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5 Steps To Stop Networking & Start Connecting

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It’s common knowledge that networking is key to career success, but if you’ve never done it before, it can be intimidating.

Rather than bringing up visions of business cards being pitched about, consider this….Networking is all about building relationships. It’s about a back and forth, constant communication with a person with whom you have a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s something you can weave seamlessly into your day, without having to attend a single ‘event’.

Nurses are natural connectors.  We thrive on human interaction and relationships. So instead of ‘networking’…think ‘building relationships’ and soon you may find yourself making quality connections and feeling good about it!

Some of my closest friends and colleagues started as a casual connection either on social media or at a nursing conference/event!

Building an expansive professional network has many benefits to us personally and professionally!  Here are just five to consider:

  1. Explore the Diversity in Nursing

Those who network find out more from colleagues. They share ideas and build knowledge off of one another. Networking with others helps you look at business in different ways. People, especially those who network, want to help each other achieve success. There is a saying that “no one ever gets rich without helping others”. Networking is the first step to that.

  1. Better Career Opportunities

Once you get to know the person you are networking with, the door may open for opportunities like joint funding for nursing research, a new job, a chance to write an article, a new idea for a business or service. Employment opportunities aren’t going to blossom overnight, but if someone likes you, they may want you to work with them. They may refer you to their boss, or even offer you a job on the spot. Take the opportunity to explore your options.

  1. Build Confidence

The more you stretch yourself to network with others, the more confident you will become. More confident to start conversations, to share your project wins & lessons learned, and even more confident to reach out to key influencers in your specialty.

  1. Personal Opportunities

Many people network to advance their career or business opportunities.  But don’t neglect all those personal wins, too!  Maybe the new nurse in Peds you just met has an excellent day care that you would love for your child to attend. If the nurses you are networking with are local, why not pick a place to meet and focus on supporting one another in your nursing practice?

  1. Stay In Tune with Practice Trends & New Evidence

Networking in the nurse world can be fun when talking about the latest and greatest. Healthcare can be slow, compared to other businesses,  with implementing new technology. Talk with your peers about your EMR system, the social communities you belong to, new ideas for family education, or even a new digital tool for scheduling. You never know what you will gain when you put yourself out there.

Looking for some practical guidance?

My friend and colleague, Keith Carlson, career coach, has a great book called, Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century (The Nurse Keith Career Mastery Series). His practical and fun guide will help you build your professional networking skills, helping you build a robust nursing community of connections.

Keith has organized the information so you can quickly access the needed information and put it into action starting on day one. Pick up a copy today and get out there and make those relationships happen!

The most important thing to remember is that the point of networking is to meet people, to get to know them, and to BUILD a relationship. Once you know one another, there’s a better chance you’ll find ways to help each other in a mutually beneficial way!

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Dr. Renee Thompson works with healthcare organizations that want to overcome the leadership and clinical challenges their people face every day.

If you’d like to find out more about her programs, please visit her website www.reneethompsonspeaks.com.

Contact Renee today at renee@healthyworkforceinstitute.com to bring her to your organization to talk about ending the cycle of nurse bullying.

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5 thoughts on “5 Steps To Stop Networking & Start Connecting”

  1. Building relationships is so important in any profession. People scare away from it because it requires time and dedication, or sometimes they don’t want to put in the effort just because they don’t see any immediate perk coming out of that relationship. Here’s one tip I can give which makes networking so easy, “NO PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS”. Just be nice to people, be genuine and the “networking” part would just come naturally as a perk.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Yes!!! Just be nice to people and focus more on others than on a preconceived plan to promote yourself. I hate when I go to a meeting and someone shoves their business card in my face. You should always ask others for their cards and only give yours if asked! Any other networking tips?

      1. Woah! An expert asking me for tips. Now I’ll HAVE to think of another. Well this is pretty obvious but if you want a favor from someone, do something for them first. And don’t do it just for the sake of reciprocity. Take interest in other people’s work, you have no idea you might step on a gold mine. Like you said Renee, if not anything else, a dynamic companionship might come out of all these networking activities.

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