Written by: Arrita Mallory
Arrita is a D3 and currently serves as one of our Pre-Dental Chairs. She attended the recent NLC trip. Continue reading below to learn more about the insights she gained in Chicago!
One of the more memorable sessions that I enjoyed while at this past year’s National Leadership Conference in Chicago was “The Art of Networking” led by Dr. Christian Piers. When I hear the term “networking”, several things come to mind. Sometimes admittedly, the term can sometimes elicit a slightly negative connotation, one that leaves a sort of inauthentic taste in my mouth. Occasionally networking can be done poorly and feel like the networkers are not truly interested in meeting others unless they can offer something advantageous in return.
This session focused on quality over quantity. Yes, there are certain steadfast tips like reading body language of others and being true to oneself that can help aid in making connections, but ultimately Dr. Piers stressed authenticity and learning how to express genuine interest in others as the key to being an effective networker. This concept was further explained by dividing networkers into two (decidedly science-y) categories: bonders and free radicals. Bonders are able to form long, deep connections, as the name suggests. Free radicals, on the other hand, are more reactive; they mingle quickly with others and do not form lasting relationships.
How can one become a bonder? There are four main steps to doing this effectively: get in, make yourself memorable, make a connection, get out. The art of networking depends on some level of self-control and well-intentioned finesse. Ultimately, being true to oneself in all interactions, personal or professional, will lead to lasting connections that have genuine potential to develop naturally.