From AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987
Google ‘networking’ and ‘CEO’, and you’re served up a plethora of events across the globe where C-suite executives have the opportunity to grow their professional network. It’s all very well to attend these events, but how do you get the most out of them and then continue to nurture the networks you build?
If you’re looking to deepen your professional network – and leverage the vast benefits that such relationships afford – here are five things to keep in mind.
1. Take the time to reach out
As an executive, you’ve no doubt got access to a strong network of professional peers – fellow board members, clients, investors, analysts and more. You need to take the initiative to keep these relationships current, which can be hard when your calendar is crowded with meetings and events. Don’t wait until you need something to reach out.
2. Find great matchmakers
We’re not talking about Greg Evans here. Your perfect match when it comes to networking may be your accountant or banker – someone who knows a lot of other people and can potentially introduce you to a valuable new business partner. This way, you can focus on managing your micro-network and they can cast a wider net for you.
3. Show your worth
In today’s fast-paced business environment, people are less likely to connect with you if you don’t have anything to offer them. If you’re confident that you want to connect with someone, make the first move by offering up support or advice to them. They will be much more likely to reciprocate down the track.
4. Use technology to your advantage
While nothing matches face-to-face meetings to strengthen relationships, technology is now a vital tool in the networking process. Many believe the gold standard for executive networking is LinkedIn. Here, you could find groups that are relevant to your business, participate in these groups and make relevant connections. You could also maintain connections via Twitter, or create a blog to share your learning with peers. Identify which tools work best for you, and use them to your advantage.
5. Remember, it’s not about selling
No matter what your agenda or why you want to connect with another professional, remember that networking is not about selling. You won’t get far if you try to push a product or service in front of another executive’s face. Instead, at the C-suite level, you should be building legitimate professional networks that are mutually beneficial – you really can help each other solve business problems.