By Meg Wallace, Social Media Manager, Passport Career
While networking is generally considered to be a western concept, the truth is that networking is found to be the key to successful career moves across the globe. “Networking” may be called different things, such as “making contacts” or “calling on others,” but it is not unique to the western culture.
Networking can be loosely defined as connecting with others, meeting new people and making contacts. Different cultures throughout the world have their own strategies for networking, but the benefits of successful networking are valuable no matter where your career takes you.
1. Learn the local networking etiquette
Each culture has its own social protocol and norms that define human interaction. In order to be successful in networking, you must first have a basic understanding of the social norms and networking etiquette in your destination culture. Direct strategies may work well in some areas of the globe but may be a complete breach of protocol in others.
2. Play to your strengths
Many professionals dread networking as an awkward series of brief interactions driven by small talk. This can be true in some situations, but if you target your networking to settings that are comfortable for you, the awkwardness of networking can dissipate. If you are a more outgoing person, you may do well at large events where you can meet and chat with many people. Your energy will make you memorable, and your outgoing personality will allow you to be engaged with each of them. If you are a more reserved person, it may be best to target smaller, more intimate settings where you can spend more time with one person and won’t have to compete to make connections.
3. Don’t get discouraged
Networking can be tough. Relationships take time and need to be nurtured, much like plants. While you may click immediately with some people, others will take time to get to know you and become valuable contacts. This can be especially difficult when dealing with the stress of relocation and the adjustment to a new city. Be patient and don’t give up. Your network will soon see the value you bring to the table!
4. Give back!
The key to a successful relationship, whether it be social or business related, is a symbiotic balance. Be sure to contribute as much to the relationship as you would like to get out of it. This is especially true in relationship-based cultures, where business relies on the personal relationship between the individuals as well as economic interests.
5. Get out of your comfort zone
If we never leave our comfort zone, we eventually run out of room to grow. Networking provides us with a chance to grow personally and professionally! Check out events at your local consulate, expat groups, industry events and local religious centers for new opportunities.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NETWORKING AROUND THE GLOBE?
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GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR TRANSITION!