By: Melissa Owens, Allied Search Partners
Networking, some people call it “Not-Working” and for some they believe it is an integral part of their career and personal development. I lean towards the latter. I will start out by offering one of my favorite definitions of networking, “Networking can be defined as a process of developing mutually beneficial contacts through the exchange of information.” Pretty simple. You may not have use for that information at that exact time that you collect and store it, but you will be surprised at how many times that exchange of information will become beneficial to you throughout your career and life in general.
Change is a process that is inevitable. It is hard to imagine exactly what you need in order to keep up with the ever-changing world around you. One minute you can have everything in line, you are in the groove at work, you have your home commitments in line and you even have time to put effort into entertainment, hobbies, or anything else that you desire outside of work and family. Wow, life is good. Then BAM! Something rocks your world, whether it be an acquisition at your current place of work, major life events like having children, getting married, relocation, sickness, or anything that throws balance out of your life. You know what would be good at that point in time? A resource, a network to look to when a particular need arises, a place to be able to turn for the right people to provide expertise, different perspectives, experience, influence and other important contacts. This would be your network that you built, not necessarily because you needed it at that very moment, but in times of change, your network is there.
There are many ways to build your network: social networking, coworkers, vendors your employer uses on a regular basis, members of your community, colleagues in other companies similar to your employer, professional membership societies like the NSH. Networking takes time and commitment. You want to build your network with people with whom you share interests with. Whether those interests be professional (coworkers, colleagues, educators) or personal (hobbies, volunteering, community & religious groups). Your network needs to be diverse. You must encompass something that you want to share with others, things like expertise, experience, referrals. You must also be open to accepting what others want to share with you. Take the time to make and maintain a connection even if there is no immediate use. It takes a village to keep life moving!
In a study of brainstorming sessions done face-to-face, over the phone, or via video chat, the face-to-face sessions produced significantly more creative ideas. Face-to-face pairs generated about 30 percent more ideas than virtual pairs." (Read the whole article here)
Even in this technology heavy world, nothing can replace the power of networking face to face. This is because "water-cooler" conversations often lead to new ideas, scientific advancement, and better business.
When you join NSH for the 44th Annual NSH Symposium/Convention you have 6 days to network with fellow techs to talk about what's happening in your lab, ask questions to industry professionals about their products and technologies, and talk science with our poster presenters.