How Do I Network With Senior Management?
"I saw in your blog that women aren’t getting as many opportunities because they don't network with their boss during lunch. I want to start building my credibility and reputation but I'm not sure how to go about it. Can you really just sit next to them and talk to them? And what do I say?" 🅰AVA Advice: Well if you don't, someone else will. And you deserve the opportunity to build your credibility as much as anybody else. And remember everyone is human. Here are tips to get you started: 1) Think of conversation openers to flatter the boss or leadership group. Flattery is one of the influence tools. "Thanks for sponsoring the company lunch", "I heard the customer loved the pitch you guys made last week" "The holiday party was really fun. It creates a real sense of community.". After the warmup you can build to a question or two. 2) What do you honestly want to know? Prepare ahead of time with open-ended, relationship-building questions. Rather than "Are we going to hit our revenue this year" USE: "How do you feel about the company's progress this year?" NOT "Why don’t you ever come see my department" BUT "What are your thoughts about this year’s accounting departments goals?" Then listen and respond accordingly. And then the next time you see them, lead into something you are working on: "It was good to hear your perspective on our department. My goal is to introduce new cost reduction measures by the end of the year that will save us 5% on all purchases." 3) Don’t make it all about work. The boss is trying to get some downtime at lunch too. You don’t want to be the one who they dread sitting next to because you are “always on.” Be prepared to contribute to the conversation on topics you’ve heard them speak about previously like local news or sports. This is good practice for many networking situations. Don’t push too much. Mastering the art of “small talk” leading into your “goal talk” is pivotal in your career. Let the conversation flow and you will feel more comfortable next time!