Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., have gotten all the attention; they are revolutionary, forever changing our lives as we know it. All true, they connect us in profound ways in both our business and personal lives. 

The tools may be new, robust, and very powerful, but what remains most powerful is the underlying value of networking. 

Who you know, what you know, and who knows you remains paramount for all professionals, particularly for those in the very specialized and close knit healthcare A/E/C/ industry. Outsiders often believe that technical knowledge and competency are the drivers of our industry, and, yes, they are important. But the real power players in our industry are extremely well-networked. 

They are good at what they do and are equally as good at making sure the RIGHT people know how good they are. We find this to be a fact for our client firms opening up doors with healthcare organizations, as well for our grade A candidates who consistently put themselves in a position to leverage their successes for internal or external opportunities. 

I’ll share just a few best practices:

Your network has a shelf life Effective networkers understand that they cannot rely on the same handful of contacts year after year. Over time, the law of diminishing returns will come into play and contacts, regardless how productive, will eventually become less valuable. Good networkers continually add to their network. To this point, and perhaps counter intuitively, studies have shown that new relationships typically yield far greater results than old relationships. Let’s not forget about our old friends, but networking needs to be an on-going process.

Networking is about learning Networking is not just getting to know someone who can help you land a new greenfield hospital project, new position, or promotion; it’s about learning. Effective companies and individuals are continually learning and adopting, and are using networking as a means to that end.  

Networking 101—Give more than you receive Successful networkers bring value to their network, build their network by offering counsel, help others make connections, and, most importantly, provide reasons for others to stay connected with them. In return, they are able to tap into their network at opportunistic times with minimal effort and greater results. 

Networking is strategic  The size of the network is not nearly as important as the QUALITY of the network. Effective networkers start out with an idea of what should be the composition of their network, i.e., hospital c-suite, designers, etc., and build their network without trying to “boil the ocean." Effective networkers grow their network strategically, focus on bringing value, and make sure the RIGHT people are following them.