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30 Nov, 2020

Event Recap: Bringing Back the Best of “Bringing Back the Best of Build Business: Virtual Version”

Jen McGovern

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Event Recap  
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Read time: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

In early November, SMPS DC hosted our annual “Bringing Back the Best of Build Business” program, a program that shares lessons learned from the most recent SMPS national conference, Build Business, held in October. So yes, you’re reading that correctly: This is a summary blog post of a summary program of a three-day conference.

Our “Bringing Back the Best of Build Business” program featured three SMPS DC members speaking on their top takeaways from this year’s conference. Pipper Moseley, CPSM, is the Principal of PM Designs. She has served on the Washington DC chapter's Board of Directors in numerous roles, including Chapter President in 2017-2018, and has recently been appointed to the national SMPS Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Jessica Gillette, CPSM, is a Marketing Specialist with christopher consultants. Jessica served on the 2018-2020 SMPS DC Board as Director of Special Events and received the 2017 SMPS DC Rising Star Award. Amy P. Cuddy, CPSM, is a Senior Associate and Director of Marketing Operations at Ayers Saint Gross. She currently serves on the SMPS DC Board of Directors as the Treasurer and continues to support the CPSM study group program.

Pipper spoke first, highlighting CPSM Day. CPSM Day is a half-day program held before the conference officially begins that brings together Certified Professional Services Marketers (CPSMs) for professional development. This year, SMPS decided to make CPSM Day free to all CPSMs, leading to much greater participation—more than 300 CPSMs attended! The program centered around breakout sessions on the topics of Business Development in a Virtual World, Leveraging Your CPSM to Elevate Your Career, Maintaining Your Go/No-Go and Proposal Approach, Marketing During Times of Uncertainty, and Working from Home. Top takeaway: Selection committees have less time than ever and are reviewing and discussing proposals virtually—you need to be considering that in your go/no-go discussions and during proposal preparation.

Jessica talked about the opening keynote presentation by Mark Schulman, the drummer for P!nk, who discussed the importance of having a positive mindset towards life and work—thinking about tasks in terms of “I get to _____” versus “I have to ____.” She also summarized a MAX talk by Javier Suarez entitled “Life with Pablo: Lessons from My Autistic Son,” which focused on the importance of being patient, embracing and highlighting what makes you unique, and researching what you don’t know. Jessica closed by talking about the theme of scenario planning that appeared through a few sessions—especially in unexpected circumstances like the current pandemic, it’s important to have a plan in place of “If X happens, we will do Y.” Top takeaway: It’s important to be vulnerable and open to new ideas—if you’re in business development, you’re in the business of rejection and have to get used to hearing a lot of “nos” before you start hearing mostly “yeses.”

Amy shared her takeaways from Dena Wyatt’s presentation on virtual interviews. Whether virtual or in-person, her tips for helping presenters include having people stand up to project more energy (but make sure to use a standing desk or put the laptop on boxes so the camera remains eye level), encouraging vocal variety to engage listeners, and preparing “intentional content” rather than a script—keep it simple and practice, practice, practice. Amy also discussed the session Leading from Where You Are presented by Marion Thatch, which focused on the five steps to effective leadership: build your network, hone your communication skills, seek out experience, invest in others, and develop yourself. Amy wrapped up with the closing keynote presented by actor Kim Coles, who talked about “pivoting with purpose” and offered a resource of a free storytelling exercise at www.storywithkim.com. Top takeaway: Think about your perspective—what can this present challenge teach you or how can you use this challenge to teach others.

While we missed the networking and casual conversations that usually take place at Build Business, SMPS got creative with the use of multiple virtual platforms and created a robust online conference that provided a wide variety of opportunities for professional development. We look forward to the 2021 conference (and the 2021 Bringing Back the Best of Build Business program) next year!