Blog / How to Network to get a Non-Executive Director Role
How to Network to get a Non-Executive Director Role
Understandably, networking as we know it has changed over the last year and is something that seems near impossible to do under the current circumstances. However, looking to the future, Jo Haigh shares some tips and tricks on how to network effectively to help secure a Non-Executive Director role.
It’s a fact, that it’s not who you know but who knows you, that is likely to get you closer to the boardroom table.
Whilst we are definitely well into the 21st century, the recruitment process for NED roles, is still to some extent stuck in the 1800’s. By that I mean, that it can still be seen as a bit of a club. Like all clubs, when you have secured a position, then you can make yourself known. Until then, the doors can be open perhaps just a tantalizing tad but not quite enough to get through. For many club memberships you need a sponsor but once found, the door starts to open. For NED roles the sponsor maybe a human being but it could also be a social or business platform.
When asked, how I have secured the multiple NED roles I have held over the last 30 year, my light-hearted response is “well I tend to drink a lake of Chardonnay each year”. This isn’t referring to any lush qualities that may imply! But rather the fact that I am very often out at some event or another, at least 3 nights out of the week.
Yes really, it’s a job getting a job and its hard work and it requires personal life sacrifices. I have made that choice deliberately. There are events all over the place, be it the Institute of Directors, Chambers of Commerce, industry briefings by lawyers and accountants’, banks business clubs of one sort or another and other business service providers providing insight into something or other. There really is no excuse not to be somewhere.
But being out and about is only part of it, you need to have a great elevator pitch, that’s engaging and classy. When asked, “so what do you do” my response is “I help build world class boards”.
Another tip, don’t hog the conversation. Most people love to talk about themselves and their problems, so let them and then see if you can provide some helpful advice.
Have a good set of business cards at the ready. Don’t foist them onto people the moment you meet but don’t leave without handing them over. If you pick up a business card always follow this up.
Of course, your social media presence is essential to support your skill set and later on in this series of blogs, we will be covering just what you can do to ensure you make the most of this essential medium.
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