4 tips on networking while getting an EMBA

When I first wanted to write a blog about networking, I asked myself if I was actually qualified to do this. Then I looked back at the last five-plus years of my life: founding a successful networking association from scratch, building work and social relationships in a new country, and starting my Executive MBA. I began to think that maybe I could share with others what I have learned.

Here are my four most important tips about networking:

You need to care about what the other person has to say
This is by far and away my golden rule of networking. You need to have a genuine interest in learning about people. And it must be GENUINE! If you don’t have one, then you need to generate it. But this is something that you can’t fake. I have learned so much from the wide array of people I have met in recent years from various cultures and backgrounds, especially when I asked curious questions about their lives and listened to their stories and perspectives on certain topics. It also helps with those awkward silences to get things started at events. I have found that if people feel you genuinely care about what they are saying, they are much more likely to be honest and tell you the truth. It helps you build relationships on a more human level that will last long into the future.

Give something away without expecting anything in return
This is another one that many people overlook but has helped me the most in recent years. So many people go to networking events expecting to get things. Rarely do they think about helping someone or giving something without asking or expecting anything in return. Some of my greatest relationships have been built this way, when I took time to help someone or connect them to someone else, with no direct benefit to me. You can be sure that when you really do need something a few months or years down the line, that other person will remember and pick up the phone when you come calling and go out of their way to help you.

Take notes about your experiences
Luckily, I have been blessed with a reasonable memory, but there is nothing worse when you run into someone you met recently and can’t remember what they said or even their name. Taking notes on your meetings with people can come in very handy at these times, and individuals are always super impressed when you remember their job, kids names or other important things in their life. It means that you stand out from the crowd and they will remember you in return.  

And finally remember to SMILE and have fun! Networking is much more successful when you are smiling and enjoying yourself. People will be drawn to you as a result!

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Brian Boland

Brian Boland 19WEMBA, originally from Ireland, is Director for Analytics & Insights at CRH Americas Materials, part of the CRH group, the second largest building materials company globally with over $30bn annual revenue, 90,000 employees, across 31 countries. He is the founding President of Irish Network Atlanta and in 2016 was recognized in the Irish Top 40 under 40 in the US. He is currently pursuing his Executive MBA at Emory Goizueta Business School.

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