5 Tips for Networking as a CEO
By Eliot Cunningham
Being the face of a corporation is no easy task. So I’m here to help by providing 5 tips to help you grow your personal and professional network.
- Be a Social Media Influencer
A study conducted by CEO.com in 2014 discovered that more than 68% of CEOs still have no social presence on the five social networks (source).
Having a strong social media presence is not only imperative for the business, but for the CEO also, as they are an integral part of the brand the business is representing.
Richard Branson has built a powerful public reputation and vast network of contacts through his 6.4 million Twitter followers and 7.5 million Google+ followers. This allows his voice to carry to every corner of the earth with the click of a button, a Networking tool of epic proportion.
2. Attend Events; Big & Small
CEO’s are like US senators running for President. It’s there job to be on the front line everyday shaking hands, kissing babies and giving heartfelt speeches.
In 2015 we are spoilt for choice with online and offline methods of communication, but at the end of the day it’s a face to face conversation that will help you form relationships in your vertical. It’s important to know your 1-minute elevator pitch off by heart, as time (and attention span) is usually of the essence at these events, so make sure you practice it prior to the event.
Luckily CEOs don’t tend to suffer from social anxiety, as networking is most definitely a numbers game, but you don’t want to over do it as you should aim for quality not quantity. It’s better to have 3 in-depth conversations in which true opinions can be shared, rather than 30 shallow conversations mostly made up of platitudes.
However, each individual equals a new potential opportunity or source of insight (or income). Set yourself a number of people you would ideally like to speak to when you walk into the room, and try not to leave until you’ve hit that number.
3. Be Charismatic, be Kind
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such thing as free PR.
Chances are you’ve heard of Dan Price, a CEO who recently cut his pay by 90% from $1 million to $70,000 in order to increase the pay of his employees. This may have been a bold move but it’s hard to find a magazine/website who hasn’t written about him and a business who hasn’t reached out to him.
Everyone loves the eccentric CEO (or Chief Eccentric Officer as they are now known). We’re not saying you need to sacrifice your pay check or cross-dress 50,000 ft up, but perhaps something a little more subtle. So if you’re serious about growing your personal network, nothing beats a bit of personal-branded PR.
4. Keep a Blog
Growing a popular social network account is only the first step towards providing a face to a brand and humanizing a business to increase loyalty. A blog is the next step.
Richard Edelman is well known for his 6 .A.M blogging, a chance for him to speak to his 5,000 employees, investors and the greater public and share his thoughts about company news and current affairs. Richard’s personal blogging efforts having ‘humanized’ an individual that would otherwise be considered ‘untouchable’ due to his very prestigious role.
In this case, Richard’s blog has provided an invaluable method of Networking by providing a more in-depth look at his life and what opportunities he may be exploring.
5. Have an Online Identity
Securing your online identity is the final and arguably the most important step in a time when online identity theft and ‘Trollers’ are creating fake accounts and misrepresenting Executives.
The .CEO Registry was founded on the belief that the C-Suite need an exclusive form of representation following the creation of thousands of fake accounts on Twitter distorting the public’s views of important individuals.
In order to successfully network with business leaders both locally and abroad, we suggest securing YourName.CEO and telling the world who you truly are (think of it like an online business card).