CEOs Are Out Networking – Why Aren’t You?

This week, Bill Higgs, author of Mustang the Story, presented to Vistage groups in Columbia & Charleston in South Carolina on some of his success takeaways. We affectionately call these phrases “Higgisms”:

Bill Higgs (right) trains a Vistage participant on how to become a Culture Merlin™!

“Sell While the Shop is Full!”

“Make Heros!”

“All Problems are Communication Problems!”

“Energy and Enthusiasm is a Force Multiplier!”

If you’re unfamiliar with Vistage, it’s a coaching seminar for CEOs of companies who are constantly striving to improve their efficiency, culture, and expertise. The groups listen to presentations given by speakers who founded, grew, and led their own businesses. While these rooms are filled with people who seem to already be living the dream, they’re there to grow and improve and meet like-minded individuals. This is networking.

Networking involves pulling yourself out of your comfort zone to meet new people and learn something new about yourself in the process. In many cases, it feels uncomfortable because you go into it looking for an outcome – you need a new job, or a new mentor, or just some advice on how to make the changes you need. These are fine objectives to have, and they may be what motivates you to put yourself out there in the first place.

If you’re new to networking, though, the process can seem a bit intimidating. Here are some tips to help you through:

  1. Utilize websites like Meetup.com to find locally organized groups and events in your area in a variety of themes, professions, and topics.
  2. Dress business casual, and don’t be scared to let your personality shine. Meetups and networking events are usually in fairly casual settings, so relax and be yourself!
  3. Bring business cards, and make sure you take business cards from the people you meet. When they introduce themselves, repeat their name back to them. “Nice to meet you, Jerry!” will help you match their name to their face when you sift through the business cards later and follow up.
  4. Follow up! Send people you met an email and ask them to grab a quick cup of coffee with you. Expand on a conversation you had with them at the meetup.
  5. Smile, give a firm handshake, and make eye contact. Convey confidence and professionalism, but do your best to be warm and friendly as well. You’ll be great!

There’s a lot we can learn from CEOs and their success, and one of those is the idea that we can always improve and meet people who can teach us new things. If executives at the top of their game are still looking to improve, you should be striving now as you make your own climb to the top.

To book Bill Higgs as a speaker for your next event, please contact Jeni Bukolt of Haven Creative at jeni @ thehavencreative.com.

To learn more about Vistage, visit vistage.com.

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