I’ve heard some people say they would rather have a root canal than have to attend a networking event. These people are often shy, introverted, don’t have an inspiring networking coach, have perfect teeth, have never attended a networking event, have never had root canal (or any dental surgery), and/or have absolutely no pain receptors in their mouths.

Therefore, I have prepared this helpful comparative analysis of root canal versus networking because:

a) I am a networking coach: I love to network and empower other professionals to experience the joys and benefits of networking, without stress or pain.

b) I have had multiple root canals: including two joyless root canals in the past eighteen months, and two extremely painful root canal related procedures this week. I would much rather be networking.


Let’s Compare and Contrast:


  1. Blood

Root Canal: There will be blood.

Networking: There is no bloodletting. It might just feel like it. For example, if you meet someone so boring, sleazy, or annoying that they suck the life force out of you. And yet, no actual blood.


  1. Other Bodily Fluids

Root Canal: You will drool all over yourself in front of strangers.

Networking: You should not drool at networking events.


  1. Attire 

Root Canal:  I recommend wearing clothing you can disinfect and / or burn after your appointment. I wear red to root canals to hide the blood splatter and drool (see points 1 and 2). 

Networking: I recommend wearing industry appropriate attire to networking events, ideally outfits that make you feel confident and that reflect your personality and style. I often wear red to networking events because it is my brand color, and one of my favorite colors. Wearing red also helps me stand out. (Although there is rarely a chance of me blending in anywhere, anyhow).


  1. Communication Skills

Root Canal: You cannot speak properly or communicate effectively during a root canal. You can grunt, moan, stifle your screams (or not), get yelled at for screaming, and learn to use a variety of hand signals, some of which are not so polite.

Networking: You should primarily use words to communicate. You should speak clearly, without cursing or shrieking. You may use publicly appropriate hand gestures for dramatic effect, or at noisy events. Professional networking, done properly, does not involve grunting, moaning, or screaming.


  1. Social Interaction

Root Canal: Although I am a proud extrovert, I do not find root canal appointments useful for making new friends or conducive to developing business contacts. I am typically in a nasty mood at these appointments. Also, blood, drool, pain, and screaming do not create a positive first impression. I would prefer the receptionist, technicians, dentists, and oral surgeons to be nice to me. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. 

Networking: Developing strategic relationships, making new friends, building referral sources, accessing resources, and connecting with other human beings are the wonderful benefits of networking. When you know how to interact effectively, your networking experiences can be social, productive, and fun.


  1. Physical Contact

Root Canal: You must sign a consent form allowing a bunch of strangers to stick their fingers, hands, needles, probes, and other instruments of torture into your mouth.

Networking: People should never put their hands into other people’s mouths at networking events. Handshakes are the most acceptable form of physical contact. If you like to hug, and feel a connection, ask the other person if they are a hugger too. A kiss on the cheek may be acceptable as well – or a kiss on both cheeks, as we do in my hometown of Montreal. Whatever your own preferences, please respect other people’s boundaries. And never ever offer to stick your fingers or hands into anyone’s mouth at a networking event. It’s weird, and it’s wrong.


  1. Stitches

 Root Canal: May require stitches.

 Networking: Is non-violent social interaction. See section on physical contact. If you need stitches after networking, you’re doing it wrong.


  1. Medication

Root Canal: May require antibiotics and painkillers.

Networking: Should not require antibiotics or painkillers. If it does, you’re probably engaged in something other than business networking …  and that’s nsfw, btw. (seriously, wtf?)


  1. Time

Root Canal: Often includes many (too many!) appointments to achieve the necessary outcomes. These procedures interfere with your business and social calendars. These are not fun, productive, or relaxing blocks of time – for the patient.

Networking: Encompasses multiple and ongoing activities throughout the course of your career and your life and yields awesome benefits. Time spent connecting with other people is time invested in creating valuable opportunities, productive experiences, and positive memories. Take the time to network.


  1. Cost

Root Canal: Root canals are expensive. The less complicated the procedures, and the less appointments required, the better for the patients and their bank accounts. But you don’t get to choose.

Networking: Networking does not have to be expensive. There are many options for networking events, association memberships, and conferences fees. A networking coach can help you choose activities that fit your budget and also deliver significant ROI. Small investments – and small networking coaches – can produce huge results. Networking pays off.


  1. Expertise

Root Canal:  Should only be conducted in a licensed dental, periodontal, or endodontic facility, by certified professionals. Do not seek treatment from a self-taught ‘dental professional’ who uses air quotes.

Networking: Can and should be done by and with anyone, anywhere, anytime. There are no expensive degrees, board exams, certifications, or licensing needed to network. You can: learn the principles and techniques of networking on your own and from others, lead by example, practice often, and improve your skills and outcomes every time you network. And anyone can participate in professional coaching, workshops, and related services conducted by the talented, experienced, and gentle Dr. Fireball.   


  1. Why Do It?

Root Canal: Performed when medically necessary. Painful procedure (s) necessary to remedy tooth damage and bone decay, alleviate acute pain, and avoid long term complications and extractions. No one undergoes root canal for the fun of it, or because it sounds cool, or because it seems like a strategic career move. Or to avoid networking. At least I hope not…hence this article.

Networking: Not medically required. And yet, scientific research proves that developing strong social networks and support systems will: enhance wellness and wellbeing; improve physical, psychological, emotional, and mental health; boost the immune system; create happiness and positive vibes; develop business, career, and personal growth opportunities; and create a positive and lasting impact on individuals, organizations, and communities. And while you may experience mild discomfort while building your networking muscles and skills, this temporary pain transforms into long term, permanent gain, fame, fortune, and fun. Networking is really, really, really good for you and for the people in your life.


Conclusion: *Spoiler Alert* Networking is sooo much better than root canal!

 Now, dear Fireballs, I am getting out of the dentist’s chair, and getting out to connect with people.

If you want to learn to network without stress, shrieking, pain, or embarrassing drool, please contact me. Unlike root canal, my consultations can include hard candies, caramels, and hot and cold beverages.  And they don’t require a spatter bib or a drill. Let’s talk.