With in-person meetings and networking events in full swing post-pandemic, area professionals are fully embracing the opportunity to once again make formative connections with their peers. While there are still plenty of virtual or hybrid events being hosted these days, there is no denying how eager folks are to interact face to face.
“The silver lining of the pandemic is that people have a better understanding [that it’s better to] connect with others in-person,” says Janet Garraty, executive director of the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce. “Seventy percent of communication is body language and human beings are built to interact, so when you take that away, you inhibit the ability to grow a relationship effectively. And that’s what we do, we are in the business of building relationships.”
That proved especially true for younger professionals who were unable to learn and develop the necessary skills for proper networking. To that end, Garraty’s chamber formed The Crew on D.E.C.K., an acronym for Development, Engagement, Connections and Knowledge. The group consists of young professionals within the first decade of their career and it’s something that Garraty feels is filling a much-needed void.
“It’s programming to help them build up those communication skills, so they can walk into a room and talk to someone who is 25 years older than them,” she says. “This will be one of the things that I think more organizations will recognize so people in their 20s can be more effective in growing their networks.”
With a renewed focus on interpersonal relationships and an emphasis on making programming and presentations more effective, the lessons learned during the pandemic’s pause are sure to help shape the South Jersey business landscape both now and well into the future.
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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 13, Issue 6 (July 2023).
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