The Best Ice Breaker for Business Development

The Best Ice Breaker for Business Development
When walking into a reception filled with people I need to meet, I've always been able to turn it into an enjoyable experience by asking people what kind of volunteer work they do. It's even more fun for me when they're involved on nonprofit boards; this opens up a world of wonderful conversation--all the way from learning about the work of the organization, to how the person found it, to the fascinating group dynamics of boards, to leadership, etc.
 
At lunch today, sitting with two corporate CEOs who were meeting for the first time, I realized that the community-involvement-ice-breaker conversation is not merely my own selfish delight and learning experience; this topic is also the perfect conversation opener and bonding opportunity for business development purposes.
 
At the CEO level, the topic takes on an additional dimension as they compare the leadership styles and opportunities presented by their respective CSR approaches, and the costs and benefits of philanthropy and service. Usually, CEOs who are more strategic and invested in CSR take a longer-term view of the value to the company; they talk about building a highly productive culture, attracting and retaining outstanding talent, and leadership development.
 
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