the profession’s most innovative thought leaders.

I, Laura Polson, along with our AHVAP President, Sue Knapp, and AHVAP President-Elect Robin Lane, was so excited to help host my first event as the new Northeast Regional Director. Thanks so very much to all of our voluntary attendees, speakers, leaders and to our management organizers who all came together to make this such a memorable event.

Our Keynote speaker Winifred S. Hayes, PhD, RN, ANP, President of Hayes, Inc. started out the day with some valuable lessons regarding “Value Analysis and Evidence: The Keys to Bundled Payment Success”. The discussion focused on “Does supply chain and value analysis have a role in defining the products and procedures standardized within a bundle?” We also explored the current role of value analysis in bundled payment models, discussed the utilization of evidence in product acquisition, standardization, and utilization management and its contribution to cost containment and improved clinical outcomes.
Wini did an incredible job illustrating the utilization of evidence in combination with benchmark data, guidelines, and consensus data. She also sent additional statistics on behavioral health after the meeting which will be posted with her slides, as well as the other speakers, on the AHVAP website towards the end of the month.

Next Cindy Wiersma from Holland Hospital spoke to us about “Communication in Value Analysis: Who, What, Where and When to Cry” She was exciting and insightful with great examples of how they have made changes in their own program. We had a lot of interactive questions and fun with this topic.

After an amazing luncheon we started back with Elke Nelson-Nichols, the Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives for ECRI and Timothy Brown, who really helped us drill down into “Tracking Progress: Methods, Tools, and Ideas” of all the various sources of financial and clinical data as well as benchmarks that are currently available.

We did an interactive planning session on “How to Form High Performance Value Analysis Teams” facilitated by Sue Knapp, Robin Lane and Laura Polson where we broke up into teams and will be sharing lessons learned along with the slide sessions which addressed these topics:

  • Take a Step Back and Look Objectively at Your Team
  • Learn to Quickly Evaluate Your Teams
  • Set Goals & Objectives for Your High Performance Teams
  • Evaluate New Products and Technologies
  • Solve Problems
  • Recalls
  • Product Failures
  • Infection Issues
  • Improve Quality
  • Reduce Costs
  • Classic Functional Analysis
  • Eliminate Waste
  • Utilization Management
  • Review and Implement New Contract Offerings
  • Standardization

Bob Yokl then helped us with a panel discussion at the end of the day on “The Identity Crisis in Value Analysis: Are we Business or Clinical?” Colleen Cusik from John Hopkins and Sue Miller from Thomas Jefferson answered questions along with Laura Polson from Baptist Health. Such a perfect sized group to give everyone a chance to share and learn. We went away energized and excited about new tools and ideas to help our value analysis profession.  IamValueAnalysis#


“I just wanted to tell you that I thought the NE AHVAP Regional Meeting was a great success!!   Outstanding work putting this program together.  It was informative and engaging for all!”
Robert W. Yokl  Sr. Vice President/COO   SVAH Solutions

“Thank you so much for your note and for the opportunity to speak at last Friday’s event—which was awesome, by the way. We were happy to provide the projector and will continue to support your initiatives however we can.

It’s so wonderful to hear that those in the audience found the content of our talk valuable. We are very excited about what’s to come from ECRI, specifically with regards to supporting value analysis initiatives. I look forward to submitting a proposal to present at the annual meeting; though we have a couple topics in mind already, I welcome any suggestions you may have for topics of particular interest to our AHVAP community.

Have a fabulous week and I will see you in Frisco later this year!”
Elke S. Nelson-Nichols, PhD Assistant Director, Strategic Initiatives Health Technology







Hayes, Inc.



UC Health



WellSpan Health



ECRI Institute



Western Connecticut Health Network



LRG Healthcare



Johns Hopkins Health System



Yale New Haven Health






Windber Medical Center



Bayhealth Medical Center



The Johns Hopkins Health System



Penn Highlands Healthcare



Vizient, Inc.



Hayes, Inc.



Kennedy Health Systems



University of Rochester - Highland






Thomas Jefferson U. Hospital, Inc.



Bayhealth Medical Center

Mitten Long


Mount Nittany Health



ECRI Institute



Capital Health



Hayes, Inc.



