Networking Your Way to a Great Healthcare Career
Written by Jeska Blevins
Networking is simply communicating and connecting with people. There is nothing magical about networking, but there are many helpful techniques that can enhance your confidence and the results of your networking efforts. From focusing your conversation appropriately to attending the right events, learn how to network your way to a great career. Different Types of Networking Events to Consider
Finding the right types of events to attend can literally make or break your networking efforts. If you choose the right activities and events to get involved in, the people you will meet can become lifetime friends, allies and mentors throughout your career. For instance, if you are pursuing your Masters in Nutrition and Wellness online or at a university campus, you could check here to find out what networking opportunities you could attend through the program you are enrolled in. Check in particular for these types of opportunities:
· Workshops and programs.
· Lunch-and-learn presentations.
· Local and national professional organizations and associations.
· Research opportunities (volunteer or administrator).
· Other opportunities to volunteer in your field (including internships).
Must-Have Networking Skills
The first time you attend an event or meeting for networking purposes, it is natural to feel anxious or nervous. The best approach is to recognize the adrenaline rush (which often feels like anxiety or a case of “nerves”) as a burst of excitement to meet new people, share more about your passions and hear more about their passions as well. If you can redirect your nervous feelings as excited energy you will get much more out of the opportunity to network with new colleagues in your field. In addition, developing these networking skills will provide you with invaluable techniques to make the most of face-time with those who can help further your career.
· Learn to “work the room.” The biggest potential pitfall of networking events is to get “trapped” by a person who wants an audience while he or she speaks. You must learn to pace yourself so you can talk with as many people as possible. It can help here to timebox yourself by setting a timer on your watch or phone to go off in set time blocks or to simply keep an eye on the time and a running tally of the number of folks you have connected with.
· Dress for success. The general rule of thumb for networking attire is to dress just one notch more formally than what you expect everyone else to be wearing. This conveys respect for the event and attendees and ensures you avoid that obvious faux pas — dressing too casually.
· Carry plenty of cards (and even free promo materials). Just as you will be meeting many people during the event, so too will your colleagues have a lot to juggle in their minds about whom they met and what they spoke about. Make it easier by handing out business cards. If you have any promotional items for projects you are working on, it can be fun (and memory-jogging for the recipient) to hand those out too.
· Always keep your goal in mind. No matter what you find yourself conversing about during the event, always remember your ultimate purpose for attending — to find new ways to collaborate, connect and advance in your career.
· Listen more than you talk. If you have ever come away from a discussion where you did little to no talking — only to hear your conversation mate exclaim about what a wonderful “conversation” you just had — you already know the value of listening more than you talk. One of the best ways to remain memorable to your colleagues is to give them the majority of airtime.
With the right venues and top notch networking skills you can tap into your network to help you advance in your field throughout your health and wellness career.