Here’s something you’ve likely not considered: Networking is the most important thing you can be doing now, and for the rest of your life.
The meaning of networking
Networking is “meeting people.” More importantly, it means meeting successful people. Networking happens when you meet someone and it is a memorable meeting during which you impress each other with favorable qualities. The person you meet learns who you are, what you do, and where you practice. Ideally, the person with whom you network forms a friendly and positive opinion about you.
If you think you don’t know how to network, learn how. If you are shy and afraid of networking or think you are no good at networking, get over it. Watch online practice-building seminars and learn how to network. You will be using your networking skills for the rest of your life.
When to start networking
The first people to network with are your fellow classmates. Get to know all of them, not just the group you usually hang out with. Why? Because when you open your practice, you will want every one of your classmates referring patients to you when one of their patients moves to your town.
If the majority of your classmates don’t know you, you’ve eliminated a lot of referrals.
The next group of people you should network with is the students in the classes above you. Why should you work to meet and impress them? For the same reason you are networking with your classmates.
And, if you want to get your adjusting requirements completed for clinic, you will want to know all your upper classmates so they will refer their patients to you when they graduate.
Asking the upper classmates to refer their patients to you is similar to what you’ll be doing after you graduate: Asking your patients to refer, asking people you meet in your community to refer, and asking the professionals you meet to refer.
If any of the upper classmates you ask for referrals say they have already referred their patients to someone else, ask them to refer you to another upper classmate who may be able to help you. After you graduate, you will be meeting people who may not become your patients, but they may know other people who might. So don’t hesitate to ask them to refer those people to you.
The next group of people to network with is the students in the classes below you. Do so to get their referrals after they graduate.Â Another group of people you should network with is your college professors. (Yes, they too can refer to you.) If they know you and like the work you did going through school, then they’ll be inclined to refer to you.
The people who live in your college town are also people to network with.Â The more people you know in your community, the more people will come to you in the college clinic and these are more people who can refer to you.
As you can see, networking is a numbers game. The more people you know and who know you in return are the ones who will build your college clinic practice. So get out into your community and network.
Network with the people you regularly encounter: your dry cleaner, the people who take care of your car, the staff of the restaurants where you eat, and the people who work where you shop.
If you have a part-time job, it might be an opportunity to meet a lot of people. Make sure everyone possible knows who you are and what you do, and give them reasons to feel good about you.Â Go to your college’s seminars, conventions, and alumni association meetings. Make networking contacts with other attendees. Who knows, you might become an associate of one of the people you’ve networked with.
The tools of networking
A ready smile, a firm handshake, a well-dressed appearance, personal confidence, and a total belief in chiropractic are all invaluable tools of networking.Â Just meeting people isn’t enough. You have to make a positive connection with them. Motivate the people you network with to know you, like you, and trust you.
Lastly, build genuine relationships. Be the kind of person who brings value into the lives of others. If you can network your way to success while in college, you’ll be able to do the same when you get into practice.