Networking is touted as a must-do for dentists, but what makes networking so important and how can it actually help improve your dental career? Here's some of what you should know.
Networking Creates Improved Career Satisfaction
Building relationships and networking with other dental professionals (both locally and regionally) can enrich your career and give you a sense of deeper satisfaction. You can see what other dentists are bringing to the table professionally and get feedback on how you can improve your own offerings.
Attend local and national dental conferences, like the American Dental Congress or the ADA Conference. Collect business cards of dental professionals you network with and commit to following up with them via email, text, or phone call.
Networking Establishes Reliable Relationships with Shared Resources
When you network with your peers, you establish a special, reliable relationship that allows you to share resources. Is your supply shipment delayed? Borrow gloves, composite material, and other necessities from a nearby dental practice to get you through until your shipment arrives. Found an excellent article on the recent trends in braces? Forward it to the orthodontist you met at the last event you attended.
Make sure you network with a wide variety of dental professionals. Don't stick to just your specialty; make an effort to meet professionals in both related and unrelated areas.
Networking Allows You to Be Mentored
Just starting out as a new dental associate can be an intimidating experience. Networking allows you to develop connections with dental professionals who have gone before you and have sage advice to give about key do's and don'ts in the industry. Mentoring offers you access to practical tips, support, and encouragement throughout your dental career and empowers you to make important decisions about your dental practice.
If you're new to dentistry, actively look for a mentor (or multiple mentors) who has the credentials, skills, and willingness to mentor you throughout your career. Develop meaningful relationships with new professionals you meet, or ask professionals you already know to support you, like your childhood dentist.
Networking Allows You to Mentor Others
Networking not only gives you the opportunity to be mentored, but you'll also be able to mentor others as you grow your dental career. Mentoring other dental professionals can help you learn critical leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. It can also help reinforce or expand your knowledge on a particular subject you're proficient in. As a mentor, you'll be more confident and motivated.
After gaining traction in the industry, be on the lookout for young minds to mentor. Offer to mentor dental professionals whose goals most closely align with your own and those you've set for your dental practice.
Networking Keeps You Abreast of Industry Trends
It's difficult to stay on top of the latest trends in the dental industry if you're not actively networking with other professionals. Take a look at what treatments your peers are offering in their practices. If many of them are using CAD/CAM imaging technology and you're not, this can be a sign that you should also move in that direction. Don't overlook administrative trends either. For example, if dental professionals you've networked with are implementing online scheduling or patient portals, it can indicate a trend you may be missing out on.
Network with dentists outside of your area, and even internationally if you can. It's important to not only look for local trends in your area, but also for cutting-edge technology that is being implemented in other regions of the United States and globally.
Networking Helps Grow Your Professional Reputation and Allows You to Become Influential in the Dental Industry
As you network and build relationships with others in the industry, your own professional reputation may grow. Other dentists will begin to recognize your name or practice in conversation, which will often lead to discussions about notable things you're doing. Over time, you can become more influential and be seen as a valuable resource in the dental community.
Create a strong brand for yourself as a solo dental practitioner or your practice. Use branding wherever possible to distinguish yourself, especially on materials you use for networking. Publish authoritative, useful content that has value to your target audience.
Networking Opens New Career Avenues for Associate Dentists
Establishing your dental career can often be challenging, especially if you're a new associate dentist fresh out of dental school. As you network, you may discover career opportunities that allow you to dive further into your specialty, or job openings for associate dentists at high-profile dental practices.
Young dental professionals should work especially hard to network in the beginning of their careers. Attending events is a great way to get started because for most conferences, any professional of any skill level can join.
The One Simple Trick to Start Networking Now
For dentists, networking happens every hour of every day. You don't have to be actively set out to network to come across opportunities to do so. Start networking now by smiling and being friendly to new faces. See everyone you meet as a potential networking contact and treat them accordingly.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer career consulting advice. Please consult a professional concerning this topic.