Tag: networking

Does the Word Networking Fill you with Terror?

Go on, how do you really feel about networking?

For me, I can’t imagine anything worse than a room full of people I don’t know. I even find it canapes hard to be part of a room full of people I do know, let alone strike up a conversation with strangers. Does this sound familiar?

So, do I have to change into an extrovert overnight in order to market my practice?

Of course not. Neither does networking mean you have to strike up a sales conversation with those you meet. It is simply making contacts, and keeping in contact. You get to choose who you want to talk to, and what you want to say. Read more

Stuck on a roundabout in your practice and can’t get off?

I grew up in quite a rigid environment. Both at home and at school, we had many rules that provided structure and order. Beneficial in their way, they also unconsciously provided me with a picture of HOW THINGS ARE and HOW THINGS SHOULD BE. Unfortunately, other people grew up with a different set of parameters, which means that other peoples’ vision of HOW THINGS ARE and HOW THINGS SHOULD BE is not the same as mine. Much of life and relationship is therefore a process of navigating the differences between how I think things should be, and how others think. I’m sure you can relate to this. It’s there in the news and media all the time, one country or political party or commentator sees one thing, while another has a completely different perspective. And that’s healthy.Roundabout Signage

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Minding Your Business of Therapy

Over the last week, I’ve been making suggestions about how you might use the Therapy Practice Business Assessment as the basis for making some changes to your therapy or counselling practice in 2016. So far, we’ve looked at three areas: Knowing Your Practice, Growing Your Practice and Valuing Your Practice. (You can read the blog posts in which I made suggestions in those areas by clicking on the links.)

Today we’re going to look at the fourth pillar of a successful practice, Minding Your Practice.

When they hear that phrase, most people think first about the practical steps of insurance and safety, and these are Therapy_1indeed important. Another important area in minding your practice is self-care, and one that is often overlooked is provision for the future. What steps could you take in 2016 to mind your therapy practice, to make it more robust, and to help create a buffer against the vagaries of life? Here are some ideas…

Hang on, you haven’t read the ideas yet!

Growing Your Therapy Practice

If you haven’t tried it out already, I suggest that you might use the Therapy Practice Business Assessment as the basis for making some changes to your therapy or counselling practice in the coming year. If you missed the blog post in which I made suggestions for Knowing Your Practice, you can read it here.

The second pillar is Growing Your Practice. There’s a saying that if your business isn’t growing it’s shrinking. What steps could you take in the next year to grow your practice and attract some new work that is perfectly suited to you?

Therapy Practice Business Assessment: Second Pillar – Growing Your PracticeTherapy_1

Make A Plan

You’re more likely to take effective action if you create a plan for promoting your practice. It doesn’t need to be a complicated thing, just decide on a couple of promotional activities and put them into practice. Ideally, keep going for a couple of months, as this helps to create momentum, and iron out any resistance you might have! Check out the following related articles: Hang on, we’re not finished yet!

How To Prepare For Meetings With Doctors

A practitioner asked me recently how to prepare for meetings she had set up with doctors. She was concerned about how to convey to them what her job entailed, and what questions they might ask. It was a bit like asking me what she might be asked in an interview!

Photo no (7)When I visited our local doctors some years ago with my colleague, Jennifer, the questions we were asked varied hugely from practice to practice. In some doctors’ surgeries, we were asked lots of questions; in some we were asked none at all, and were left to do the talking.

Here is a list of questions you may be asked by doctors or others who might refer clients to you, and to which you might like to prepare a reply in advance, so that you can respond easily and naturally when the time comes around.

Read the questions here

Help! I Need an Elevator Pitch!

A therapist client recently asked me for help in writing an elevator pitch. You’ve probably heard how it goes…you get into an elevator, there’s a potential client there, perfect for you, needing what you have to offer, what do you say? You have between 30 and 60 seconds to deliver your message before the doors open onto the next floor. What you say about your work in that short window of time is your elevator pitch.

So, with less than a minute, this is not a time to go into an analysis of the relative merits of CBT and person centred Photo no (15)counselling, nor a time to list your diplomas, certificates and degrees.

But wait, there’s more about this here…

How Can I Promote my Practice in an Ethical Way?

free soapMany therapists find it hard to put themselves out there. Having been on the receiving end of sleezy, pushy marketing or sales in the past, they are fearful of visiting that experience on others. Mindful that people looking for therapy or counselling may well be feeling vulnerable already, they are reluctant to take advantage. Conscious that they have little control over the client’s experience of therapy or of the outcomes they may expect, they are wary of falling foul of the ethical guidelines set down by the professional bodies.

It’s a dilemma isn’t it? If I want to share my work with the world and help more people, I have to let people know I’m willing and available, but how to do that in an ethical and authentic way that is in line with my values and principles? But wait, there’s more!

Lots of Things to do with Business Cards

So you’ve got your business cards printed up, now what? Sometimes we can put lots of energy into getting them printed, but have no idea what to do next. Here are some ideas for you…132249_132246_judef007-card-02-011

  1. Consider getting your business card printed onto a magnet that can be attached to a filing cabinet or other metal surface. This is a great idea for giving to doctors and other likely referral sources.
  2. If you forget your card, don’t say you’ll send your details on. By the time they get it, they’ll have forgotten who you are. If you can, write your details on something to hand! You can follow it up later, preferably in person.
  3. Carry your cards with you wherever you go. Hand them out proudly and confidently. If you’re not proud of your card, get a new one. Shake the person’s hand, and make eye contact as you give them your card. Smile!
  4. At a social occasion, it may not be the best time or place to have a business discussion. Acknowledge that, and give your card, saying “We can’t really talk here, but I’d love to talk to you about this at a better time.” You can follow up by asking them when it would suit to call them, and ask if they have a card.
  5. When giving people your card, give three or four, they might pass them on to someone else. If you feel comfortable asking them to pass them on, do so.
  6. Keep a business card holder and cards in the room you work in, and in the waiting area if you have one. If you work in a centre, place a holder with your cards in all the public areas. You never know who might pick one up and give you a call.
  7. Take a pile of business cards to workshops and conferences. Give them to everyone you talk to.
  8. Include your cards in letters to prospective referrers eg doctors, who can them give them to patients when making a referral.
  9. Don’t print your mobile phone number on your card. Take a moment when giving a card to someone to write your number onto the card, it adds a personal touch.
  10. Hold onto business cards you’re given by others, even if you’re not interested in the services they offer. You may be asked by someone for a referral. They’re also a good example of different styles of design, which may help you when you’re redesigning yours.
  11. When you meet someone who might be a client, referral, or just someone whose work is interesting to you, give them your card and ask if they have one.
  12. Practice with a friend until you’re comfortable handing out and receiving business cards. It shows you’re at ease, which helps others feel at ease too.
  13. When someone gives you their card, take a good look at it, and ask a question or make a comment about the service they’re offering, about their design or business name. Acknowledge them by acknowledging their card.
  14. Give some cards to a client at the end of the first or last session. A client who has received a good experience with you is a great referral source.

Help! I Need A Room, Fast

What Do You Think of the Competition?

What comes to mind when you hear the word “competition”? For many people, it conjures up a sense of threat. But I wonder if you have ever thought of the competition as an asset?

A common topic of discussion among therapists is the challenge of isolation. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not just a feature of our profession, but of any profession where practitioners practice as sole entities. It’s appropriate to look to our professional bodies to support us in this and provide opportunities for us to meet and network. Both IAHIP and IACP are currently doing this, through networking meetings and CPD courses. However, the level of support that can be given from the bodies is limited, especially in organisations that have a small executive staff and rely heavily on volunteer support. Read more