As the new doc on the block, building your network is essential for a successful start. It will help you bring patients into your office and solidify yourself as a staple of your community. If you're returning home, you may be a step ahead of the rest - but even you need to reconnect with your community.
[Tweet "No matter your practice setting, it helps to know the movers and shakers around you. "]
As a natural extrovert my advice is simple - step outside your comfort zone and stop being a creature of habit!
Below Are 9 Unique Ways to Get Involved and Strengthen Your Network:
"Googling" has become the premier way to search for information. After I accepted my current job, one of the first things I did was Google "Young Professional Groups in Charlotte, NC." Looking back, 4/5 groups I'm primarily involved with today I discovered using Google.
2) Play Kickball
Adult kickball leagues are growing like crazy. And why not?! The beauty of kickball - anyone can play, you meet tons of people, you don't have to be athletic (although it helps ;) ) AND it's fun!
Not a kickball fan? Pick a sport, any sport. There's bound to be a league in your area.
3) Get Spiritual
Exploring your faith is a great way to learn about yourself while meeting people who share your values. Most religious groups provide excellent volunteer opportunities - many of which are focused on helping the less fortunate in your community!
4) Hit the Links
Specifically, check out Golfnow. The beauty of this site - it provides the opportunity to walk onto a course and golf with a group of people you've never met. The nicer the course, the better chance you have of being matched up with some influential people from your community. Since a lot of business is done on the golf course you never know who you'll meet!
5) Try Something New
Personally, I recommend Meetup - the world's largest network of local groups. Searching their site, you're bound to find a group that interests you.
Don't see one? No worries - you can create your own! Tons of people are connecting daily through local meet ups - why not you?
On a side note, I've also found that discount sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and AmazonLocal are great for trying something new at a fraction of the cost. For instance, last Fall I took introductory dance lessons at Arthur Murry. It was definitely something I wouldn't have spent money on unless I found a deal. To my surprise, I had a blast and met a number of great people doing so!
6) Support Local Charities
Seek out an organization you care about. Odds are they have various volunteer opportunities and annual fundraisers. Often time these events are tax deductible and a lot of fun! More importantly, you're getting out in the community and supporting a great cause!
7) Sign Up For a Run
From marathons to 5Ks - there are tons of training programs to help you prepare. Lacking motivation? Seek out local running groups and run with others.
Since I enjoy craft beers, I've found that many local brewery's have running clubs. After all, what's better than grabbing a beer after a nice long run?
In one shape or another, all communities can use volunteers. Start small and watch your passion for helping others grow! The sky is the limit so get out and lend a hand today.
9) Transfer Business Contacts to LinkedIn
The more you get involved, the more contacts you'll make - so make sure to bring business cards to ALL networking functions. Instead of stashing cards away in a drawer, shoot over a quick email and add your new contact on LinkedIn.
Over time, you may become good friends with a number of these individuals. Until then, keep things professional and hold off on connecting with them via other forms of social media.
Although this might sound crazy, these are just a few of the many ways I've immersed myself into my new home.
At the end of the day, don't be afraid to jump right in! Narrowing down your interests is only half the battle. The hardest part is finding the time and energy to actually get involved!
Too shy to go alone? Grab a colleague or friend! You'll find that most groups will welcome you with open arms.
What do you have to lose?
Have any recommendations on how you're expanding your network through involvement? Leave a comment below!