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Lead Your Team Leadership

Beyond Email: 5 Ways to Network Like a Leader

Beyond Email: 5 Ways to Network Like a Leader
Credit: Everett Collection/Network

Rather than attend a conference to network with others, most business professionals now prefer to just email one another, new research finds.

Email has surpassed attending professional events, meetings and conferences as the networking method of choice, a study from Robert Half Management Resources finds.

Specifically, 50 percent of those surveyed said email is how they prefer to professionally network, compared to only 25 percent who said the same about attending events.

The use of email as a networking tool has grown considerably over the past few years, as just 22 percent of executives said they used email to network with others in 2012.

"Email allows busy executives to easily stay in touch with contacts and quickly receive feedback on a question or business request," Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said in a statement.

While he said emailing may be convenient, McDonald warned executives not to become too dependent on it. [Networking No-Nos: 4 Ways to Build Better Business Relationships ]

"Exchanging ideas over lunch or attending a conference with others in your industry is a more personal way to develop a rapport with colleagues," he said.

To help senior-level professionals broaden their connections and visibility, Robert Half Management Resources offers several tips:

  • Take active roles at industry gatherings: Instead of just attending a conference, offer to deliver a presentation or lead a workshop. This not only introduces you to peers and other contacts, but also helps establish you as an industry leader.
  • Be a mentor: Sharing the insight you've learned throughout your career with others is a great way to help develop future leaders. Additionally, you will feel the personal gratification that comes with helping others advance their careers.
  • Volunteer: Being a volunteer with local charitable organizations not only makes a difference in the lives of others, but it also helps you grow your network. Volunteering is an excellent way to better understand the perspectives of people with different backgrounds.
  • Step up as a leader: Try serving in leadership roles outside of your company. This provides you with another platform to showcase your leadership skills. Taking on these added roles is also a great way meet new people, with whom you can exchange business ideas.
  • Stay connected to your school: Engaging with your alma mater will boost your company's connections with professors and the school. In addition, working with students is an excellent way to attract high-quality talent to your business in the future.

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,200 chief financial officers from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.