In this blog, we discuss the importance of networking for non-executive directors. We provide tips on how to network with impact and how to approach your next networking event with confidence. 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.
Networking an essential activity of non-executive directors
As a non-executive director, networking is an essential activity that can help you find new roles, expand your professional connections, and enhance your career. Networking provides a range of benefits for your career, including discovering new opportunities, developing your professional reputation, gaining new insights and perspectives, and building a support system.
“However good you are, if you are invisible you won’t get onto the radar. If you are not on the radar, you are unlikely to get the job – networking is part and parcel of the role.”
Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems plc
Networking is also an opportunity to uncover talents and potential candidates. This is relevant to boards that look to bring new skills and expertise and recruit new non-executive directors. Those boards can rely on their directors who go out to network.
“Thank you to the entire NEDonBoard team. This appointment was only made possible thanks to your quality networking events!”
NEDonBoard member appointed on the board of a credit union
5 tips to make the most of your next networking event
Set goals. Before attending the event, you may set yourself a specific goal for what you hope to achieve. This will help you stay focused and make the most of your time at the event. For example, you may want to meet a specific individual, learn about a particular trend, or nurture an existing relationship.
Identify your USP and practice your pitch. Your USP or value proposition is the set of skills, knowledge and expertise that defines who you are and your value to boards. Prepare a concise introduction that positions your expertise and areas of expertise.
Be approachable. Smiling, making eye contact, and engaging in open body language will help initiate conversations. Be interested in learning about others’ experiences and perspectives. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation.
Listen actively. When you are talking with others, actively listen to what they are saying. Ask questions and show interest to find common ground. This will help you establish rapport and provide a reason for further engagement later. Obviously, avoid interrupting others, and be patient when waiting for your turn to speak.
Follow up. After the event, follow up with the individuals you met. We suggest a brief email (provided we have consent, NEDonBoard can facilitate email introductions) to express your interest in staying in touch. This will help you keep your professional network active.
Networking is a crucial activity for non-executive directors looking to find new roles, expand their professional connections, and enhance their careers. Attending a networking event dedicated to directors, non-executive directors, and board members can be an excellent opportunity to achieve these goals. This is why NEDonBoard facilitates networking sessions both in-person and online. Follow our 5 tips to make the most of your networking event and build valuable connections for your career. Check our programme of events to register your attendance.
Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO
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 your are new to the NED role or an established non-executive director. Sign up today to NEDonBoard, Institute of Board Members.