Five Ways to Make Your Connections Count

2016 NAWMBA Conference

Key Insights from NAWMBA Conference

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is truer than you.” -Dr. Seuss

Connect with Confidence was the theme of this year’s National Association of Women MBAs Conference and this statement from Dr. Seuss couldn’t be more appropriate. Over three days, leaders and future leaders were inspired, refreshed and uplifted, by remarkable speakers who shared their experiences and knowledge about the best ways to connect. Attendees were encouraged to be their authentic selves, because only then, can meaningful connections flourish.

The conference featured multiple concurrent sessions on topics ranging from Being and Staying Great on the Job, to Leveraging Technology to build your Personal Brand. As an MBA Student, currently engrossed in core business management courses, I was reminded of the value of being deliberate in shaping my life. This process includes a conscious effort to enhance my community and to reciprocate accordingly, to keep the cycle turning.

Here are my key insights from the conference, including advice from some presenters:

  1. Connect to your strength – Asking for help is not a weakness, but a strength. The key is knowing how to ask. First, have an opinion and then be thoughtful about the ask. Start the conversation with what you’ve done and then be clear about the areas in which you need help. As Jodi Glickman, author of Great on the Job said at the workshop, “It is better to be smart and wrong, than silent.”
  2. Connect the proverbial dots – Feedback can make professionals better at their jobs. Therefore, they should get valuable information that can help them succeed. It is important to be specific about what is needed to develop, but make it as easy as possible to get the feedback.
  3. Connect with your authentic self – What is your brand saying about you? The key to building a good brand is to start with a compelling, genuine message. Use online platforms to add value, but ensure the message is deliberate. To successfully connect with key players in your target industry, be strategic about building relationships. Engage. Get involved in groups, ask insightful questions. Join the conversation. People will take notice and that’s how to build a network!
  4. Connect with customers – Data gives clues about human behavior, which allows us to make decisions that enhance the customer experience. Use insight from the data to make connections that drive business growth. According to Amy Machesney, global advanced technology strategy manager, Ford Motor Company: “Use the data available to get the right message to the right customer in the right way. Getting a personalized message to the customer makes the whole customer experience enjoyable and beneficial.”
  5. Connect with results – Speak confidently about the value you bring, with measured results. In your career, doing so will be the differentiating factor between what you say you can do, and what you’ve actually been able to achieve. Julie McReynolds, board member, Nashville Chapter of American Marketing Association said it best: “Measure everything; whether you are volunteering or in the corporate world. Being able to show the results of what you are doing, adds to your credibility.”

So what does this add up to? Building connections requires time and effort, so focus on the quality of your relationships. Your actions could open the gateway to opportunity.

Kimberly Douglas ’18 MBA
Student, Full-time MBA Program
Kimberly is an MBA candidate at the University of Connecticut, specializing in digital marketing strategy and analytics. She has significant experience in marketing, business development, human resources management and retail management. In her most recent role, she managed a retail portfolio of 19 retail stores and has successfully led large teams toward the achievement of corporate goals. View Posts