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Networking for Introverts

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 25, 2019

I hope many of you are getting excited to attend EDS19 – it’s right around the corner! Being a heightened introvert, once I start thinking about a Conference my hands start sweating, I often get a headache and my heart starts beating quickly! Perhaps some of you have these same kinds of feelings.

Well colleagues, rest easy!! EDS19 is a GREAT opportunity to network with a terrific group of Seasoned Professionals that are also your friends. There will be so many chances to be in structured environments where you can start conversations about an industry that you are all so familiar with! What a fabulous place to test the waters and have fun all at the same time!

I recently came across an article in Forbes Magazine by Andrew Vest about Networking. He says that in its purest form, networking is about people enjoying other people, communicating passions and connecting with others who share those passions. This is exactly what EdSymposium offers each of us! One of the amazing benefits we each realize from our membership to SDA is the opportunity to share passions with those that work in the same industry. You are the subject matter expert in your role at your firm. There is immediate comfort with having the ability to speak from the heart, with confidence that your knowledge is powerful. Additionally, your knowledge quite possibly can help someone else do their job even better. SDA is a group of people that want to help for the betterment of all – this is a great foundation to have a conversation with all SDA members. Share common conversation; get to know about their interests; share insights that have helped you in the past; continue building genuine relationships.

A few other thoughts about jumping into the Networking fun:

Fundamentally, everyone in the room is your equal. No one is unimportant, and everything your colleagues have to say is worthwhile on some level.

  1. Be present to each person in every conversation you find yourself during any common time throughout the Conference. Really listen to people. There is always some useful nugget of information you can take away – consider those nuggets of information your bag of goodies! Share your insights – remember that what you say is equally important.
  2. Have sincere eye contact with people all the time. There is nothing worse than having a conversation with someone and see the other person glaze over and not really be paying attention to what you are saying. If you are the listener, don’t be trying to think about the next question you are going to ask. Pay attention to what’s being said right there, in that moment. Look the other person in the eye and really hear what they are telling you. Don’t be looking around the room trying to figure out how you can get out of talking to them or where else you can go to start your next conversation.
  3. Think about connecting the dots of your networks. Each of us brings knowledge and relationships to EDSymposium – even if you are a first-time attendee, you bring new and fresh insights to whatever your conversation is about. Think about who you know in your network that might have a connection to someone else that might share a similar problem; or use the same software to handle their work; or is going through an upgrade you or someone you know has gone through; or has the same kind of pet; or lives in the same state; or has tried the same restaurant. The list of ways to connect your relationship dots is endless.
  4. Bring your business cards with you. Exchange them with people. Plan to follow up with people after EDS19 is over. Drop a quick email and say hello. Ask them how things are going. Pick up the phone and have a quick call with someone to ask how that upgrade went. Do something to continue your conversation. That is one of the best possible ways to grow and enhance your network!

There is no question about it, SDA provides us the best possible venue to have a highly successful networking experience. Join us at EDS19 to take advantage of getting to know your industry colleagues! If not this year, plan to attend EDS20! Try networking – you won’t regret it!

What are some tips that you have to offer about in-person networking events? Share them in the comment box below.

Marie Tamala, CDFA is an Associates and the Data/Project Analyst at
Cuningham Group Architecture in Minneapolis, MN.

 She currently serves as the 2018-2019 SDA National Secretary 



Tags:  EDS19  Networking  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Building Your Networks

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 17, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2018

What does the term “Networking” mean to you? Does it conjure images of going to a social function where you awkwardly stand around waiting to find someone to talk to? Or do you think of it as something only our firms’ marketing and business development staff are responsible for, so you, as an administrative professional, don’t even think about it?

While we would hope that our firm’s marketing and business development staff would be busy networking 24/7, the reality is that it everyone’s responsibility to network on behalf of their firm. Relationships are often the key ingredient to firms learning about projects as well as winning those projects.

Below are some common, easy and effective ways to begin building your networks.

Social Media. Think of your favorite platforms and start using them to connect with others in our industry. My personal favorite one is LinkedIn because the focus in on building your business/professional network. You can easily check your feed a few times a week to see who is doing what, find out about industry events, who has started a new position, great articles to share with others, and other people that you can invite to join SDA. Make sure to check through the suggested people to connect with that LinkedIn provides you. You might find out that the person you went to college with years ago is now a vendor that you have been thinking about utilizing for office supplies (this actually happened to me)! Don’t forget to utilize these platforms to join SDA’s social media sites:





 Company/Industry Events. Meet and get to know others better by introducing yourself to the presenters and other attendees at:

  • Corporate parties
  • Corporate education sessions
  • Project meetings
  • Receptionist duties

How are you connecting with others in SDA through your chapter meetings, EDSymposium, canstruction® and other associated events and opportunities? Are you introducing yourself and offering help to your fellow members? Almost two years ago, I was offered a great opportunity for at a different company because of my connections through SDA.


Personal Networks. Your very first network began with your family and from there you began building your friend network. These are some of the very best networks to grow and nurture. What opportunities await you and your family as you share that Thanksgiving turkey? How about graduation parties, weddings and even funerals? These are some of the biggest and best networking opportunities because people often ask you what you do for work or what your interests are.


Many of you also have some great hobbies and volunteer in your communities. Who are you meeting and getting to know through those great activities? How can you leverage your knowledge and skills to help others out?

You have so many networks that you have already worked hard to build, including your network through SDA at both the local chapter and national levels. Consider reaching out to others in your chapter to discuss how you can better network both as an individual and as a chapter. You will begin to see many new opportunities come your way by putting even a little extra effort into it.

What are you doing to expand your network? Share your methods in the comment box below.



Danika Larson, CDFA, is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at

Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. in Minneapolis, MN.


Tags:  Connections  Networking  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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