HITMC Chat Marketing Career

Assessing the Skills We Have & Acquiring the Skills We Need

For the first #HITMC chat of 2019 I thought it would be interesting to discuss the skills Marketing, PR and Communication professionals need to be successful in today’s healthcare environment. Join the discussion Tuesday January 15th at noon ET (for your local time, click here).

Right after the New Year, I try to set aside time to do a personal skills audit. I do this because I am paranoid about becoming a Marketing dinosaur – stuck with archaic skills that won’t help me thrive in the current environment. A personal career goal of mine is to always learn new things, acquire new skills.

I use the word “audit” but it’s really not very sophisticated. What I do is sit down in front of my computer and create four lists of skills and knowledge. Here’s how it works.

On the first list, I put all the work-related skills and knowledge that I have used in the last two years (ex: live-tweeting, how to use PowerPoint). I limit myself to two years because if I haven’t used a particular skill in that long, it likely means I’m out-of-date. I then give myself a level for each – Novice, Intermediate or Expert.

To compile the second list, I think about all the projects that I’m likely to work on in the next 12-24 months. I then write down the top 2-3 skills and their corresponding level that I believe I will need to effectively deliver my portion of that project. For example, if I was going to be working on a website redesign, then I might list the following:

  • Latest trends in mobile site usability – Novice
  • Latest SEO tactics – Intermediate
  • GDPR requirements – Expert

Or if I was going to be leading a new customer-retention initiative at a big company I might list:

  • Understanding of current customer service processes – Intermediate
  • Customer profitability by segment – Expert
  • Run effective meetings – Expert

For the third list, I think about my long-term career goals. I then list the skills and levels that I believe I need in the next 12-24 months in order to make meaningful progress towards those goals. This is the hardest list to make because I find myself reflecting on my goals, but it’s definitely time well spent.

Once I have all three lists, I compare them. First, I eliminate any item on List 2 and 3 that is in List 1. This is the “feel good” exercise because it means I already have the skills I need to achieve something in the coming year. Then I look for common skills on lists 2 and 3. These are the skills that I move to the top of my priority list because they will not only help me with current projects but will also help me achieve my long-term goals. Whatever is left on List 2, I give a secondary priority and what’s left on List 3 gets lumped into the last bucket of priorities.

Now that I have my prioritized list of skills, I set about trying to plan to acquire them.

Armed with my list I look at my calendar and I try to section off a little time each week to work on my skills gaps. Usually I schedule an hour every Wednesday morning. That hour is just for me. I use that time to read, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, etc. I’m not always able to take advantage of that hour, but during the quiet times between conferences I’m usually pretty good. Having that hour in the middle of the week also helps me stay motivated on Hump Day (Wednesday).

Lastly I look at the conference calendar and I try to see if there are any events that I’m already attending where there might be a session or speaker that is teaching the skills that are on my priority lists. If there are, I make sure to add those to my calendar. These become my must-attend sessions. I also look for conferences that are specific to the topic I’m interested in and if they are nearby (and affordable) I try to attend.

I look for conferences because I prefer in-person learning vs online self-guided learning. I just find I learn faster and I retain more when I’m in a room with other people. I have a compulsion to want to immediately talk to someone about what I’ve just heard…and to get the other person’s perspective so that I can reinforce my own learning. I also love reading so book-learning is my alternate. I haven’t quite got the hang of online learning.

I’d love to know what learning method others in the HITMC community have found effective to learn new skills. Do you have experience with online self-guided training? Or are you like me and prefer in-person learning?

I’m also curious to know what skills the HITMC community feels will be needed in 2019. Are there particular aspects of Marketing, PR and Communications that you believe will be important this year? Or are there skills that we should learn that will help set us up for success in 2020?

Join me on Tuesday January 15th as we discuss the following topics on the monthly #HITMC tweetchat:

  • T1 What skills should healthcare Marketing, PR & Communications professionals have in 2019?
  • T2 Are there things healthcare Marketing, PR & Communications professionals need to “unlearn” in 2019?
  • T3 What is the most overlooked leadership or social social skill that is needed to be effective in healthcare?
  • T4 Is there a learning mechanism that works best for you? Videos? Online training? Master classes? Classroom?
  • T5 Name the books or conferences that you would strongly recommend for learning new skills.
  • Bonus What is your hidden skill? (doesn’t have to be work related)

About the author


Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

1 Comment

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  • I really like your approach, Colin, to assessing your skills – the needed skills in marketing/PR/communication. As you know – and most of your readers, I would guess, the skills inventory for all of us has changed so much in just the last year. I try to look at what I want to learn to better serve my clients, but also, in general, for me as a communication and PR practitioner. I am going to try your approach with the different lists. Thanks for sharing this idea!




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