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How to Build and Enhance a Powerful Network

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Thursday, November 30, 2017
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We’re in a season of giving thanks, recommitting to a life anchored in gratitude, and extending warm wishes as 2017 nears its end and 2018 starts to dawn on the horizon. It’s a time for numerous holiday gatherings filled with friends and colleagues, old and new, as well as a time to discern our wishes for the New Year. It is an ideal time to continue building or enhancing your professional network.

Your professional network of peers can help you learn more about the health care industry, new career paths, and enhance partnerships to make a bold impact on health and health care. Here are a few suggestions to help you build and expand your network.

Be a connector. Introduce people who can enhance one another. This can be done easily and quickly while attending events or through LinkedIn messages. People remember those who listen, are available, and help them. Your kindness will be reciprocated in the future.

Ask for connections. While you’re helping connect others, don’t forget to ask for connections. This could be as simple as asking, “Who else might I talk to in the health care (nursing, operations, finance, HR, IT, marketing, etc.) space?” These colleague-of-a-colleague connections can be very strong and carry extra credibility.

Look for the win-win. Give assistance to others as often as you ask for help. It’s a two-way street and networking should be about creating win-win situations of mutual benefit.

Leverage social networks. LinkedIn is the ideal professional social network to stay connected with people you meet. It’s also a vibrant pathway to research organizations you may want to work for and identify those who can help you connect to others. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date as it is often the first place people go to learn more about you. Feel free to connect with me on my LinkedIn profile. And be sure to join the TRUST's LinkedIn group.

Join professional organizations. Energetic professional organizations, such as the TRUST, are a wonderful way to meet others, partner, and create impact. The TRUST provides numerous opportunities to meet women in health care who share your professional interests and goals.

Attend professional events. The TRUST offers events of all topics and sizes so you have the ability to network with large groups or in more casual small group settings.

Networking involves reciprocal relationships. Help others in your network with new introductions and job leads, and you’ll find others will do the same for you. The most vigorous networks are nourished and fostered over time with generous amounts of tending to your field of connections. You enrich your long-term success when you create deeper connections.

Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  LinkedIn  networking  relationship building 

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