Networking has been defined as the interaction with others to exchange information and develop professional relationships with mutual contacts. In years past, networking was conducted over dinners or at receptions. Business cards were shared and then stored in rolodexes or file folders, so people always had the contact information of their growing network of professionals close by. Many of you may have stacks of business cards that remind you of the past.
When I was hired by Sunstar in 2008, one of the qualities that helped secure the position for me was my network of dental hygiene professionals across the country. I had moved several times and worked for WaterPik as an educational consultant, so I had acquired a valued and respected group of friends. Suddenly, this group of friends was defined by me as my network. Today, when speaking about professional development, I share the importance of scheduling social meetings and embracing networking opportunities. So, how is this managed during a pandemic?
In 2019, RDH developed a program titled the RDH Community Connection (RCC). The purpose of this program was to develop a collaborative relationship with dental hygienists who were social media influencers expanding their reach into the RDH community. In 2020, during the COVID-19 shutdown, a vast amount of networking occurred on social media. Hygienists are very interactive people, and if we’re not going to conventions or state meetings, we turn to social media to keep up with our friends and build our networks.
Networking is of such great value in the corporate realm that Forbes wrote an article about the tips of social media networking during a pandemic. You can find it at forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/01/06/14-professional-tips-for-networking-during-a-pandemic/.
As we all begin to define our personal levels of normal, we will also begin to define our new networking platforms. I look forward to seeing your faces at RDH Under One Roof in Indianapolis. I know, as health-care providers, we will be respectful of each other’s comfort zones, and I am confident that networking can also be effective at a six-foot distance.
I’m counting the days until my favorite networking event!
See you soon,