By Jason Scott, CRA, FAHRA
One of my favorite activities to do at the AHRA Annual Meeting is network. I’ve had the privilege of meeting such wonderful people at numerous AHRA events. Every time I attend these events, I take away many ideas to implement at my place of employment. Most of these implementations have come from me speaking with people about their successes in tackling the various issues we all face. I have found that having a strong network is crucial to success, no matter what career or job title you have.
So, what are ways to increase your presence when you network? Below are some tips that I find to be successful:
Body Language: Body language is important in everything we do, and networking is no exception. People visually assess someone within the first seven seconds of meeting them. Portraying a positive body language makes people feel comfortable in speaking with you.
- People are attracted to those who have “open” gestures. Having your arms folded portrays a “blocking gesture,” meaning you do not care about what the other person has to say. A more open gesture, with arms away from the body, is more inviting.
- The old adage: “a smile is worth a thousand words,” is so true. When we smile, it automatically decreases the anxiety level in the people we are networking with. Smiling brings forth a universal feeling of friendliness, which makes it easier to emotionally connect with someone.
Introduce: Introduce yourself – with a smile! First impressions are crucial.
- Shaking someone’s hand is a common way to introduce yourself. A firm handshake shows you are a confident person.
- When speaking with someone, maintain eye contact. Your eyes should never waver. This makes the person you are speaking with feel less important.
Be Yourself: People are attracted to those who are genuine and not perceived as “fake.”
- Get to know the person you are speaking with on a personal level. Conversations can be best started when there is commonality between two individuals. Ask open-ended questions to know their passions, hobbies, and interests.
- Don’t try to sell yourself. Relax! Let the conversation flow to bring out your true personality.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, once said, “Succeeding in business is all about making connections.” I know that I would not be where I am at today if it were not for the many connections I have made at AHRA, and other networking events, for that matter. I challenge all of you, whether you are going to the Annual Meeting or not, to get to know your colleagues. You never know when you might have an issue that you need help with. After all, we’re all in this together.
Jason Scott, MBA CRA FAHRA CPXP RT(R)(MR) is the Chief Patient Experience Officer, Director of Imaging/Pulmonary/Neurodiagnostics/Wound Care/Hematology/Oncology at Witham Health Services in Lebanon, IN. Jason serves on the AHRA Board of Directors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org