I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits.
You know that networking is vital for your career, but you may still be hesitant to attend networking events. Maybe you’ve had your share of expensive conferences that seem like a waste of time. Perhaps you’re wondering if LinkedIn or other social media are enough on their own. The truth is that face-to-face communications still carry more weight than email and text messages. Plus, events can be an effective way to meet a large number of potential contacts in a short period of time. Come home from your next networking event with something more valuable than a pile of business cards and memories of free cheese. Read these tips so you’ll know what to do before, during, and after your next networking event.
Preparing for your networking event
1. Be selective. Choose events that are likely to give you the highest return on your investment. Figure out your goals for the event and develop screening criteria. Maybe you want to stay updated on the latest specialty news, or you’re trying to land new contacts in the field.
2. Dress the part. Appearances count. If you’re not sure what to wear, check the website and promotional materials to get an idea of what’s appropriate.
3. Create digital business cards. When you’re meeting so many potential contacts at once, exchanging digital business cards is much quicker. Talk with a graphic designer if you think your brand logo needs an upgrade.
4. Rehearse your lines. Practice your elevator pitch and some relevant small talk. You’ll need to be able to introduce yourself in a confident and interesting way. It also helps to have a few subjects on hand that you can discuss to build rapport.
5. Volunteer your services. Helping out at events can be a great way to reduce your expenses and become engaged, even if you tend to feel shy. Contact the organizers to find out about volunteer opportunities.
Attending a networking event
1. Focus on giving. Effective networking is based on being generous. Potential contacts are more likely to welcome your interest if you’re thinking about what you can do for them.
2. Mix and mingle. Resist any urge to sit on the sidelines. Move around the room so you can meet as many colleagues as possible.
3. Make introductions. If you already know some of the attendees, think about who they’d like to meet. Providing an introduction strengthens your network and makes it likely to receive similar favors. You can also introduce people you just met to keep conversations flowing.
4. Refine your presentation. Networking events are about building relationships rather than selling. So, they can help you edit your elevator pitch with less at stake. You’ll also have a wide audience to work with.
Following up after a networking event
1. See it through. Any event could be productive if you take strategic action with the contacts you just made. That might mean sending them an article or inviting them out for coffee.
2. Act quickly. Reach out as soon as possible so your last conversation will be fresh in your mind. You’ll make a positive impression, and their interest may still be high.
3. Strengthen your online presence. Social media like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter works well in combination with face-to-face communications. Invite the contacts you made to connect with you on social media.
4. Evaluate your efforts. Developing your networking skills is an ongoing project. After each event, reflect on what went well and what you want to do differently next time.
Going to networking events may require a substantial amount of time and money, but the opportunities are worth it. Connecting with others can help you increase your job satisfaction, advance your career, and grow your business.
Is your next networking event a career job fair? Check out our blog here on how to make the most of your next career job fair and implement the networking tips you learned here today.
I am Dr. Hassan, Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own independent practice so that they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Please go to businessofrehab.com/guide to pick up the free guide to help you determine the best business entity for your new practice.
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