One of ACEP17’s biggest draws is the opportunity for emergency physicians and others to connect with counterparts across the country. But networking is more than just drinks and swapped business cards.
“Cocktail parties at places like ACEP17 are not casual events,” said ACEP Past President Gregory Henry, MD, FACEP. “They are absolutely programmed interactions where people have agendas of what things they want to get accomplished.”
Dr. Henry, who has talked repeatedly over the years about the power of networking, said it’s a necessary skill for physicians looking to do more than just shift work.
Networking “doesn’t make you great, but it gives you the opportunity for greatness,” he said. “If we don’t believe that, we don’t understand how the world works politically. The truth of the matter is if you want a job, you don’t have to network,” he said. “If you want a career, you have to network.”
Ivan Misner, founder of BNI (Business Network International), a global business networking platform based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been dubbed “the father of modern networking” by CNN and teaches networking via a process he calls VCP: visibility, credibility, and profitability.
“Credibility is what takes time,” Mr. Misner said. “You really want to build credibility with somebody. It doesn’t happen overnight. People have to get to know, like, and trust you. It is the most time-consuming portion of the VCP process … then, and only then, can you get to profitability, where people know who you are, they know what you do, they know you’re good at it, and they’re willing to refer a business to you. They’re willing to put you in touch with other people.”
Mr. Misner calls the follow-up process 24-7-30. Within 24 hours, send the person a note. Within a week, connect on whatever social media that person prefers. Within a month, reach out to the person for a time to actually talk.
“It’s these touch points that you make with people that build the relationship,” Mr. Misner says. “Without building a real relationship, there is almost no value in the networking efforts … It has to be more than just the bumping into somebody at a meeting.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.