10 expert tips to become a natural networker before, during and after your EMBA (part 2)

10 expert tips to become a natural networker before, during and after your EMBA (part 2) main image

An Executive MBA degree can be a ticket to career success. It will open up new opportunities, provide you with an enhanced skill set, and ultimately put you on the path to promotion. But there’s still that age-old saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know”.

In the second of this two part series, QS TopExecutive gets further networking techniques from Neil Munz-Jones, author of The Reluctant Networker.

As far as networking for career success goes, the value of the Executive MBA network you will create as an EMBA participant can not to be underestimated. Alum speak of business partnerships, career opportunities, and lifelong friendships as a result of the network they instantly became a part of when they enroll in business school.

Yet for many professionals, networking doesn’t come easily. There may be hesitation to approach others at events, or a lack of self-confidence in what they have to offer in return. However, as is the case with most skills, becoming an effective networker can be achieved. It just takes time, practice and the right techniques to get started.

Tip 6: Step away from the desk

Get out of the house – and the office – and spend more time in coffee shops, Munz-Jones advises. “Many reluctant networkers think networking is all about going to events and meeting new people, which they find quite difficult and not that rewarding. I spend more of my networking time in coffee shops or over lunch with existing contacts developing these relationships further.”

Tip 7: Utilize LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become the main online business networking site with over 100 million members worldwide and growing daily. It is a great way of reconnecting with former contacts and then staying in touch with them.  “Make sure you have a full profile (all past roles/companies as well as your education) listed,” says Munz-Jones. “‘Follow’ companies that interest you and get introductions to these companies using your existing LinkedIn connections. I have 700+ direct connections which gives me access to over 150,000 second degree connections....a real asset!”

Tip 8: Make the most of your company’s marketing

Look around you – your colleagues could well make up a significant part of your network, so make the most of them. “If you work for a large company, it is likely to have a stream of marketing activity that you can use to give you a reason to stay in touch with your contacts,” explains Munz-Jones. “This could range from simple things like forwarding on interesting articles or press releases to inviting your contacts to company events or taking them to sporting or cultural occasions.”

Tip 9: Get in the habit of catch up calls

It’s all too easy to stay hidden behind an email, but to become a really successful networker you need to pick up the phone. “When did you last see or speak to people on your networking ‘focus’ list?” asks Munz-Jones. “Why not just give them a call and say ‘we haven’t spoken for a while and I was just wondering how you were getting on?”

Tip 10: Offer your help

“So many people tell me they find networking difficult because they feel awkward asking people for help,” says Munz-Jones. “Effective networkers spend as much time helping others as being helped. Always be on the lookout for ways you can help your contacts such as interesting articles, people for them to meet or career opportunities. It feels good to help others and you never know when they will repay the favour.”

Neil Munz-Jones is the author of The Reluctant Networker, published by Hot Hive books. He has an MBA from INSEAD.

Read the first part of this series

Written by QS Blogger
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