Executives are typically short of one thing – time. They need to make the most of where they invest their energy and presence so they’re (wisely) protective about the events they attend. Executives also need to build their personal network before they need to use it. But who is your ideal network?
Typically, your best connections will look like the person who looks back at you in the mirror. So they’re going to be intelligent, motivated, a leader, energetic, a role model for their community and ready to help others achieve their potential. Hanging with peers who play at your level will help you up your game — as well as theirs — and enhance your ability to reach out as needed for future opportunities. After all, your network is your net worth.
The most successful business leaders are really incredible at building relationships. Here’s the challenge: how do you make the most of your time, build your network and talk business with your peers in a no-pressure environment? (By the way, we value this too so ask us if we have any events coming up.)
To leverage your time, attend events where groups of your peers will gather. It’s important to maximize your presence and ability to make in-person connections. Attending events naturally enhances the number of connections you can make in a condensed period of time. And in such events, there is no pressure to close on an opportunity — only to meet and greet or catch-up.
The key to building a good network is to do so before you need it. Then, as you build your network, including current and future business and technology partners, cross-referral partners and strategic alliance partners, cultivate your new (and existing) relationships by touching base quarterly. Again, to make the most of your time, this touch-base could be an email, a quick phone or video call, or even during other events.
By choosing to attend events focused around your interest areas, you are assured to at least enjoy the subject matter, even if you don’t meet potential connections. However, that is rarely what happens because it is only natural to bond with people who have shared interests. By virtue of being social with your peers, there’s an automatic authenticity and conversation starters that can easily lead to continuing professional relationships.
“Personal relationships are how successful business is done. Technology can help leverage time and connections but the real secret is the degree of authenticity in relationships. As a CEO, I always enjoy learning from my peers in low-key social environments where we can go beyond transactional networking and get into what we really care about which sets the stage for on-going conversations,”Dennis Robinson, CEO, XTIVIA.
Call it power networking, mingling or rubbing elbows, reclaim time by spending less of it meeting the right people by attending interesting events that will attract your peers. When you network properly, it can yield relationships and results for years to come.