While people can work alone some of the time, healthcare is not the only sector which benefits form collaboration and teamwork or finding “synergous” relationships which can often take us further and faster. But beyond our immediate colleagues how do we go about finding these potential useful collaboration or to find the right healthcare networking opportunities?
One way healthcare leaders and staff can maximize the value of their networking events and opportunities is to remember the acronym “LINK“. This stands for:
Learn: Carefully evaluate your personality, communication style, and preferences. Think about how prepared you are to build strong, long-term relationships with people, and adapt your networking to grow, develop and help achieve your aims.
Invest: Establish your approach and image to network successfully. Build relationships with your new connections by being generous with your time and knowledge.
Nurture: Slowly and carefully build the relationships you establish through more regular contact with people in your networking circle.
Keep: Maintain your momentum. This is mainly achieved through building personal confidence, focusing on the other person, and being persistent.
What are some of the things that we can do in practice to start networking more effectively in the healthcare world and to build up our contacts?
8 Healthcare Networking Sources
|1. Family and Friends|| Your family members and friends may already have useful healthcare contacts, so it makes sense to start here.
Be careful to work out what you have to offer in getting family and friends to introduce you to their network contacts-don’t forget good networkers are givers not takers.
|2. College Classmates and Work Colleagues||You may have lost touch, but some of your old classmates and work colleagues may be good contacts to reacquaint yourself with or may know healthcare people with whom you would like to connect.|
|3. Sit Next to Strangers at Lunch||Sitting alone or with the same general group is an easy option but at least once or twice a week (and more if you are comfortable to do so) ask politely if you can sit with a stranger in a work lunch room, or ask to join a table of people you hardly know-you’ll be surprised how easy this is, and how much you will learn as you talk to people.|
|4. Join Healthcare- Related Networking Groups||There are some groups specifically set up to facilitate network contacts and in healthcare in particular– some directly and some indirectly. These may be local or functional or professional expertise based so research what is available before you select one or two to try.|
|5. Build Contacts on LinkedIn and other Social Media Platforms||While face-to-face-interaction remains the best form of networking, you no longer need to rely on snail mail or phone calls to interact. With social networking, you can research and connect with other healthcare professionals more easily than ever. Although Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are great, the leader in this space is LinkedIn, where you can join groups and add connections very quickly.|
|6. Attend Presentations, Seminars or Conferences||There are now many free and low cost healthcare related events that can be attended not far from the office or home. These offer the chance to hear about something new and interesting, and to meet people before and after a speech. The site meetup.com is a great resource here.|
|7. Volunteer||There are many more local volunteering opportunities than there are people to fill them (in hospitals, clinics, care homes and other areas). This is a great chance to meet new people who share your interest in healthcare.|
|8. Participate in Your Community||As with volunteering, your local community will have a wide array of healthcare events, meetings, presentations etc. These often present great opportunities to network and meet with interesting healthcare involved people that you might not meet in any other way.|
Dr. Jon Warner
CEO-RX4 Group-The Business of Healthcare
Jon is the CEO of RX4 Group based in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jon@RX4Group.com RX4 is a nationally focused healthcare strategy business, which offers business support to healthcare provider organizations of all sizes and types to help them deal with change, innovate and profitably grow. The RX4 Group has four primary business practice areas including Marketing strategy, Operations Strategy, People Strategy and Financial strategy.
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