Members of the C-suite are skipping the in-person meet-and-greet in favor of networking online, a new survey shows. Forty-five percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for a Robert Half Management Resources survey said they now prefer to cultivate business relationships via social networking.
This is a bit of a change from the recent past in which CEOs in particular have been reluctant to adopt social media networking. Some still are.
One-quarter of CFOs still favor in-person networking at events, meetings and conferences. The majority of respondents (60 percent) said their primary purpose for networking is to grow business.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis and conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, “How do you prefer to network professionally?” Their responses:
|Attend professional events, meetings, conferences||25%|
CFOs were also asked, “What is the primary purpose of your professional networking activities?“ Their responses:
|Keep up with industry news and developments||20%|
|Find a new job||10%|
|Recruit new talent||7%|
Paul McDonald, a senior executive director with Robert Half, noted that while online networking can be effective in reaching a large number of contacts, it shouldn’t replace more traditional approaches.
“Having regular conversations remains essential for developing meaningful professional relationships, particularly for business development and hiring purposes,” he said.
“Face-to-face meetings can build rapport in a way that electronic communication cannot. Most people still want some personal familiarity before doing business with someone or making a referral.”
Research shows that for most executives, professional networking is geared toward developing business leads (60 percent), rather than for pursuits like finding a job (10 percent) or recruiting talent (7 percent).
Robert Half Management Resources offers three tips to get the most from professional networking activities:
- Don’t wait until you need something. If you reach out to your network only when you need help, you’ll weaken your ties. Be visible and keep in touch on a regular basis by commenting on your contacts’ updates, offering assistance and sharing news items.
- Strike the right balance. Meeting in person takes more time and effort than connecting online but can deliver much more value over the long term. Develop relationships through one-on-one meetings and referrals. You can then stay in touch with contacts online or by email to keep the lines of communication open.
- Stay in the know. Monitor social media to keep current on industry developments and your network’s reaction to them. The information you gather can give you valuable business insight.
And of course, here at the TechJournal, we think you’ll find the best networking anywhere at our digital conferences such as the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, Nov. 6-7, which is bringing 120 thought-leaders to one of the most wired cities in the nation.
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- Five networking pitfalls IT pros should avoid
- Many CFOs now prefer email to in-person networking
- Three tips for getting the most from professional networking
- Four tips for grooming the next generation of leaders
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