Making connections – networking – is a key piece of a powerful career development plan. Making connections for growth and development is a little different than traditional networking though. Career Connectedness – networking for development – is often more focused and intentional than typical networking.

Here’s an example I was fortunate to observe last week as a Talent Dimensions/PRISM International host of the 2019 Association of ERG and Council Conference and awards program in Orlando. During one of the group sessions, I watched professionals who are immersed in the diversity and inclusion work they are so passionate about share, learn and connect over three days at Disney’s Yacht Club Convention Center. These dedicated people celebrated some amazing accomplishments, were transparent about the challenges they face and open about their goals and plans.

Conferences aren’t the only way to build connections of course. There are multiple ways to reach out – to add to your network – to learn from others – to deepen understanding – to explore – and to broaden perspectives. The key is to be intentional about the connections you make.

Some tips I watched play out last week – tips that apply to ANY intentional development-related effort to connect…

Be specific! Conference participants asked great questions of one another and of presenters, “What did you do when…? What gets in the way? What poses the greatest challenge?”

…Be open! They were candid with one another, “Here’s where we’re struggling. Here’s what got the best results. Here’s something we tried that worked…or didn’t work.”

Learn! Throughout the conference I watched people connect with one another, with diversity and inclusion experts, with fellow professionals across industries and organizations to exchange ideas and learn.

When your organization’s ready to explore career development, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion – and the powerful ways these important areas intersect, contact Talent Dimensions to learn from our decades of experience helping clients build and deliver sustainable and inclusive employee growth and development strategies.