How to Maximize Business Networking and Communication: First Friday Event Discussion

LFGSM Marketing

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Business professionals are attending more networking events and using online tools and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to find and connect with other professionals within their industry or sector. With more technology and tools to help us network, you would think that it has become easier to meet other professionals and mentors.

If we are meeting more peers than ever before, why is it that so many people find it difficult to expand on their professional networks in a meaningful way?  The return on investment for time spent cultivating business connections is to gain advice, referrals and new opportunities from those connections.

Students and alumni enjoyed a recent discussion at a Lake Forest Graduate School of Management First Friday event with faculty guest speaker, Max Reed. One of the key take away messages from Max Reed’s presentation was the importance of qualitative communication and networking versus quantitative connections.

Max explained that there are three graduating levels of business relationships: mentorship, friendship and sponsorship. Of those three, Max discussed that the highest return on investment for networking business professionals is sponsorship, where colleagues have attained an evidence based regard for someone’s talent and skillset. Having seen proof and after establishing a long and productive business relationship, leaders are then willing to risk social capital (or their reputation) to personally endorse you.

The drive to network is only the starting point for business professionals, and the process of building a successful network should be less transactional and more focused on creating deep and meaningful relationships. From mentor to friendship, and with the right approach, business connections can become an integral asset to your career by providing support, growth and new opportunities.

Faculty Profile: Max Reed

Max Reed teaches Economics for Managers at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is the Vice President of Program Sales at CDW, where he leads a business unit of more than 100 members supporting more than $4 billion per year in North America.

Max joined CDW as a Sr. Director and Head of Inclusion Practices, where he served as the primary advisor to company leadership on diversity, inclusion, succession planning, talent management and strategic planning. Prior to joining CDW, Max was a Managing Consultant in Business and I.T. Strategy at IBM in their Telecommunications and Energy sectors.

About First Friday Events

At Lake Forest Graduate School of Management we provide opportunities for students and faculty to meet and share valuable conversations about leadership and management. The First Friday Networking Series is open to Lake Forest students, alumni and faculty to provide a social and learning opportunity to help connect the LFGSM community. Speakers provide important advice and resources to hone networking skills in today’s business environment.

If you have questions regarding our First Friday Networking Series please contact Natalie Corrado at (847) 574-5322 or by email to ncorrado@lfgsm.edu. Visit our events page for upcoming First Friday topics and dates.

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