Virtual Networking: A Vital Skill

08 Feb


Shifting to virtual networking poses many considerations for even the most charismatic marketer. Every professional is finding their footing with technology, etiquette and scheduling. According to a recent LinkedIn News article, “lockdowns have caused professional networks to shrink by 17%”. Virtual adjustments and distractions have led to discomfort and a lack of confidence in the networking sphere.

Communication skills are focused and strengthened throughout the Chartered Marketer (CM) online program. Using an applied learning approach, participants develop networking skills from day one. Gaining experience on how to network effectively improves the resilience of marketers who place relationship building at the top of their list, without a second thought.

Key Benefits of Networking

The importance of sharpening up your networking skills will leave you prepared for all possibilities of professional growth. Granted it can be nerve-wracking to start or restart regardless of where you are in your career. The CMA understands this and values the benefits of networking by providing such opportunities, including the Chartered Marketer.

Integrating the many benefits of networking into the CM program is essential for the success of the future marketing leaders the program strives to groom. As participants in the program progress, knowing how to foster new relationships with their fellow peers allows them to practice both professional and business networking tactics. In doing this, they discover the importance of networking without becoming overwhelmed.

With that in mind, the benefits can be summarized as:

Professional man wearing headphone and speaking on video call. Gaining Confidence: just like with any new skill, networking gets more comfortable with practice. Making virtual networking a regular part of your career routine slowly builds confidence like a crescendo. From knowing how to reach out, to which platform to use for video calls, confidence will resonate in every interaction.

Strengthening Communication Skills: knowing what to say and how to say it seems to be what expert networkers have a knack for but make no mistake, this too is a practiced skill. Marketers rely on their communication skills to express creative ideas, strategize next steps or summarize key results. Being able to steer the conversation with colleagues and new connections is a different scene but uses the same muscle.

Support & Trust: as networks begin to expand, marketers find themselves supported by trusted and esteemed peers and mentors across industries. This network provides opportunities to stay informed, share ideas and gain new perspectives for career growth. In the CM program, the importance of mentorship is emphasized by having participants seek out a mentor to learn or become a mentor oneself starting in Core 1. This is again revisited in the Summit Course as participants are paired with a CM Advisor, individuals who hold the designation and have a wealth of senior marketing experience, who will aid them in the final assignments.

How Virtual Networking Opens Virtual Doors

With Zoom fatigue more prevalent and known, we are all finding new ways to stay connected while being considerate of our networks. With this flexibility in mind, staying engaged is easier than ever with technology taking full reign. Marketers who learn to adapt to this new mode of communication showcase outside the box thinking.

Video meetings are not the only sure way to online network. The CM program recognizes this and has implemented communication between participants through the platform’s built-in communication boards and forums. This open line of messaging allows for concerns to be raised and discussed in real-time. This way, participants feel supported in the program and waste no time focusing on their studies.

Hands typing on keyboard with social icon imageryConnections are also made beyond the program and virtual networking events, as social networks become the norm and alternative in place of a phone number or business card. More than “67% of Canada’s population is now connected to a social network” and is predicted to increase to 80% by 2025. What was once frowned upon in professional circles has become an acceptable channel to stay in touch. This is especially true through the increased popularity of LinkedIn, the largest social network designed for professionals.

All of this is to say that online or virtual networking has evolved in today’s world and the convenience of that change looks to remain in place.

Online Learning Bridging Online Networking

Online networking shouldn’t be a low priority when assessing which professional development path is best — especially when considering the many pros vs, the cons. With the CM program, online learning and online networking blend together to create an enriching and interactive experience for today’s Canadian marketers.

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