“C” Suite Networking
Networking has become a regular part of a successful businessperson’s life. From informal Meetups and digital Tweetups to highly structured networking communities and professional groups, networking universally provides an opportunity to make new contacts and build broader connections. I can tell you: networking will help you grow your business!
But sometimes the people you really want to network with are the “C” level executives. You know they are well connected, they hold much of the decision-making power, they can be the most important people to meet in a company, and, well, their dedication to traditional networking opportunities may be severely limited. So how do you get into the “C” suite?
Here are some suggestions for how you might be able to make A+ connections in the “C” suite:
- While some “C” level executives might be obliged only to sit at weekly networking meetings up and down their company, others often attend industry events where they can “connect” with the community on their own account. These events are usually scheduled over many days, drawing well-known speakers and diverse crowds. If you can buy a seat next to a CEO, you must attend! A calendar synced to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Meetup will ensure you’re at the best events with the right people.
- Tis the season… for rooftop fundraisers, invitational golf and tennis tournaments, and other “exclusive” business events. You may need to know someone affiliated with these organizations or charities, but if you do you can probably sneak an invitation. No better networking than flipping burgers with a CTO!
- “C” level executives are sometimes involved in peer advisory groups such as Vistage (http://www.vistage.com), CompelCEO (http://compelceos.com) and The Alternative Board (http://www.thealternativeboard.com). While not “traditional” networks, these organizations offer business leaders an environment in which they can address their business concerns confidentially and get much-needed support and guidance from their peers. If you want their advice you need to give it to them as well.
- “C” level executives rely on their “Trusted Advisors”. If you are in the circle with a Trusted Advisor, perhaps you and the Trusted Advisor can take the “C” level executive out for a meal. Don’t make the mistake of talking business – this is a meet and greet. If it goes well, at the end of the meal ask for an appointment.
“C” suite executives are neither reclusive nor cloistered in their offices as one might think. If you wish to network with these individuals do your homework and identify the three best places where you will find them. Then, go for it! You never know whom you’ll draw at the golf outing in August.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman-Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, email@example.com or call (516) 935-5641.