Close this search box.

NED recruitment  |  NEDonBoard membership  |  Secure a NED role

5 common networking mistakes of non-executive directors


Networking with NED peers plays a key role in support, knowledge transfer, as well as hearing of role opportunities.

Hosting numerous NED Meets each quarter, NEDonBoard has the pleasure of regularly engaging with our vibrant board community – having established helpful tips to make networking a success, as well as pitfalls to avoid.

In this blog, we discuss some of the classic mistakes that non-executive directors can make at networking events. We invite you to read this article in conjunction with another post in which we explain the importance of networking for non-executive directors and provide tips on how to network with impact. Whether you are new to the non-executive role, on track to build a portfolio or an experienced board member, networking with impact is an important skill.

What not to do when networking as a non-executive director – Here are 5 common networking mistakes:

Being too pushy. Some non-executive directors may come across as too pushy or aggressive when trying to network. This can include interrupting others, dominating conversations, or aggressively promoting themselves or their services. This can be a turn-off for other attendees and may harm your professional reputation.

If you are looking for a role, be mindful and strike the right balance between positioning and aggressive self-promotion.

Focusing only on themselves. Some non-executive directors may focus too much on themselves and their own needs, rather than showing an interest in others. This can include monopolising conversations, asking for introductions, or failing to listen actively to others. Each conversation is a two-way process in which one talks as well as listens.

Not being prepared. Some non-executive directors may attend networking events without having a clear idea of what they want to achieve or without having prepared their pitch. Connections can be more easily established if you can explain concisely your value proposition and position your expertise. This makes it easier to make meaningful connections and may result in opportunities if you find common ground.

Not following up. Some non-executive directors may fail to follow up with individuals they meet at networking events. Examples of follow-up may include sending a thank-you message, connecting on social media or following through on commitments made during the event (e.g., make an introduction).

Neglecting to listen. Some non-executive directors may be so focused on promoting themselves or their services that they neglect to listen to others. Listening means asking questions and showing a genuine interest in others’ experiences or perspectives.

Listening skills are critical to being an effective non-executive director. If you fail to demonstrate your ability to listen to others in networking events, this will be noted. It may harm your reputation and restrict the role opportunities you are presented with.

Effective networking is crucial for non-executive directors looking to find new roles, expand their professional connections, and enhance their careers. By avoiding these 5 mistakes, non-executive directors can make the most of networking events and build meaningful connections with other professionals operating at board level.

To access networking opportunities with NEDonBoard, Institute of Board Members, visit our programme of events.

To find out about value proposition and positioning as a NED, please visit the NED Accelerator® Programmes course page.

Not yet a member? Don’t miss out on opportunities to expand your network and get a step closer to achieving your NED objectives, whether you are new to the NED role or an established non-executive director. Sign up today to NEDonBoard, Institute of Board Members.

Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO

Related resources:

Top tips to network with impact

How did I get my non-executive role? Network, Network, Network