Chief executives are undoubtedly constantly barraged with networking requests from past coworkers, friends, peers, etc. And although you may be friendly with all of these people, and genuinely want to help them, you’re going to have to draw a line somewhere. With the large networks that you have and the large number of people who would like to utilize those networks, networking could become a full-time job.
Fortune offers four concrete ways with which you can control your networking obligations:
- Set a time limit — outline a specific amount of time you want to allocate to networking, and then once you reach that limit STOP
- Devote the most time and energy to the conversations you enjoy most — networking should be beneficial for you too (will you create a business connection or learn from this person?), so make sure you agree to situations that are helpful for you too
- Foster a discussion that’s independent of you — perhaps set up a forum or discussion group that only requires mild moderation from you and allows others to share ideas
- Don’t angst over it — don’t feel guilty if you can’t address everyone, you can’t let your proprietary obligations slip and everyone understands that
And, CEOs also need to remember to keep up their own networks. As a CEO you are so busy that you many not keep in contact with your networks as frequently as you’d like. It’s critical to remember to stay in touch too!