Networking is a activity that most people will associate with business. However, it should be an activity that everyone in psychology is doing as well. Why?
I was introduced to this idea of networking several years ago during my Masters program, and that was one of the things the lecturers said was important to do. I could not understand why then as well too. However, having gone to several symposiums and conferences, I finally saw its importance and reasons for why we need to do networking, even in psychology.
So, here are the main reasons:
- Employment / business opportunities - You never know; you might just find your next boss / customer just by talking to them.
- Opportunities to knowing new associates from similar or different fields - Support for your clients often tend to be holistic, rather just from the psychologist (yourself); hence often, you may need the help or support from others from a similar or different line of work, such as psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, etc.
- Research opportunities - Through knowing others in the similar field or area of research, this may open up your chances of working with others in research projects in your area of research.
- Social networking - Just purely for the reasons for making friends and acquaintances in psychology and your psychological speciality/area of research.
Hence to sum up, it's all about the opportunities to know new people for your own career / research prospects, as well as others to know you (which is very important as well). With networking, it will help you to largely expand your work opportunities and network of associates. So always make sure to get your name-cards ready before the event and their name-cards during the event. Quite many people actually go for events and conferences not only just for the talks, but also for the chances to do networking with others. So make sure you go for the upcoming events / conferences!
Some of you may say "I am quite a reserved person and so during meetings/events/conferences, I will sit and have my meals either alone or only with those I am very familiar with." However, this may not very good. So for those who may be shy and reserved, I would recommend that you could use your "listening skills" (I will talk more about these in future posts) in these situations. For starters, you could firstly work up the courage to introduce yourself, followed by letting the other party talk about themselves, and from there, just keep the conversation going. That would hopefully help build up your courage (and skills) to do better networking in the next event!