It doesn’t pay to hang back when it comes to chatting up and sharing info with your strategic contacts. The sky really is the limit and the only way to get up there is really to ensure that you, and your network, are giving and receiving in equal measure. By Vanessa Rogers.
Before you reached senior executive level in your sector, you may not have given much thought to your professional development. When asked about method of moving on from one position to another, you may simply have said that you’d look online and apply for “something interesting” when your current position either got a little tired or stopped providing relevant growth. But now that you’re older (not necessarily uglier) and definitely much wiser, the saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” is likely to resonate.
In fact, a Forbes.com article suggests that networking for senior executives is not just about swopping what you know, but can also forge a pathway “for long-term relationships with mutual benefits”. Why? Because those who have struck out and are seen to have succeeded in their sector, often reflect in media interviews about the strength of their networks.
Think of it this way: you’re engaged on your laptop at a neighbourhood coffee shop and see a former contact of yours engaged in a meeting. You go over to say “Hi” and your contact introduces you to their colleague, who urgently needs a service that your agency provides. On the other hand, a big retainer client of yours needs a hotshot MC for an upcoming virtual event, which is just your contact’s professional niche. Cards and details are swopped, and – in these disconnected COVID-19 times – you go back to your table feeling invigorated by the fact that you made the first move.
Yes, this sort of networking is honest and highly promotional for all involved. You notice a way in which you can contribute to someone else’s success, just as they stand to score from what you know or a skill you have honed. And, of course, it works well out there in the real, physical world of offices, coffee shops, restaurants and sport clubs; but we’ve all learned a disconnect lesson from the hardest pandemic lockdowns. So: how can you carry on networking at this strategic level when holed up at home – or, when you’re working so hard that you have little time and energy to get out and about?
The answer lies in choosing strategic networking platforms that provide: 1) intelligent conversation and the swopping of hotshot ideas; 2) easy access to high-level advertised positions, without needing to expose your interest in these or application for them within the public domain; and 3) other individuals at your level (or above) to draw inspiration or advice from, just as you may offer the same in both the everyday, and the challenging, times ahead.Strategic choices
The point we’re making? Your connections really can be powerful if you’re out of the public eye and networking among similarly skilled and experienced individuals, on a portal where the board and executive-level jobs simply keep…on… coming. One such platform, which offers its esteemed members a range of networking opportunities among an international peer group of C-Suite and board directors, is Boardroom International. Being both unique and exclusive, this platform allows thought leadership to flourish and encourages discussion around the regulatory issues and current business trends that concern us all. While you can, both here and elsewhere, tap into confidential virtual business groups where key topics are addressed in the global context; on Boardroom International, you will also enjoy access to a regular slew of jobs that only you and your crew on the platform are sufficiently skilled to take on.
Still unsure about putting yourself out there? There are many highly skilled, yet cautious, executives among us…. But let’s get back to the same Forbes.com article in which author, Bianca Miller Cole, advises us that: “Networking is the key tool to growth in a resourceful career… The self-confidence that has been built over time can help put you on a positive spot whenever you interact with like minds in your career. This also gives you an opportunity to excel … during interview sessions for a job opportunity. So, the more effectively you network, the more self-confidence you build over time.”
In essence, tap into that inner voice as you gear up to network strategically. And ask yourself: are you networking in a give-and-take fashion? This can serve to provide solid, ongoing relationships. Are you making use of a channel or the platform best suited to your needs? You should feel comfortable, and not exposed, as you may do on a traditional social media platform. Yes – networking can spur you on to greater heights if relationships are set up to offer mutual benefits, and both your goals and those of your contacts receive adequate attention and mutual investment. There’s nothing shallow about this type of career advancement.
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