Effective face-to-face networking is important. In today’s competitive job market, knowing the right people can get you far. From getting into the door of an otherwise challenging brand name or having first-hand news of job opportunities that regular people might not be privy to, meeting key contacts in the industry – or even not those within industries that you’re familiar with – can prove to be a useful career advancement tool.
Whilst the use of networking online has its advantages in today’s workplace, learning to network effectively face to face is extremely important. In China, various events and such as product launches or movie premieres can serve as good opportunities for networking with other professionals – within or even out of your own industry.
What are the benefits of networking?
- Allows you to cross share initiatives and ideas
- Develops a group of resources that you can refer to for advice, tips and knowledge
- Expands your contact group
- Puts your name “out there”
- Can result in leaving a good impression of you and your company
Skills for good networking
Not sure where to begin? Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to expanding your network.
Planning - develop an action plan. Before attending an event or social outing identify your objectives and how to go about achieving them. Ask yourself what your purpose is for networking and what you want to get out of it.
Research - research various networking groups, associations and contacts to find out what will work for you. Ask colleagues in a similar role, use the internet.
Promote yourself effectively. Remember that you have something to offer as well. Follow through on your commitments, both to yourself and others. Keep records to remember what you have committed to do.
Communication - communicate effectively. Be articulate, concise, enthusiastic, honest and open. Remember to listen when engaged in conversation as it is critical to remember key points in conversations.Circulate - don’t just stand in one place. Speak with as many people as you can at a networking function. Establish the basics and arrange another time to have a more detailed discussion.
Treat everyone as equals - there is no real value in title or prestige alone. Value is in the information and support people can give, which often comes from surprising sources. A network is not a bureaucracy or a hierarchy; rather it is a level and fair playing field. The more people you are in contact with at all levels the more opportunities/information you will be exposed to.
Organisation - organise yourself: collect cards from the contacts that you have made in order to remember important details.
Teamwork - leverage off of one another. Both you and your new contacts can work together to achieve personal and professional goals.