Do executives really still need to network? Yes they absolutely do!
With just another GenSearch Life Science Talk in the bag, I got to thinking about networking. Why is it important to keep hosting and attending industry events and is there a point where you’re done with it? To give the answer up front: no, there is no such point. Throughout your career networking stays important, especially “offline” and especially executives profit tremendously from it. Why is that?
Physical and mental proximity
There is no doubt that there is a difference between making an impression in person or in the digital world. I’m not the one to say that social media networking is worthless (obviously that’s not what I think, since you’re reading this right now!) but LinkedIN & Co. work very different and don’t substitute for actually going out and meeting people. Especially since a majority of executives favors personal networking over digital networking, which means, that you can rather meet your interesting opportunities out in the “real world”.
Also events and conferences tend to bring together people from the same industry or field. And of course it’s always useful to meet people who have similar interests or challenges that you can exchange experiences and ideas with. It’s easier to find business opportunities with like-minded people and people who are on your level. Great leaders almost always rely on strong networks and those networks want to be built!
Business is about character
A resume, a profile or a written track-record can only go so far when it comes to evaluating business opportunities. A lot in business is about character, about matching two people to each other and creating a profitable outcome from that. Especially on an executive level risks are high when it comes to business partnerships, new staff or investments and initiating these actions through personal meetings and an initial character-check can be much more effective. After all character is a leadership essential and it can only be found out and presented in person.
You’re a big part of the quality of the event
A lot of times people can get annoyed by having to chose events and actually getting into the research of what is worth putting time into. Yes, it’s true, the big events are too big and the small events can easily be of too little substance or simply too focused. But look at it this way: what you make out of it is a big part of the quality of the event. Tons of valuable conversations and lasting contacts have sparked from complaining jointly about the quality of an event. Also the quality is often hard to predict, since it largely depends on – like I just said – the participants and what they make of it.
Combining all these points, it makes a lot of sense to know where your fellow executives are heading off to and then, by all means, join them!