Is LinkedIn still the best networking platform for senior professionals? Or is it more fine-tuned these days towards recruitment (i.e. hiring someone or finding a job) at a junior to medium level, rather than adding networking value at a senior level? Vanessa Rogers investigates.
Key findings from a Team Guild study of over 2 000 LinkedIn users reveal that the age group with the highest average number of connections is among 35 to 44 year olds, who have on average 270 connections; and that as many as 62 percent of LinkedIn users have over 150 connections. This is rather problematic, says Guild.co founder and chief executive officer, Ashley Friedlein, who advises that human beings are simply unable to appreciate, or maintain, more than 150 relationships – either in their professional or personal lives. "We're realising that we need to focus on the relationships that actually matter rather than chasing connections for the sake of it," she enthuses.
Other points to note from the survey are that 45 percent of respondents find LinkedIn "cluttered, full of marketing content, sales and spam", despite it otherwise being considered "a highly successful global business model". Many (up to 59 percent of respondents) see the LinkedIn of today more as a place to find a job or hire someone, rather than as the best professional networking solution. And, 62 percent of this study's respondents believe less than 20 percent of their LinkedIn connections provide value to their onward career trajectory.
Senior professionals – such as CEOs, members of senior management, along with business founders and owners – tend, then, to be on the lookout for a more exclusive space in which to network with a smaller number of trusted, and equally senior or established, professionals. And this is particularly true for the non-executive directors, who do not engage in the day-to-day management of an organisation, but are instead consulted on its policymaking and planning exercises when sitting in on board meetings.
Enter Boardroom International, a global executive networking platform geared directly towards C-Suite and non-executive directors. Membership is decided on an exclusive basis that rests on senior experience and executive gravitas, and aside from the non-executive, chairperson and C-suite roles for which members can apply, it is also possible for them to join confidential business groups on the portal. Here, key topics, regulatory issues and current business trends can be discussed among true peers from an experience, and exposure, point of view.
Originators of the platform, who are based at leading executive placement firm BossJansen, recognise that company boards should be composed of internationally literate and mobile non-executive directors. And that these individuals should bring the necessary oversight and valuable insight to their board roles. Essentially, these individuals should not have interests in a company on whose board they sit, so as to avoid a situation of conflict of interest.
Benefits of a Boardroom International membership range from exclusivity and a vetted membership contingent, confidentiality, access to executive referrals and new business opportunities, along with direct applications for global non-executive director, chairperson and C-Suite roles, while maintaining secure and confidential business groups wherever in the world a member may be placed.
According to BossJansen director, Jeremy Bossenger, “Success in any profession rests on you setting some time aside each week for networking. But volume is not where it’s at. Instead, an article on Forbes.com resonates with me, in that it advises senior executives to be ‘intentional and purposeful’ in their efforts to build the kind of network that will truly uplift them in their career and individual aspirations going forward. Key to this idea is being deliberate about how and with whom you network; those with whom you truly gel and support on the path towards their goals, are likely to do similar for you in the future. Boardroom International is proving an amazing platform for this kind of strategic, senior-level networking.”