Being the CEO of a big company comes with plenty of perks. Having a beer shouted generally isn't one of them. Whether it's afterwork drinks, a networking conference or a lunch meeting with clients, they are usually the person expected to pick up the tab.
Here's why you should step in and offer to buy them a drink.
Yes, we realise senior managers can afford to buy their own drinks. We also realise they can charge alcohol back to the company credit card during work events, so it technically costs them nothing. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean you should just blithely guzzle down free grog without offering to reciprocate. No, really.
Here's the thing. If you offer to buy the CEO a drink - whether it's your boss or the boss of a client - they will take notice and appreciate the gesture. That's because it hardly ever happens.
CEOs usually adopt the role of host at social gatherings (and are obviously wealthy), so nobody ever thinks to shout them a beer. By making this tiny gesture, not only have you effortlessly made a favourable impression, but you now have their attention for the duration of the drink.
An ex-colleague of mine once pulled this trick on a famous tech entrepreneur who was hosting a business function (and spending thousands of dollars in the process). His offer was met with bemused and heartfelt gratitude. They ended up discussing strategic partnership opportunities deep into the night.
In conclusion, pony up the cash for that $8 beer and treat your would-be mentor: it might just be the best "investment" you ever make. At the very least, it's a classy thing to do and good karma. Result!