CivicMatch: Tips for Success
Welcome to CivicMatch!
At CivicAction, we know we have a role to play in opening doors and closing opportunity gaps in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. We’re excited to connect Black rising leaders with senior leaders from the CivicAction Board of Directors through the CivicMatch pilot program.
We hope you’re looking forward to making a new connection with a C-suite leader in an upcoming virtual conversation this September.
- Read through this quick guide to help you prepare for your conversation.
- Join the Zoom call on the scheduled date/time for an hour-long conversation with a senior leader and up to four other rising leaders. Please note that CivicAction staff will not be present in the conversations. They will be hosted by the senior leaders with a flexible structure to accommodate what each rising leader may bring forward to the call.
- If there’s more you’d like to discuss with the senior leader after the conversation, consider how you can keep in touch and continue developing the professional relationship outside of CivicMatch.
Here are some tips to help you get ready for your discussion and stay connected after it.
Preparing for an engaging conversation:
- Make sure you download Zoom to your device and are comfortable with the software. If you’ve never used it before, do a test call to familiarize with it.
- Learn about the senior leader you’ve been matched with by reviewing their LinkedIn and their bio on the CivicAction website. Consider what organizations and networks they are a part of and how their leadership journey and experiences may connect to your career goals.
- Practice your elevator pitch! You’re sharing the timeslot with up to four other rising leaders, so come prepared to give quick highlights about yourself, the work you do, and any recent accomplishments.
- Be ready to
answer the question, “How can I help?” Before your call, take the time to
reflect on what your personal objectives are for the conversation. These could
include, but aren’t limited to:
- Seeking advice/support on a particular topic or challenge.
- Looking to be connected to a person, group or organization.
- Asking how doors can be opened to opportunities that will help advance your career or achieve specific goals.
- Setting up a follow-up call to continue to connect on an individual basis.
- Networking should be a two-way street! Regardless of experience levels, many successful professional connections are reciprocal in nature. Consider your own connections, networks, and experiences, and what you may be able to offer in support to others on the call.
Diving into virtual networking:
- Have a pen and paper or a virtual document ready, as each participant is responsible for taking their own notes (if you find notes helpful).
- Log into Zoom a few minutes early in case you experience any technical difficulties (we’ve all had that badly timed computer update…)
- Try to situate yourself in a workspace with limited background noise during the call. A best practice for Zoom is to mute yourself if you aren’t talking. Wearing headphones (with a microphone) can help with sound quality.
- We encourage you to stay on video during the call. However, if you find your internet connection is unstable, turning off your video can help.
- By the end of the conversation, be sure you’ve shared your LinkedIn profile in the Zoom chat. You may make great connections beyond just the senior leader!
- Most likely, the senior leader hosting the conversation will offer their contact information to stay in touch. If not, you can take the initiative to ask, “What’s the best way to stay in touch after this meeting?”
Don’t forget to follow-up:
- Connect with call participants on LinkedIn.
- Don’t discuss and dash! Following up to thank the senior leader for their time is not only a nice gesture, but a great way to keep the lines of communication open for the future.
- Reflect on
what you learned about the senior leader on the call, if they are aligned to
support your goals, and what your professional relationship could look like
moving forward. Then take initiative to reach out and follow-up on suggested
- If you’re looking to schedule a follow-up call in the near future, offer several timeslots that could work within a two-month parameter, recognizing that schedules may be busy.
- If a next step was already identified during the call, be sure to follow through and mention this action in your communication.
We hope these tips are helpful! If you have any questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.