Today’s network is tomorrow's business deal or new role. Your MBA Alumni like you, seek to build networks and develop long lasting business relationships. How do you that? Here are my eleven tips:
#1. When you meet someone new, ask them about themselves. View a conversation as an opportunity to begin a relationship. Focus on the other person - not on yourself, your business pitch or your story.
#2. When appropriate, leave a LinkedIn recommendation for someone in your network - even if you haven't seen them in a while.
#3. Ask questions of each person you meet. They don't have to be business questions. Take the time to get to know people before launching into any type of pitch.
#4. When you meet someone you would like to continue a conversation. Stop right away and write down a few reminders - the subjects you talked about, or an idea they put in your mind.
#5. When you go home, follow up with a short email to anyone you'd like to get to know better or stay in touch with. Your email signature will remind them of the type of business you're in.
#6. If you stay in touch with your network and take the time to get to know them and their business situations, you will never have to "sell to them" in the traditional way. They will remember you.
#7. If you meet someone once a quarter or so and ask them about their business, you will quickly discover ways that your company might be able to help them, if they need the sort of help you provide. They may even offer you a role one day...
#8. If you don't see any business intersection between you and your acquaintance in the near term, keep that network! Networking is not just about generating business or a new role. You do your network a great favour when you share your advice with them, and they do the same for you.
#9. When you have the opportunity, send someone in your network an article, blog post or podcast you found helpful that they might enjoy also. Don't spam them, but let them know when you are thinking about them.
#10. If you want to invite someone for coffee, make it all about the other person - not you. Let them pick the time, date and place for your meeting.
#11. If you'd like to invite a new acquaintance to connect with you on LinkedIn, ask them while you're with them whether it's okay for you to send them a LinkedIn invitation.
These are my eleven tips. Start making them habits, build your network and maximise your MBA!
Peter Blair MBA
Peter is a partner at Generator Talent | Board and Executive Search