These past few years all it seems we hear about is “social networking”. Facebook is the biggest social network and of course I use it, but today I want to talk about real networking events.
I wanted to blog about this topic for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s probably more important than you think and I want to explain why. I’m learning about this as I get “more mature”. (I admit I’m not as mature as I’d like to be but I’m working on it)
The other reason I want to talk about this is that I actually went to a cool networking event in Shanghai last weekend for “Entrepreneurs” (basically these are creative business people who start their own businesses).
A lot of these people are super interesting because they “think outside the box” which means to think creatively and differently than “most people”. I personally like that and think it’s pretty cool. This particular networking event had mostly people starting online companies. I met a lot of interesting people and made some new friends and business partners.
It’s easy to “shy away” from these kind of events and make excuses for not going. It’s true that a lot of networking events kind of suck but when you get a good one, even if you meet just one important person, your whole life could change and get a lot better.
This was an international event so everyone was speaking English. So basically, about half of the people were speaking their second language. If they couldn’t speak English well, there was no way they could possibly benefit from a thing like that.
To be honest, I’m actually kind of shy. It takes me a while to “warm up” and start meeting new people. I like one on one conversations more than speaking in front of a group. I don’t really know why that is. I think it might be because when I was young I used to give terrible speeches in school because I got super nervous.
By the way, I just realized while I’m writing, using the word “super” is a great adjective for casual writing or spoken English. My friends and I use it all the time and it sounds really normal. If you use it, you will look like you’ve lived in the USA or some other English speaking country for over 5 years.
A couple of examples are: “Last night was super fun” or “You should go there on vacation. It’s a super cool place”.
Anyway, back to offline networking. If you look online you can find some networking events in your area. If you don’t just stand quietly in the corner of the room, you will be amazed at how this can change your life. These events are in every main city in the world. You just have to pay attention.
Another thing with networking that most people fail at, besides being too shy, is not thinking win-win.
If you want to do business with someone, it’s not just about handing out a business card and “hoping”. You need to think about how you can actually help them. I don’t really want to say that people are selfish, but they aren’t stupid either. They don’t want to do business with someone who can’t help them. They don’t want to buy a product that they don’t believe will help them. If you can actually add value or help someone, then DO IT! Be creative and show how you can help others. I guarantee it will make you more money if you have this attitude. It won’t always work but if you keep doing it, you will be amazed. You don’t have to own a business either to benefit from networking. If you work for some company or are just a student or whatever, networking will introduce you to a whole “other world” of opportunities.
I learn something new and set up new business deals every time I go. I just have to remember to not be shy. Don’t forget, most other people are shy too, so you need to “break the ice”. That means you need to be the one to talk to other people first. If you do that and think win-win, get ready for more money and a way cooler life than you already have.
I’ll keep blogging about my random thoughts and opinions and share some English tips during my writing. I think this style should be fun and useful at the same time. If it’s not, then it means I suck and need to get better writing skills.
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