Networking events are more than just meet-and-greets; they are platforms for forging powerful connections and sparking innovative ideas. But what do the leaders at the top—the C-level executives—look for when they step into such events? A C-level executive’s time is sparse, and their attention is in high demand. With this in mind, it’s crucial to meet your guests’ expectations when hosting a roundtable discussion. Here’s what C-level executives are likely to expect from networking events.
A timely and well-organised agenda
Guests cannot afford to spend upwards of an hour on a discussion with no aim. Therefore, organisers and hosts must envision a robust yet flexible structure when preparing their network events. A thoughtful agenda will go a long way in keeping guests engaged and getting the most out of everyone’s time.
Conversations on equal footing
It’s lonely at the top. According to RHR International, half of CEOs experience loneliness, and 61% of those leaders believe those feelings hinder them. Executive roundtable discussions and networking events are great platforms for open discussions among peers, enabling a healthy exchange across different industries and roles. It’s one way for entire groups to arrive at solutions to shared problems.
A table where everyone’s on par with one another, each having their own sets of expertise and experience, makes for a comfortable environment and a safe space for everyone to contribute.
“Executive roundtables and networking events are great platforms for open discussions among peers, enabling a healthy exchange across different industries and roles. It’s one way for entire groups to arrive at solutions to shared problems.”
The best executives never stop learning. Network events and roundtable sessions serve as avenues for leaders to embrace new knowledge. Executives spend their day-to-day leading teams and providing guidance, but when it comes to these discussions, they’re there to learn.
Having industry experts as speakers and moderators in your roundtable network events is essential in keeping your guests engaged. Of course, they’ll always be ready to share their thoughts on relevant matters, but what they really want is to get everybody’s two cents. ‘How do colleagues in different industries and companies deal with similar problems?’ That’s the question on every participant’s mind.
One of the things that experienced executives are skilled at is taking in different perspectives. The ability to perceive a situation from another POV is vital in leadership roles. Roundtable discussions are a melting pot of contrasting views and distinct approaches to obstacles the whole group is likely experiencing. Participants will come from different regions of the world, further allowing your network events guests to expand their perspectives.
A topic and agenda with the appropriate level of specificity to be relevant to all are paramount for guests to stay interested and, at the same time, participative. Not only that but the importance of the network events moderator role here cannot be understated. Your guests all possess the experience and knowledge to pitch in, but it’s up to your moderator to get everyone involved in the discussion, especially those with a more reserved nature.
How does the future of the industry look? Where are today’s trends leading? Executives are always looking forward. They’re not necessarily looking to hear about today’s trends and market, as they already know much about that. What they want to know is what’s next. They want to know what they can get on early to stay ahead of the competition or what they should be on the lookout for to mitigate risk. The search for tomorrow’s solutions is a neverending task for every proactive executive.
A safe environment
It feels good to talk about the problems you’re facing and have someone relate. Roundtable discussions provide business leaders with a safe, non-hierarchal environment to share their concerns and frustrations with colleagues who understand their struggles. It’s a place where they can talk about internal operations and get feedback and suggestions without worrying about scrutiny.
Network events also serve as a place where executives meet new people, form strategic relationships, and reconnect with old colleagues. What sets these connections apart is that, with the nature of roundtable discussions, your guests all have inherent similarities. They’re all looking for answers to the same problems.
We’ve also seen the rise in the popularity of virtual network events and roundtable discussions. Executives are given a chance to meet peers from around the world. With digital events, participants can gain insights from and connect with people they would have otherwise never encountered, all without leaving their home office. This allows leaders to form their own global networks with peers halfway across the world in just a few clicks.
Networking events are a treasure trove for benefits not only for the host but for clients and guests as well. If you’re looking to host a networking event with senior executives, contact us through our Host an Event page, and one of our Client Directors will get back to you with more information.