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By Heather, Lehman, CAE, KCSAE Director

As fall marches into winter, many of our associations have held their annual meetings or conferences virtually this year, many for the first time. Previously, one might have attended conferences to network and connect with our peers. As many of us are finding out, in the virtual environment, connecting and networking are different than in person. But just because it is different does not mean it cannot also be good. The basics still apply, making authentic and intentional connections.

In the virtual environment, it is hard to have those “hallway” conversations between sessions, or chats over coffee during a break. Networking can still thrive if done in an intentional manner. Seeking out opportunities to connect with others, utilizing technology to an advantage. Many companies are now using Zoom or Microsoft Teams on a regular basis. Instead of meeting someone for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, make an appointment to chat over Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Being intentional in seeking out connections and during this strange time – and maintain contacts. Recently a fellow KCSAE member, Shelley Wales with the Grant Professional Association, has started a monthly chat for those in her network who work within the chapter relations area. She has brought together a few of us here in Kansas City, but also connecting to others across the country. Once a month, we intentionally meet and discuss how we are assisting our chapters and seeking advise from others who are in our shoes. This is a grassroots effort started out of the pandemic. And it is one that grows each month with intention.

Making a connection is one thing, but to make that connection last it needs to be authentic. For the connections you make to thrive, you need to have a genuine interest in creating and deepening relationships. Being true to yourself and allowing others to truly see you, creates an open atmosphere and allows others to do the same. Allowing others to assist you in making the most of your connections.

In person or virtual, making connections and building relationships takes effort. I encourage each of you to utilize the opportunities available to us to strengthen the KCSAE community.

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