Baptist Health Floyd



Christiana Care Health Services






ECRI Institute



Procured Health



Health Care



Christiana Care Health Services



Westchester Medical Center



Boston Children’s Hospital



Lehigh Valley Health Network



Holland Hospital



SVAH Solutions

Tags:  laura polson  northeast regional meeting  spring 2017 

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Value Analysis Tools of the Trade: Capitalizing on Your Toolbox

Posted By Wanda Lane, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Tools of the Trade

Value analysis professionals have access to multiple tools targeted at efficiency and simplicity, but having more tools in the box isn’t necessarily better. Understanding each tool’s functionality and fit for your team takes time and a bit of discernment. The choices you make should be specific to your team structure and processes. A discussion of the pros and cons of some of the most popular tools would be helpful.

Read Wanda Lane's article, "Value Analysis TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Capitalizing on Your Toolbox," from OR Management here.

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Spring 2017 President's Message

Posted By Susan D. Knapp, RN, MS, CVAHP, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Untitled Document
sue knapp

Happy spring!  I started in this position four months ago and already so much has happened.  I hardly know where to begin.  As you may be aware there was a survey sent to members in regards to adding an affiliate member level to AHVAP.  We asked for your input and we got it – thank you!  Based on that survey we are establishing a workgroup to review the criteria for membership as well as all the feedback we received to see what direction AHVAP should take moving forward. If you are interested in joining this workgroup please let me know at

I attended the Northeast Regional Meeting in Philadelphia on March 31st.  Our Northeast Regional Director, Laura Polson, did a fabulous job with support from Robin Lane, President-Elect.  A third of the northeast members attended.  It was so well received by those in attendance that we can’t wait to do it again.  Philly is the hometown of ECRI, Wini Hayes and Bob Yokl so they each attended the meeting and presented.  Value Analysis professionals, new and old, each learned something new that day.  And many new friends were made.  The success of this meeting has inspired us to consider having the regions meet on the Wednesday of the annual conference.  Members can network with other members and professionals from their region, participate in interactive activities and panels, and just have fun sharing information.  Look for additional details as the annual conference materials start coming out this summer.

Twice a year hospitals and organizations such as AHVAP participate in a reverse expo at the IDN Summit.  This reverse expo allows us to connect with facilities that may not have AHVAP members as well as suppliers that might be interested in learning about AHVAP and Value Analysis or participate in our annual conference supplier showcase.  Robin Lane, Laura Polson, Melanie Miller and I just returned from Orlando. We presented “Using Data in Value Analysis” at a Lunch and Learn session with over 40 supply chain, sourcing and value analysis professionals.  It was the best attended lunch and learn session the Summit has ever had.  Later in the day we presented an Idea Exchange with over 20 professionals on “Integrating Value Analysis and Sourcing.” Both were so well received that the organizers of the IDN Summit plan to add more Value Analysis sessions in the future.  Well done team!  The next day all four of us managed a booth at the reverse expo as well as visited all the hospital booths present to encourage their Value Analysis staff to join AHVAP.  It was an exhausting but exhilarating day.  We all took away some bit of knowledge, made new friends and got the AHVAP name out there. 

The AHVAP mentoring program is starting to take off.  Two protégés have been matched with preceptors this past month.  This is a great program for a member who is new to Value Analysis or starting a new program or even someone who has been in the Value Analysis for awhile and just needs some short-term mentoring through a project.  There are wonderful, knowledgeable preceptors available to you. 

The annual conference will be held on October 18-20, so please save the dates.  The Conference Committee promises to have some exciting presentations and it is a great way to meet other like-minded professionals and forge some lasting friendships. I can tell you from experience that it is nice to have friends in VA that you can bounce thoughts and problems off of.  They are always willing to share.  

All our committees are working hard on initiatives.  Membership will be managing the Maturation Survey that is sent to the membership every two years.  Educational Development Committee will be surveying you soon on what your educational needs are.  The Certification Committee and Marketing Committee are hard at work on some projects as well.  All to the benefit of you, our members.  We are always looking for help on these committees.  Everyone has something to offer.  Come on and join one of our committees.

