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RheumThoughts: The Benefits of Networking Save
Hello, RheumNow, I'm Dr Rachel Tate from West Palm Beach Florida and as you know the month of April we are celebrating Women in Rheumatology - The XX Factor. We aim to bring you perspectives, career and patient narratives and of course how-to solutions for the questions that we all tend to have. So with that short intro, I bring you to today's QD Clinic.
Our scenario is pretty simple. I was recently at a conference with my new practice partner and he was amazed at how many people I knew. He asked me: how do you meet so many people? I'm not extroverted like you! I initially laughed and of course thanked him, but this is actually a really important skill to talk about. As you know, networking provides the framework for an exchange of ideas and new opportunities that can actually open doors. Without it, I never would have met my mentor, Dr. Kathryn Dao, nor would I have had the opportunity to work for her and learn from her.
I don't live in a bubble and I don't plan on practicing in one either. My discovery of networking actually began sometime in school, but I kind of honed this in college where I learned that I can't possibly know everything but I know that I can find friends who do know more on subjects that I want to learn about.
So, armed with passionate curiosity and working on good listening and observational skills, I just set out to make new friends. So this can be easy actually if you just start with local events that you're actually already planning on attending. But now you shape the narrative, you change the goal, and your goal is to meet one new person and actively listen to them. Now that's the key part, right? You have to actually actually listen to them because what you're looking for is a meaningful human connection.
I always tell people that phones should only be used for taking and showing of pictures and exchanging contact information, so make sure you're listening to the other person in front of you. It's kind of like dating all over again, but with a lot less pressure. You're not looking for your lifelong mate but you may be sitting next to your new best friend without even knowing it. Over time, this kind of becomes second nature even to those who are most introverted.
Rheumatologists are passionately curious by nature and if you add those listening skills that we all are working on and of course make sure you have a sincere goal of meeting people over time, you're going to develop lifelong friendships with others in the field, potentially in industry and you may even find your next job or your new business partner out of your endeavors.
In fact, I'm going to leave you with the challenge: come and seek me out at your next conference. I'm always looking for new friends and to expand my network. After all, a stranger is just a friend that you haven't met yet.