7 Networking Survival Tips for the Introverted Nurse
Do you dread going to networking events? You are no alone! Here are 7 simple things you can do to take the pain out of painful networking events.
It seems many people label themselves an introvert these days. Some even use terms like, "extroverted-introvert" to further specify the type and kind of social interaction they enjoy. But, regardless of what you are like in your personal life, when you have to network for your career, it can be downright torturous.
Whether you are looking for a new job or just looking to increase your network for more opportunities related to school or volunteer opportunities, here are a few tips that you can use to enhance your comfort and increase your network.
Create an Elevator Pitch
If you've ever worked in sales, you may have heard this term. An "elevator pitch" is a short, persuasive speech used to sell yourself which can be delivered in the amount of time it takes to go up one floor in an elevator. It should be succinct and highlight the best aspects about yourself and your career.
To create your elevator pitch, answer these five questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I do?
- How do I do it?
- Who do I do it for?
- What do I want to do in the future?
After you have answered these five questions, sit down and take a few minutes to create your pitch. It may end up something like this:
Hi, I'm Sally. I am an ICU nurse at the University of the World Hospital. I've been there 10 years, and I'm certified. I work first shift, and I cover as the charge nurse for 75% of my shifts. I am here to find new career opportunities that will allow me to explore leadership role in an ICU setting further.
This is short and sweet and lets anyone you talk to know who you are and what you are looking for while you are the networking event.
Bring a Pal
Networking is always more comfortable when you have a trusted friend who is there to offer support and assistance. Bring someone that knows their role and is not afraid to help you along the way. You want someone who will provide support and even fill in the blanks if they see or hear you struggling to find the right words.
Many nurses think of LinkedIn as the best place for online networking. And, of course, LinkedIn is a great place to start. But, don't forget about Twitter. You can establish an active Twitter feed full of insights related to your field and people will begin to notice you and interact with you. You can also reach out to others in your specialty on Twitter to start to make real connections. These connections can also help you with face-to-face networking events in the future. If you connect with someone online, invite them to the next in-person event you attend.
Make a Connection Goal
You don't have to walk out of the networking event with 15 names of people to follow up with afterward. Set a realistic goal. Maybe your goal is to leave with 1 name of a recruiter and 1 name of a fellow nurse who is also looking for the same thing. Creating a network takes time. Add names slowly and really connect with the people you meet.
The day after the event, be sure to email, call, or text the people you connected with and thank them for their time and information. Following up and fostering a relationship will help to move you to the next level.
During the event, be fully present. Turn the phone off and put it in your purse or pocket. Once you start a conversation, be sure to fully engage by maintaining eye contact, smiling, and asking questions.
Remember That Everyone is in the Same Boat
Everyone at the event is there to meet other too. And, they may be dreading it just as much as you are. Try to remember this as you are standing in a corner by yourself. Move around the room and find another person who is standing alone. Make eye contact, offer a smile, and then start-up a conversation. They will be thankful you did.
Set a Time Limit
If the event goes on for 2 hours, set a time limit. Tell yourself you will stay for 60 minutes. After that time, re-evaluate how things are going. If you have maxed out on your networking possibilities, go ahead and leave. If you are deep into a great conversation after 60 minutes, add an extra 30 minutes and see how things are going at the end of that time.
Giving yourself a time limit helps to get you in the right mindset. You work 12-hour shifts - you can handle one hour of networking, right?
Now that you have a few tricks to help out at your next networking event, get ready to shine! Do you have a few other tried-and-true tips you use when you have to network? Put your ideas in the comments, we would love to hear them and keep the conversation going.
About melissa.mills1117, BSN
Melissa Mills has been a nurse for 20 years. She is a freelance writer, career coach, and owner of makingspace.company. She enjoys writing about leadership, careers, lifestyle, and wellness.
Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 185; Likes: 569
Freelance Writer, Nurse Case Manager, Professor; from OH , US