Face to Face: Networking and Communication in Dentistry

How do you choose to communicate with fellow dental students, dentists, legislators, and other individuals with whom you just exchanged contact information? While some of us love to attend conferences and other meetings to network with those who we hope one day become our best friends or future mentors, how well do we really get to know these  people? Are we actually networking or just hiding behind this shadow we call “social media?” Our business card holders may be full, our Facebook friend requests off the charts, and our email inboxes flooded with new messages—but still,  our social “networking” has hindered us from engaging in the meaningful relationships we have the power to build through true conversation, one-on-one, in person. Where is the face-to-face communication? Understandably, it is not possible to always meet in person, especially when you may be on opposite sides of the country, but it’s important to think about making meaningful connections from the start.

This past summer, for the ASDA Leadership Retreat, Dr. Mark Hughes offered some insight into the making of a great leader. Dr. Hughes encouraged the group to be proactive in initiating change, which he emphasized could only be brought about by positive team effort. When asked about a piece of advice he would give to our generation of graduating dental students, Dr. Hughes stated that we have to move past solely using email as a method of contact. Engaging in more personalized exchanges with like-minded individuals, he explained, would bring about a positive force and energy that could help achieve group goals. Particularly speaking in regards to creating legislative change, Dr. Hughes remarked on the significance of meeting face to face to discuss the interests of the profession and to create unified goals for future legislation. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of keeping up communication with fellow students, professionals, legislators, and others within your dental network, including maintaining relationships with the dentists and specialists  in your geographic area. After a great discussion with valuable insight, Dr. Hughes left  a lasting impression on the ASDA team.

When will you be scheduling your next face-to-face meeting? Comments, questions, suggestions? Please write below.