Lastly I want you to prepare for Healthcare Value Analysis Week, July 16-22.  #IamValueAnalysis.. That’s right!  We have a week designated to us, the Healthcare Value Analysis Professional.  Make sure your facility recognizes you.  Marketing Committee is working hard to develop ideas to help you promote yourself and your position in Value Analysis. Be on the lookout for more details coming up.  And please download the AHVAP app from DoubleDutch.  We are planning to use this more and more to send out information as well as keep you up-to-date on events. We want AHVAP to be at your fingertips.  Have a great day.  I am here if you need me so please don’t hesitate to contact me via or

Tags:  presidents message  spring 2017  sue knapp 

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2016 AHVAP Annual Conference and Supplier Showcase - Value Analysis: A Team Effort

Posted By Susan D. Knapp, RN, MS, CVAHP, Monday, February 20, 2017
ahvap conference recap 2016

It was another successful conference this year.  What a time we had!! The weather was perfect.  We had over 40 suppliers and 109 registrants in attendance. We had no major mishaps even though Terry Foster gave us a run for our money. Terry was the closing speaker on Thursday and his flight was delayed. We were all biting our nails waiting for him to arrive, trying to fill in time. But as usual he was worth the wait.  He is always entertaining and just lights up the room.

Several presenters are pioneers in health care value analysis:  Wanda Lane, Barbara Strain, Robert Yokl and Wini Hayes. They always provide insightful information that any value analysis professional can use in their daily work. They all offer unique perspectives on the Value Analysis (VA) process that is helpful to the novice as well as the advanced VA practitioner.  They are always a joy to listen to.

There was new talent presenting this year as well. Jennifer Maxwell is an Infection Preventionist who gave a very amusing and interesting look at the role of infection prevention and value analysis. Elizabeth Morgan’s presentation on VA process was well received and Elizabeth Meyers expanded on the psychology of decision-making.

David Bowman did a marvelous job on team lead development. He has vast experience as an actor and presenter and he did not fail to deliver, with added humor, his theories and reflections on building a team and leading it. Take it from me who was sitting in the seat right in front of him! He called on me a lot.

Dr. Julie Schulz provided insight and some data regarding physician preferences and how to engage as healthcare moves to value-based care. AHVAP’s Central Regional Director, Jane Torzewski, presented with a supplier partner about supplier relationships and supply chain management.

The receptions were well received. We met a lot of new members and new conference attendees, as well as renewed friendships from past conferences. Everyone looked to be having a great time mixing and mingling. 

The supplier showcase was the best yet. Registrants engaged the suppliers and the exhibit hall was abuzz with activity. The Bingo card game was fun, and several people won free registration for the 2017 conference in a drawing of the completed Bingo cards. We certainly thank the suppliers and you, the registrants, for participating in the showcase. We couldn’t have a conference without the support. 

The AHVAP mobile app worked well, and we hope to showcase that more throughout the coming year.  There were a couple of submissions for the Wall of Experience. Wanda Lane won 1st place for her submission and Donna Mitten from Mount Nittany Health won as Newcomer Wall of Experience. Congratulations to both for sharing your ‘good’, ‘bad’, or ‘ugly’ VA story.  I challenge you all to submit to the Wall of Experience next year.  It is a simple format and will not take a lot of time at all. You might win a one year membership!  And certainly the best part is the sharing and learning from others’ experiences.

As we move the conference a bit more east, the Frisco, Texas Embassy Suites will be hosting our Annual Conference and Supplier Showcase from October 17 - 20, 2017. The Embassy Suites received high marks when we were there in 2015 and we expect it to be just as wonderful in 2017. We are planning a fabulous conference with dynamic speakers for next year. Can’t wait to see you there!

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Gloria Graham Interviewed by Healthcare Links

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Untitled Document

 The Link

Healthcare Links took the opportunity to interview Gloria Graham, DNP, RN, CVAHP, the Past President of AHVAP, to talk about the importance of Value Analysis in healthcare.

