Everyone talks about the power of networking. We do it too – LEAP is the most attended tech event in the world, and we’ve witnessed firsthand the way that networking at a conference like this can transform business development and help tech companies and entrepreneurs achieve their loftiest goals.
But what are the benefits of networking for C-suite leaders in tech? You’re busy, you’re under pressure, and every minute in your day is accounted for. Is it worth making time in your diary to grow your (probably already extensive) network and build relationships with new industry experts?
Here’s our take on the benefits of networking for you. Because attending a conference isn’t just for excitement and inspiration (although there’s a lot of that, too).
Expand and diversify your professional network
To start with an obvious one: you’ll expand your professional network. But this isn’t just about having a coffee with fellow C-suites – at LEAP, you can build out your network to include industry experts and emerging talent both within your sector and more broadly across the tech industry.
The reason this is so important is that, as you well know, the tech industry is evolving at a rapid pace. If your network is primarily populated with other professionals at the same stage in their careers as you, then you’re missing out on new ideas and the early signs of future trends that can only be discovered when you network with cross-sector professionals with different specialisms, different experiences, and different goals.
Develop your own personal branding
Tech company leaders often attend conferences on behalf of their companies. They’re focused on building partnerships and acquiring talent for those organisations.
But we want to ask you a personal question: what about you?
Increasingly, building your own personal brand is a route towards long-term career stability. Your position as a C-suite leader forms a part of your own platform for building your visibility as a thought leader in your sector.
You can leverage your role to develop your future prospects and create a career that’s really fulfilling and exciting for you.
And networking is a huge part of that. As well as making yourself known in the industry, it also allows you to build meaningful working relationships with potential future partners, mentors, or collaborators.
Gain actionable knowledge and the guidance of experienced peers
Leadership brings its own burdens. You’re responsible for a business and for the people who work for you, as well as having a responsibility towards your customers or users. The pressure and stress of that can’t be underestimated, and having a network of peers and mentors is essential to provide candid advice, real-life lessons, and keep you on track during challenging periods.
Different professional relationships offer different things – from skills development to opening doors, assisting with effective decision-making.
A healthy, robust network changes as your career develops, with some people dropping out of your circle and others coming in. It’s important that you’re always seeking out new ideas and alternative perspectives to make sure you don’t get stuck in one mindset or on one trajectory.
So networking is central to maintain the health of your network and make sure it’s full of the people you need at the stage you’re at right now. You can’t have a strong network if you don’t meet new and diverse industry colleagues.
A network development exercise for you
We know – we don’t often do this. But here’s a quick network development exercise for you to do right now.
Open up your note-making app of choice on your device, and write down:
- Three people you’ve had in your network for more than two years, and the value they currently bring to your career.
- Three people you’ve added to your network within the last year, and the value you expect they will add to your career if you continue to develop your relationship with them.
- Three gaps in your network – whether they’re experts in certain technological specialisms or business areas; people in different but relevant sectors; or mentorship/mentee gaps that you’re keen to fill.
We recommend you update these three lists at least once every year. Keep your network alive – and it’ll help you create a vibrant and fulfilling career.