My name is Philippe Touzin and I am the Marketing and Graduate Recruitment manager for InternChina, and my blog today is about the importance of Networking in China and some tips for when you do it.
First of all I had a small dilemma whilst writing this article, should I use formal vocabulary or non-formal. I chose non-formal as this is the “language” your brains will be thinking in whilst your moving around the events and this is the brain I’m writing to!- just make sure you don’t say :” Wassup buddy” to a German CEO, you all know to talk formerly and appropriately (I’ll repeat that point later just to be sure )- just in case – you’re supposed to say: “ Good evening Sir/Madam/Miss” to a another networker…
(source: wikipidia): Business networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities
Why is it important to Network and attend those events with all the business professionals, politicians, tag-alongs and media who are gorging on the free canapés and wine?
1. It’s usually a pretty cool experience.
2. You will get good contacts and guanxi (see blog: http://internchina.com/guanxi-a-two-way-street/)
3. Business development and getting your brand name out there!
This is when the decision-makers, the power brokers and the influencers are outside their offices, not surrounded by gate keepers (security guards, receptionists, middle manager,…), and when you, a young professional, can approach and talk directly with a GM, CEO, Executive, Politicians, or Journalists!!
These events are created for the single purpose of Networking. This means people expect you to walk around and start a conversation with random people so as to introduce your company and ask them about theirs.
Funnily enough, it’s the only time I know when it is ok to say: “ Ok was nice to meet you, I’m going to keep walking now and talk with some other people. Keep in touch.” …and it is not rude. It is expected that you move around and meet people. The person you talk to may find you very interesting (or not) but will still want to move on and try to grab the opportunity to meet as many people as possible.
A few tips on approaching people:
• Be confident. It doesn’t matter that you’re scared, stressed out and don’t know anyone. Doesn’t matter at all.
• Keep these steps in mind and you will be fine when you approach someone:
– Bring 30+ name cards and business attire- dress to impress
– State your name, position, company you work for and hand out your name card (to all of the people you are talking to) in one fluid motion.
– Ask for theirs (they will do it automatically, but it looks better ;))
– Ask them to tell you a bit about their company and what they are doing
– Introduce yours (in 1 min tops)
– If you see any potentials for business/partnerships, SAY SO, and ask if they might be interested
– If the answer is NO: 1st , they won’t say no because that’s just rude. They’ll say a variant of Possibly, perhaps, etc… 2nd no worries!! This is what you’re here for = to find the 2 in 10 that are interested! KEEP CALM AND KEEP NETWORKING
– Again, if they say no, then this doesn’t mean they don’t like you or your business…just that it’s not for them. But this means that maybe in a week, a month or 6 months, someone might ask them: “Hi Jean-Luc do you know anyone who does XYZ Business?” and this is the magic moment where “Jean-Luc” remembers your name and company and that you were a nice and charming person, and says “ Well yes I do!…” = word of mouth = $$$ in your pockets.
– Move on to the next person and plant those seeds…
-How do you pick your targets (fellow event attendees):
– The loners: People like you who have come alone to the event and haven’t yet started to talk to anyone. They’re not by themselves because they like it (or they wouldn’t go to a networking event). Go see them and introduce yourself.
– The groups: Now be careful here, you do not want to intrude on a networker giving their “business spiel” to another networker. So groups with one member actively talking is not a good idea. Aim for the groups which look like it’s a bunch of networkers eating / colleagues that came together to the event, they are chilling together. Go see them and introduce yourself.
However These are the four MOST important tips for successfully networking:
– ADAPT: recognize what kind of people you are approaching before you have started speaking to them and ADAPT your spiel, tone of voice and demeanor for them.
– ACTIVE: do not get comfortable talking to someone all night and “hide” with them, try and meet everyone and get their name cards. Be energetic, when you get trained in Sales jobs, they tell you to be energetic, because it attracts people on a psychological level – but keep point 1 in mind: Adapt…in case it’s a librarian or something.
– FOLLOW-UP: the following working day take your stack of name cards, and send everyone a short email saying it was nice to meet them, and 2-3 lines on the product/service your selling/ +website and ask them to get in contact if interested and that you look forwards to seeing them next time.
– BUFFET: eat those canapés, snacks and other delicious stuff- if you don’t get any contacts at least you had 5* food! DO NOT drink 5 glasses of wine, drink one or two not more. You’re here for business not to get pissed on free wine: you will look unprofessional, and ruin your first impression for a lot of important people.
The next question is: How do I get myself invited to these events?!
InternChina has very strong affiliations with media groups and chambers of commerce in Qingdao, Chengdu, Zhuhai, but also in Guangzhou, Beijing and the other big and smaller cities.
This means we always get invited to networking events and can bring any Interns or Graduates with us who are interested!
InternChina also has its own networking functions whereas you can take full advantage of our connections and also make your own with the leaders of tomorrow, InternChina Alumni’s!
This is exclusive to our Alumni’s and if you want to join our groups please go to:
InternChina website: www.internchina.com or write to us firstname.lastname@example.org
If you already are in China with InternChina or are a Alumni please visit these groups and request to be added, we will process your application within 3 days.
Thank you for reading and Happy Networking,