Read the whole "Spotlight on AHVAP" article here

Tags:  gloria graham  healthcare links  newsletter  spotlight on ahvap  the link 

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Welcome New AHVAP President, Sue Knapp!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Untitled Document
sue knapp

From the Editor
Happy New Year, fellow AHVAPers!  While we’re sad to bid Gloria Graham adieu as she leaves her post as President, we know she will continue to be a strong supporter of AHVAP, staying involved and at the forefront in many ways, and specifically serving this next term in the Past President role.  Now we have the excitement of welcoming someone new into the fold.  Sue Knapp, Value Analysis Nurse/Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at Highland Hospital in Rochester, NY is stepping up as our new President.  We welcome her with open arms, and thought it might be fun to do a Q&A of our Past President and our new President.

Looking back on this past year, with everything that has evolved within AHVAP, what are your highlights, and what are some things still left on the table you’d have liked to accomplish?

Gloria Graham: As you look toward your term as President, what are some goals you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year?

Sue Knapp: My first goal is to maintain the legacy of all those who came before me such as the certification program and regional meeting format.  It is important to me to be sure a good foundation is laid for future administrations and a lot of that was done this year with the creation of written policies and procedures.  I also want to work on establishing a short term and long term strategic plan to help set the future direction for the organization and membership.  I look to our membership to help me establish additional goals that might include the listserve and educational opportunities.  One year is  not a lot of time and I want to be careful that whatever we work towards we do so with thoughtfulness and thoroughness.

Gloria Graham: What changes do you anticipate seeing in the value analysis field in years to come?

Sue Knapp:  I am certainly seeing more people embrace Value Analysis by expanding their programs or initiating new programs throughout healthcare.  Some facilities many have one person in the VA role and others have entire departments.  I think we will continue to see growth in this profession.   It is a much more recognizable field within healthcare and I am excited to see that more physicians are getting actively involved in Value Analysis as well. 

Gloria Graham: If you could affect change in one area of value analysis, what would that be?

Sue Knapp:  Physician involvement.  There needs to be more physician involvement in Value Analysis. We need more a multi-disciplinary approach to VA.  I think it adds perspectives to projects and problem solving we can’t possibly all think of.  As physicians become more involved in Value Analysis as a profession, then they should become members of AHVAP. This would create an unprecedented collaboration of disciplines within a profession. 

Gloria Graham: What is one tip you could share with our members that has been most valuable to you in your profession?

Sue Knapp:  Network, network, network.  Nothing is more valuable than knowing and sharing with others.  I have contacts across the country that I have met through AHVAP conferences and other events.  These people are often my lifeline when I come up against a difficult project or an issue.  Someone out there has most likely had a similar project or issue and they are always willing to share their experience with me.  Sometimes I just need a little encouragement on a challenging day or just want to bounce an idea off someone.  Value Analysis professionals are like family.  They are there when you need them. 

Tags:  2017  ahvap president  new president  sue knapp 

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Seeking Bellwether Class of 2017 Nominations

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 26, 2016

Bellwether League Inc. invites nominations of innovative, pioneering and visionary professionals for the Bellwether Class of 2017 to be inducted into its Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership in October at the 10th Annual Bellwether Induction Dinner Event in Chicago.

Nominees represent five distinct categories: Education & Media, Supply Chain Management, Group Purchasing, Supplier and Consultant.

  • Education & Media: College/university professors and researchers, publishers, editors and writers.
  • Supply Chain Management: Professionals working at hospitals and other non-acute care facilities, hospital systems and integrated delivery organizations.
  • Group Purchasing: Professionals from among the national, regional, state, metropolitan and local group purchasing programs.
  • Supplier: Professionals employed by manufacturers and distributors of products and services purchased by healthcare providers.
  • Consultant: Professionals that advise, instruct and motivate healthcare supply chain managers as the primary focus of their practice.

Bellwether League’s Board of Directors selects deceased, retired and currently active professionals with a minimum of 25 years of exemplary service and leadership performance in supply chain operations that meet its criteria to be publicly recognized. Honorees demonstrate their qualifications through advancing the profession, work experience, work performance and active participation in professional organizations.

DEADLINE for nominations: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Visit and click on “Nominations” for the Bellwether nomination form.

