Network Like a Boss

A sampling of chief financial officers (CFOs) were recently asked by staffing firm Robert Half how they like to conduct business networking. Were they employing social media more, or were they still relying on tried-and-true techniques such as email and attending professional events?

Surprisingly, about half of the CFOs surveyed said that email was still their #1 means of keeping in touch with professional colleagues, followed by attending industry and group events. Social media came in a distant third place.

In a statement, Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said “Email allows busy executives to easily stay in touch with contacts and quickly receive feedback on a question or business request.”

However, he cautioned against executives becoming too reliant on email: “Exchanging ideas over lunch or attending a conference with others in your industry is a more personal way to develop a rapport with colleagues. Social media offers a vehicle for quickly widening one’s reach and gaining exposure to a broader range of news and insights,” he said.

Robert Half Management Resources goes on to offer these five tips for professional networking:

  1. Build a presence at industry events. Delivering a presentation or facilitating a workshop at a national or chapter meeting will introduce you to peers and other contacts. In addition, you’ll establish yourself as a thought leader.
  2. Mentor others. By sharing the wisdom you’ve gained throughout your career, you can shape future leaders and gain the personal satisfaction that comes with helping them advance their careers.
  3. Volunteer with philanthropic and local organizations. While making a difference in the lives of others, you can also expand your network and gain insights into diverse perspectives by interacting with people from different backgrounds and fields.
  4. Serve in a leadership position outside the company. Taking on roles in business and community groups enables you to showcase your leadership skills in a different capacity. You’ll also meet people with whom you can exchange business ideas.
  5. Engage with your alma mater. You will help prepare the next generation of professionals, while enhancing your firm’s connections with professors and the school. Your contributions could build student affinity for your company as well.

In this age of social media it is certainly tempting to rely more on social media for keeping in touch, and getting known within professional circles. Everyone is doing it, after all.

But that is part of the problem: everyone is using social media, so an ambitious networker needs to look for ways to stand out.

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