March 19, 2024 3 min read

Build Strong Connections

You registered to attend a virtual networking event like, NXT Connections and you’re nervous. You’re confident in your skills and yourself, but when it comes to networking, you don’t know where to start. While you may feel uneasy, you’re likely not the only one. That’s why we’ve pulled some tips from the CMA’s marketing team to help students and young professionals prepare for an event focused on building strong connections through networking.

Craft Your Brand

Your brand encompasses everything from your presentation style, LinkedIn profile, and even your virtual background, to the qualities, expertise, and attitude you contribute to the marketing community. Essentially, your brand mirrors who you are and the work you do. Therefore, our advice is to take the time to set up your space, whether it involves rearranging your home office for optimal lighting or considering how you present yourself. Remember, being at home doesn't mean you can't dress as if you were attending an in-person event!

Practice Your Pitch

Practice your elevator pitch so it sounds natural when connecting with peers, industry professionals and potential mentors at networking events. Focus on emphasizing your skills, pursuits, and ambitions creatively. You only have 30 seconds to introduce yourself and highlight your skills, pursuits, and ambitions, so make it memorable.

Polish Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile represents you and your brand 24/7. It houses your digital resume and allows you to make new connections with people with similar interests from anywhere at any time. Take some time to craft your LinkedIn profile to act as an extension of your brand so you can continue making connections when the event is over.

Be the Art of Conversation

Your conversations should showcase your insight into current marketing trends and demonstrate your curiosity and knowledge. It doesn’t hurt to read up on the latest marketing news and think of some talking points to be ready to add to the conversation.

Share the Spotlight  

Listening and avoiding monopolizing the discussion is crucial when engaging in virtual conversations. By giving everyone a chance to speak and showing genuine interest in their narratives and experiences, you not only make the conversation more enjoyable, but also foster understanding and respect, enhancing the quality of your interactions.

 

Maintain a Professional Presence

Remember, even in a virtual environment, it's essential to uphold professionalism. Ensure your camera is on, your background is appropriate, and you're dressed professionally (no hoodies). Your name and tagline should also reflect your status, area of study, or professional interest, demonstrating your commitment and respect for the platform and other participants.

Don’t Forget to Follow-Up!

Having a great conversation isn’t the end. You must maintain momentum by reaching out to those professionals with whom you’ve established a connection. Aim for a personalized follow-up that may relate to what you’ve spoken about or have in common. The more personalized the follow-up, the better the chance of maintaining the connection.

Show The World

Selling yourself is an important skill to develop. It allows you to get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, build professional relationships, and learn about the field you’re pursuing from the experiences of those you meet. Remember, networking is a vital skill you need to develop to show the world what you’re capable of.



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