The process of finding a board to join is a little like dating: you have to work out the board and organisation you’d like to join, and then reverse-engineer the process to get you from where you are now, to sitting on that board.
Here is a method that can work as your personal plan for finding your first (or second) board position:
1. Work out the organisation / type of organisation whose board you would like to join. View this post to help get you started with selecting organisations to target in your approach.
2. Bring your personal brand up to standard. Online and offline, you need to have a consistent profile that is appealing to potential boards. This post provides a guide on the importance of your personal brand.
3. Develop your elevator speech specifically for board / director purposes. You have about 7 seconds to grab a potential fellow board member’s attention – make it count! When meeting with someone new, have a ‘grab’ that concisely answers the “what do you do?” question. Make it authentic and make it unique. This post here, and this one here, will help you craft and perfect your elevator pitch (there are also some clever elevator pitch alternatives here).
4. Set yourself a networking strategy. Identify the types of events that the board members attend, and places they hang out. You can often find this information out via the organisation’s social media updates, and the board members’ social media channels (you can usually find the name of directors on the organisation’s website). Attend these events and places, and seek out the people you would like to meet. Appropriately introduce – or reintroduce – yourself. Be sure you don’t cross the line into creepy stalker though by showing up everywhere your target people are.
5. Follow up and stay in touch. Have a process for following up with people you meet, and have a system for staying in touch with them. Utilise social media channels such as LinkedIn to follow up, connect with, and to stay in touch. Keep track of your contacts and interactions on a spreadsheet, and set yourself reminders to regularly make contact. Consider appropriate levels of contact frequency, method, content and value, and how you want them to think of you.
Following this process will help you get closer to securing your first – and even second – company board seat.
What would you add to this list?