Kevin Phelan’s 10 Tips for Networking

There are people who build their network for professional reasons. And then there are people who network as a way of life. For them, it’s like breathing. Kevin Phelan ’66 is one of those people. As Joshua Kraft, Nicholas president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston says, “Kevin is a true connector of people. He knows everybody but, more importantly, he values everybody.” Here, Kevin Phelan shares insight that will help you build your own network.

  1. Follow up.
  2. Send notes. Email is great for quick and pithy responses, but they are too easy to delete. If your penmanship is good always send a note. If not, type it on good stationery.
  3. Be involved in your community and be a part of the civic fabric. Don’t overload and remember you still have a day job. The heart and the wallet are directly tied together and you should get involved (and support) something meaningful to you.
  4. Drop the Mr./Mrs./Miss and use your proper name. We are not as important as we think we are.
  5. Holiday/Christmas cards are a great time to reconnect. Send them.
  6. Track all calls and keep renewing old acquaintances.
  7. Arrive at all events/meetings prepared to meet a couple of people.  It is a lot easier the next morning to get in to see your target with direct access rather than to have to fight your way past the receptionist on a cold call. NOTE: Always watch your liquor intake at public events (or don’t do it at all).  You are always on stage.
  8. Make an effort to knit people together who are of similar interest and needs.
  9. Be polite to everyone.  Going up the ladder is tough; going down is easy.
  10. Follow up.

A Bristol, Conn. native, Kevin Phelan earned a PC bachelor’s degree in business administration, followed by a Boston College MBA. Currently serving as co-chairman at Colliers International, he has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in banking and commercial real estate. Phelan is a pillar of the Boston business community, renowned for his vast professional network and his ability to inspire collaborative efforts to support economic development and community improvement initiatives. His community service leadership has benefited countless Boston-area organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, which he has helped lead to substantial expansion and immeasurable benefit to the city’s children.