About the Speed Networking Session 

Optional Networking Session: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | 12:00-12:30 pm CT

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The purpose of this session is to provide students/trainees, doctoral students, post-doc fellows, faculty, staff, clinicians and family members (LEND) affiliated with the MCHB-funded programs in Regions V or VII with a virtual opportunity to learn more about each other’s interests, work and research in maternal and child health (MCH). 

By the end of the workshop, participants should have spent time with at least 4 MCHers, exchanging information, and planting seeds for potential partnerships, collaborations and relationships down the road. Speed networking is beneficial and fun for all attendees, but especially for trainees and other new professionals who are looking to grow their post-graduation connections. 

Preparing for the Speed Networking Session 

  • Add the Zoom meeting link to your calendar. The networking session Zoom link is different from the Conference webinar link.
  • Read this entire tip sheet/FAQ so you know what to expect.
  • Read the biographies of those registered for the networking session so that you know who you may be meeting with.
  • Review the prompts and icebreakers provided at the bottom of this document, which can help promote conversation. Think about the questions you might ask who you’re matched with, so you’re prepared with discussion points. It will also be important for you to think about how you might answer the applicable questions. You don’t have to use these questions–they’re a guide for those who want them.
  • Compile a list of resources that you may want to share via chat or as a follow up. If you’re talking about a project, collaboration, piece of research, etc. that you’re involved in and excited about, it might be helpful to share with your networking partner during the session by cutting/pasting into the chat, or including as links in any follow up emails you send.
  • Consider printing out this document, the ice breaker questions and the biographies of attendees, highlighting things that interest you, and writing yourself notes on questions you have about others’ work/interests. 

On Speed Networking Day

  • Re-read this document, the biographies and any notes you took. Have them nearby so you can refer to them.
  • Use the bios to supplement conversations. The purpose of providing the bios beforehand is so that the speed networking doesn’t become a recitation of our biographies to one another. The bios provide background and allow the speed networking session to facilitate deeper (albeit short!) live conversations. 
  • Arrive at noon CT. Speed networking is fast-paced and relies on an accurate headcount, so the speed networking itself will commence no later than 12:02 pm.
  • Make sure your camera is on and your audio is working. The success of your connection relies on your technology, so make sure everything is ready to go before the networking session!

During the Speed Networking Session

  • Conference organizers will provide a brief welcome and instructions
  • Two participants will immediately be placed in their first breakout room. They’ll be switched every 6-7 minutes, giving a total of 4 rotations.
  • You’ll be told when there is one minute remaining of your session. 
  • The “matching” will be random, so students may be matched with other students, faculty with faculty, students with faculty, family members with fellows and many other configurations, making this a semi-structured, informal and free-flowing way for people to meet and re/connect.
  • Have fun! 
  • We’ll bring you all back to the main room just before 12:30 pm CT to close the session.

Networking Icebreakers & Other Prompts

If you’re wondering what tools you might use to break the ice, here are a series of prompts that you can choose from (or use your own!) that can help reach beneath the surface:

  1. What made you choose MCH over other areas of public health?
  2. What advice would you have for someone entering the MCH field?
  3. What is/was your favorite MCH class and why? 
  4. What do you enjoy the most about teaching?
  5. What networking tips or tricks do you have? 
  6. How do you use experiences from graduate school in your current work?
  7. What’s the best thing you did to prepare for your professional career?
  8. What is something that you did not do or study but wished you had?
  9. Was there a specific job or intern experiences that prepared you for your work? What was it?
  10. What’s your favorite part of your work/school?
  11. What’s one thing you are super passionate about doing (or enjoying)?
  12. What are you working on right now that excites you the most?
  13. Do you work with communities? What has been the most rewarding aspect of working with community members? 
  14. How do you incorporate diversity and health equity into your work?
  15. What are some of your favorite things to do /watch /read for inspiration? How did you get into the role you are in now?
  16. Did you always know that this is what you wanted to do with your career?
  17. What’s been one of your biggest career/school/life accomplishments?
  18. What do you enjoy most about your job/school/life right now, and why?
  19. How have you adapted to working and living while social distancing?
  20. What’s something unexpected and positive that’s come out of the changes over the last two years?
  21. Can you share a story of resiliency you’ve witnessed during the pandemic?

Post-Speed Networking

Did you make some good connections? Wonderful–mission accomplished! Now you can follow up via email. Let them know it was great meeting them, what you enjoyed connecting about, to request a virtual meeting or to follow up on something that was shared. You can also connect on LinkedIn or find them on social media.