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Networking: How to Overcome the Fear of Talking to Strangers

The word “networking” can sound very intimidating to many of us because when we hear that word, we think of important people in suits having very serious conversations in conference room settings. Yes, that is part of networking, but that isn’t all that it is. Networking happens every day, every where of your life, and you have been networking your entire life which has gotten you to this point of your career, so chances are you are already an expert in networking, you just don’t know it yet.

 

So what exactly is “networking”? My own definition of it is establishing a connection with someone through the exchange of ideas in a casual conversation, aka just talking and getting to know each other better. In the first quarter of pharmacy school, I attended the CSHP annual seminar and I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I was nervous to go up to people and introduce myself at first, but once I made the first step of initiating a conversation, I realized that everybody was there for the same reason, which was to network. Everybody was friendly and I ended up feeling very comfortable talking to strangers by the end of the event, which was such a rewarding and satisfying feeling because I stepped out of my comfort zone.

 

My biggest advice for all of you is to take advantage of every networking opportunity because I have met so many amazing people through the many events I have attended who have inspired me and helped me constantly. Going to more events also allow you to practice how to network more. The most memorable experience for me was volunteering at the OCPhA valentine social, where I was the bartender. That night I met the California Board of Pharmacy president, who has since then allowed me to meet so many people in the pharmacy field, and these people have provided me with job opportunities, leadership positions, and endless guidance that I needed to succeed.

 

Please remember, you are JUST AS important as anyone you meet at these networking events because you are the future of pharmacy, and anything you have to say and want to share is worth a “big name’s” time. So go out there, be confident, and NETWORK.

 

Best,

 

Diana Zhang 

Student Pharmacist | Class of 2022

Marshall B. Ketchum University | College of Pharmacy 

2575 Yorba Linda Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831

(801)-960-0425 | dianazhang.2022@ketchum.edu 

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