One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to build your professional networks. Appointments are still often made on the basis of recommendations, so networks are critical in landing roles.
Research from Professor Herminia Ibarra, INSEAD Professor of Organisational Behaviour, has identified three types of networks that are important in business: operational, personal and strategic. “While a lot of managers excel at building and using their operational network, they often overlook their personal and strategic networks“. [You can read the full article from Professor Ibarra here. ]
And it is these networks, particularly your strategic network, that will often play a crucial role in helping you find a board seat that matches your experience and aspirations.
Three tips for building your networks – Judith Perle
Judith Perle specializes in teaching people about networking – what it is, why it’s helpful, and how to do it better. I believe that successful networking is as much about attitude as it is about specific skills. So while I can’t offer a quick fix, I can suggest some golden rules – below are three of them:
- Nurture your network. Even the most superficial relationships are based on trust, and that takes time to build. So stay in touch with people (one-night stands aren’t usually very productive) and re-establish relationships that may have fallen by the wayside. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or drop a line to someone you haven’t seen for years: someone has to make the first move!
- Get out and about. Go to events and conferences regularly and make a point of making new contacts. Talking to people you don’t know is generally more difficult than talking to people you do know but it’s also ultimately more rewarding as it expands your network and raises your profile.
- Be interested (as well as interesting). People generally love talking about themselves, and asking a few well-chosen questions has the interesting psychological effect of making you seem more interesting. So take an interest in other people and never, ever try to sell yourself.
* BoardProspects is the online boardroom community for board members, prospective board members and corporations (public, private and non-profit). We provide a platform where members can connect with one another and share the latest information in boardroom news, education, best practices and recruitment opportunities.