For more information, contact Rick Dana Barlow, Executive Director, at (847) 466-7425 or

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Please Gift a Donation for Our AHVAP Member

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 9, 2016

During our conference in Scottsdale we learned that one of our members attending experienced a devastating loss from the storms. As a result, Winnie Hayes who is the Founder and CEO of Hayes, Inc. has established a GoFundMe page. Thank you to Winnie for her time and efforts in sitting up this fund.

Donate GoFundMe button

hurrican ruins AHVAP Member's home

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Exclusive Download: Value Analysis' Contribution to Transforming Healthcare

Posted By Peg Tinker, Tuesday, October 18, 2016

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the healthcare industry has begun a transition from volume to value.  While this transition is not necessarily as sweeping and rapid as once proposed, changes are occurring as most healthcare organizations recognize the need to transform.  To understand contributions that value analysis healthcare professionals can make, it’s important to comprehend concepts involved in moving from a “curve 1” to a “curve 2” environment and what that means for care delivery.
Curve 1 is largely referred to as the fee-for-service environment.  In this traditional model, care providers are paid for the volume and type of services they provide, not the outcomes. The industry is recognizing that this reimbursement method does not motivate healthcare organizations to work collaboratively to improve care and reduce redundancy and costs.  In a curve 2 environment the focus is on value, with organizations rewarded for coordinating care, reducing costs and improving outcomes.  Thus, the move from curve 1 to curve 2 is also referred to as moving from volume to value.

This transition is largely fueled by  the  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to curb healthcare costs and keep the Medicare system viable.  For example, Health and Human Services set a goal that 50 percent of Medicare fee for service (FFS) payments will be linked to quality or value by 2018.  Metrics for determining value are transitioning to outcomes, patient experience and cost efficiencies.  To help drive this transformation, CMS is transitioning from voluntary to mandatory bundled payment programs for such conditions as comprehensive care for joint replacement and cardiac care.

On the commercial front, the Healthcare Transformation Task Force , an organization comprised of 20 health systems and commercial payers, has committed to move 75 percent of their business to value based arrangements by 2020.  This task force pushes the case for transformation and is highly collaborative in sharing strategies and tactics to improve health and healthcare in a value-based environment.
From a healthcare consumer view, large employers have begun to press payers and health systems to reduce the cost of care for their employees by negotiating more aggressive discounts and health programs designed to improve wellness or more effectively manage care.  Consumers are increasingly savvier about healthcare, asking for increased access, convenience and transparency in their care.  As a result, new apps and Tele-Health capabilities are emerging to address consumer demands, and such organizations as Leapfrog and CMS provide web sites where provider quality is transparently reported .

As your organization transitions you may hear these terms related to the type of reimbursement received.

  • Fee for service - Uses a retrospective payment where each item of service provided is reimbursed based on certain billing codes that are submitted as a claim to the health insurance company.  The focus in a FFS environment is on volume.
  • Shared savings and shared risk – Typically includes a modified FFS schedule with deeper discounts and the opportunity for the health system to receive a bonus (shared savings) based upon quality/cost.  Likewise, the health system could contract for shared risk where they are penalized if they do not meet quality/cost targets.
  • Capitation or global payment system – Pays a predetermined per member rate to healthcare organizations, regardless of the delivered services.
  • Bundled payments – Provide  reimbursement for a discrete course of treatment rather than paying for each clinical interaction and procedure.  Typical reimbursement can be for a course of treatment for the procedure and the following 90 days of recovery.

In working towards a value-based environment and moving to risk based models of payment, one thing is clear: There is significant variation across the country. At one end of the scale, some organizations are just beginning to focus on value since they’ve been highly successful in a FFS market.  Those organizations know that moving too quickly can reduce FFS revenues when there may not yet be a need. 

On the other side of the scale are organizations that are in areas of the country with highly concentrated managed care markets.  They began this shift years ago, perhaps as participants in Medicare’s Pioneer ACO Model, and have a variety of risk based contracts and curve 2 capabilities within their organization.  They’ve recognized the need to collaborate and partner with others to ensure full network capabilities to care for the patients in their market.  They also recognize that this transition is creating significant opportunities to advance clinical capabilities in the ambulatory care setting. 

