Effective networking can create valuable connections that lead to new partnerships, more patients, and all-star employees. In professional development, sales, and business, regular networking is a simple tactic that people use to gain an edge on the competition and professional advancement. Unfortunately, many optometrists are already short on time to network effectively.
Below are a few ways you can make time to network in the optical industry.
5 Ways to Find Time To Network In The Optical Industry
Attend an Industry Event
Optometric events like Vision Expo East are great resources to earn continuing education credits, attend seminars, and network with your peers. The good thing about attending industry events is that the people you meet there are attending for common reasons. If you’re at the event for a few days or want to maximize your connections, try reaching out to fellow attendees beforehand to schedule a meet-up.
Making a habit to schedule weekly or monthly local networking events builds accountability and gives you regular face-time with the prospected connections that your practice needs to progress. Using tools like the Meetup app, provides a lot of networking options and ways to connect with people you meet afterward. If you’re nervous about networking alone, bring a friend.
Take A Class
Whether you’re attending a CE seminar or you want to learn new optical marketing skills, attending an in-person class gives you the chance to make valuable connections. Form study groups to not only help you learn the material better but also to make connections with the classmates who want to succeed.
Join A Club
Do you have any interesting hobbies? Not only are these good talking points for when you network, but if there’s a club dedicated to that hobby, you can join and attend your local chapter’s events or workshops. If you join a Facebook Group, like ODs on Facebook, be sure to regularly contribute to the conversations and offer help when you can. Doing so will build name recognition and will extend your reach in the optometric community.
You may be busy, but chances are, you can delegate some of your tasks to make more time to reach out to connections and attract more business to your practice. Office managers and optical technicians are great additions to have on your team to delegate your administrative and pre-exam tasks to. Delegating some of the administrative tasks to your office manager and a good portion of the pre-exam activities a technician will give you more time to network and will improve your office workflow for efficiency.
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Originally published in Feb 2017. Updated in March 2022.