This information appeared in the Wall Street Journal in October of this year. It is certainly worth repeating. The points made are vital to building effective business networks and are usually overlooked in physician education concerning the business aspects of medicine. Effective networking can help build your practice through referrals from other physicians and patients.
Networking works. Living, breathing connections are more effective than sending out resumes or flyers. Always be yourself, be sincere, and be honest about what you have to offer to the other person.
1. Have a solid introduction – first impressions are important from the handshake to how you say your name and title. Make it personal even if you are networking through email. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
2. Don’t confuse people with your pitch - it should take only 30 – 45 seconds for your pitch. Start with what you want to do and then fill in the back-story as needed
3. Don’t tell a sob story - no matter what, always stay positive. Project a ‘can do’attitude with energy.
4. Spend more time listening than talking – figure out who the other person is before you tell him about yourself. Ask questions. You always learn more by listening!
5. Avoid being socially inept – give people their space, look them in the eye, and don’t talk about your latest medical problem.
6. Don’t overstay your welcome – figure when your time is up, release them, and make a graceful exit.
7. Hands out your business card, not your resume – when you offer yours, ask for theirs. Never offer an unsolicited resume.
8. Follow-up – within 24 hours after you first meet, make a contact, even if only to say you enjoyed meeting them.
You will be surprised how effective networking can be to learn about new job opportunities, sharing solutions concerning the business aspects of medicine, making referrals, and most importantly building both personal and business relationships.