Networking 101: Why Should Dentists Care?

This isn’t the be-all end-all of networking guides but considering only 75 per cent of dental professionals are frequently networking, it’s a good start. Seventy-five may sound high, but in reality, all professionals should be networking, whether online or in person.

Nobody is claiming networking is easy, but it’s a necessity in business for a few reasons:

  • It’s an opportunity to share stories and experiences, especially in a developing, clinical field;
  • Other dental professionals understand the day-to-day business and clinical stresses;
  • Make great industry connections and gain referral names;
  • Learn about new techniques and strategies being practiced.

Consider starting out in dentistry – according to our survey, 55.4 per cent of Canadian dental professionals spoke with other dental professionals for advice when developing their practice. It can feel embarrassing to ask for advice now, but with technology and procedures rapidly changing, there’s no better time to reach out. In fact, the top three networking topics between dental professionals are 1) general advice, 2) new techniques and practices, and 3) new products and equipment.

So why are 25 per cent of dental professionals just not networking? There may be something missing: interest, confidence, presence or time. Whatever the case may be, it’s time to get out there and connect.

There are many things to remember during an interaction, so here’s a quick checklist:

  • Always have business cards available – Don’t be “that” person, fumbling around in pockets and bags for a crumpled card. Keep them accessible and organized.
  • Exchange social media – Whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, everyone is everywhere. This will take some adjusting, but it’s becoming the norm in exchanging information.
  • Consider everyone an ally – While other dental professionals may be “competition” they’re also the people who understand and empathize with current stresses.
  • Immediately add on LinkedIn – Get a business card? Add them on LinkedIn. Just catch their name? Add them on LinkedIn. It’s the online networking hub and it’s time to catch up.

Online networking is a new concept for many: connecting with other dental professionals, but without any personal interaction. Welcome to 2018 where people don’t have time to shake hands and exchange cards. A large online network leads to skill endorsements, position applicants and global connections. Learn more about How to: LinkedIn on our blog!

For a beginner’s course on networking, consider a continuing education course on business practices. Nearly 25 per cent of dental professionals are interested in the topic (perhaps the missing group of networkers) and the courses are out there! Check out our Continuing Education calendar for a list of upcoming courses in practice management and clinical procedures.

Jump in feet first and make an introduction. To everyone. Be in the 75 per cent of dental professionals making connections and growing their practices by interacting with people who know the day-to-day challenges and successes. You never know who you could meet.


Let us know: Do you network? What’s your number one tip to share?


*Between February and March 2018, RKI, a third party independent research house, conducted a 10-minute online survey of active, practicing non-hospital affiliated dentists and dental specialists on behalf of Oral Health. Using Oral Health’s subscription list, a total of 398 dentists participated in the study (with 219 completing the survey to the end). Assuming a total of 20,000 dentists in Canada (and 398 total completes) the margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.86, 95% CI.

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