I attended my first networking event back in 2013. At the time, I was working as an audiology assistant and was eagerly awaiting acceptance into an AuD program. I had not thought about the impact of putting one’s best foot forward and the influence networking can have when preparing for a professional career.
The Importance of Networking
So why network? Well, not only does networking build confidence, it also works to establish and maintain your professional relationships. Most importantly, it continues to foster growth, both personally and professionally. However, you must keep in mind that purposeful networking requires preparation.
How to Network
First, professional attire is a must! The more professional you appear, the more likely you are to stand out in a crowd.
Second, ask yourself what you would like to obtain from a specific professional connection. Who you meet and create a rapport with is something you should consider.
Third, set simple yet effective goals prior to attending any event. Plan to speak to those who align with your audiology-related interests. If you’re attending a conference, there may be more than one event, so plan your schedule accordingly.
Fourth, research the professionals attending the event(s) beforehand. It is beneficial to know their interests to carry a good conversation. The more at ease you are, the better the conversation will be.
Fifth, always show interest in the person you are talking to by asking relevant questions.
Finally, prepare a simple “elevator speech” which includes your name, university, program, clinical/research interests, and the value you bring to the field. It can make all the difference! A well-practiced and natural sounding elevator speech is the foundation of creating any professional connection.
Networking can be intimidating, especially when you are amongst leading minds within the field. However, with practice and preparation, you will develop the confidence to network effectively.
Daniel Romero, AuD is currently working toward his PhD degree at James Madison University. He obtained his Doctor of Audiology degree from Northern Illinois University in May of 2018. His interests include vestibular assessment and management, vestibular perception, and electrophysiology.
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