As CFO of a mid-sized manufacturing company, I find that I am always busy. If I’m not getting things off my To Do list, I’m being pulled into company meetings.
I know it’s important to network, both for representing the company I work for as well as for getting myself known within my business community. Still, I can’t find the time. What can I do?
Too Busy in Two Rivers
Dear Too Busy,
The first thing you need to do is convince yourself that networking is important. If you believe networking is valuable, you will make the time for it, just like you make time for everything else in your life that you find important.
Now if you really believe that networking is important, and need help making time for it, then I have some advice for you.
What is it that you want to accomplish with networking? The answer to this question sets the stage for how you will reach your networking objectives.
Where are you going to network? Are you going to go to local business or national industry events? Are you going to call on previous people you worked with to go to lunch and catch up?
If you don’t put it on your schedule, it won’t happen.
It is nice to meet someone at an event, have a pleasant conversation and exchange business cards. But then what? If there is no follow up, what is the value in having met that person in the first place?
Pay it forward
When you think about the people that are in your network and how you can add value to them, they will keep you in mind when you least expect it. This will also allow you to call on your network in the future if you need it.
Advice from other experts
As an example of calling on people in your network to help others, I reached out to people in my network for advice that I can share with you.
Ken Tudhope, a finance recruiter in Orange County, California is a person I point to as an example of how to network. Ken, who writes a blog on networking, makes it a point to never have lunch alone. He believes that networking groups, like local Chambers of Commerce, are excellent, because they give you a great context to network. He advises CFOs to “Sign up, Show up, Follow Up and Step Up.” Ken says “When people are involved and the event is enjoyable they tend to make it a priority.”
Cindy Kraft, who is familiar to my regular readers, is an excellent CFO Career Coach. I asked Cindy how a CFO can make networking a priority. Cindy said “The same way you make anything else a priority: put it on your calendar and then honor the appointment. Networking, on a consistent basis, is one of the most valuable things you can be doing for your career. Schedule it, and then do it!”
So, Too Busy, are you still too busy to network?
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