With this wide variation, it’s important for providers to understand their organization’s transformation strategies.  Most providers struggle in their transformation to value and like with any other significant change, leadership direction and engagement is important.  In a recent white paper, Peter Banko, president and CEO of St. Vincent Health System in Arkansas, put the ambiguity and struggle of the transition very aptly,

It’s like having your feet in two boats at the same time. One is a fee-for-service and the second is in the new infrastructure. The challenge is to make sure the legacy model doesn’t drag you down as you shift to the new paradigm. The pacing and timing of the work needed to be done is what is always on my mind.

As the transition occurs organizations must increase their ability to be flexible, identify alternative revenue streams (e.g. employer contracts), and most importantly focus on improved quality, outcomes and cost efficiencies.  Quality, outcomes and cost efficiency are no-brainer strategies for transformation because they are effective in FFS and value based environments.  Following are strategies for value analysis healthcare professionals that will ensure you are taking an active part in ensuring your organization’s successful transition:

  • Work with your leadership to help educate physicians on the need for evidence-based practice and reduced variation.

Rationale:  Adherence to evidence-based care avoids over, under or misuse of treatment regimens, prevents conflicting care plans and ensures a uniform level of quality, cost-effectiveness and patient experience across practice settings. When integrated into point-of-care reference tools, evidence-based care guidelines enable care team members to act as physician extenders.  Standardizing supplies and how supplies are used is an important part of this work.

  • Take an active role in helping your organization integrate cost with clinical data.

Rationale:  Supply chain remains a significant opportunity for cost efficiency in most organizations.  By now you may think your organization has aggressively addressed contracting and standard pricing system wide, but have you explored variation among physicians?  Value analysis professionals have had utilization on their radar for years, but with the move to a value-based environment, organizations are getting much more traction in integrative reports that combine financial, clinical and even claims data to provide greater insights into variation.

  • Partner with quality and performance improvement for change. 

Rationale:  Working together to streamline process, improve quality and reduce costs can be highly impactful.  Bundled payments are an example where this is especially true.  Successful organizations are highly collaborative and recognize that siloes can no longer exist along the patient’s care progression if they are to be successful. 

  • Continue to educate yourself about transformations occurring in healthcare.

Rationale:  As you learn more about what your own organization is doing you will be able to provide important contributions to improve efficiency and quality.

No matter where your organization is on the journey to value, active involvement, collaboration to reduce siloes and innovation are important skills you can bring to the table to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Peg Tinker is an Associate Director in Navigant Consulting’s Strategic Solutions practice.  She works with a variety of healthcare organizations and Clinically Integrated Networks to advance their capabilities in a curve 2 environment.  Peg is also the Western Regional Director on the Association for Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals Board of Directors.

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Networking Tips

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When asked, members tell us they joined AVAHP to network with value analysis peers and tap into their experience.  The challenge, though, is how to connect with people you may only see once a year.  Sue Knapp, President Elect in collaboration with Nila Getter, an AHVAP Past President, compiled a list of tips to help members network.

Start with a known contact.  If you are shy, approach someone you know to increase your confidence. Typically, our Regional Directors reach out to new members in their region within the first two and three months.  If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact your Regional Director for support and suggestions.

When you meet someone, say the person’s name and then use their name in a conversation.  This establishes a personal link, makes people comfortable, and helps you remember their name in the future.

Be sure to make eye contact and smile; serious expressions are forbidding and failure to make eye contact can be interpreted as dismissive. 
Introduce yourself to speakers, ask questions of them.  Share a genuine compliment. This is encouragement for the speaker and shows you were interested in what they had to say.

Be yourself.  Be authentic.  It’s OK if you are little awkward, do not apologize for it.

Do not let inexperience keep you from joining in.  You bring a unique perspective and view situations with “fresh eyes”.  Share with your peers!

Ask a question: pose a question to the group after getting the gist of the conversation. Share your passions.  Sharing information with new contacts builds creditability.

Be a good listener.

Always have business cards handy and invite others to contact you.

Make sure you follow up if you promise something.  Follow up with an update, with a question or a common interest. Keep in touch. Do not take a lack of response personally.

Take risks.  You never know unless you try. 

All in all, these are some simple but strong suggestions to help one better engage with their peers and get the most out of the in-person opportunities that are not always available.

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