If you are a professional living and working in Hong Kong, then you probably spend a lot of time in attending breakfast sessions, day time conferences or evening cocktails - doing networking.
It is one of the best ways to get new business, find a job opportunity, and create lasting professional and personal relationships. But are we really able to get a tangible return on investment from our efforts or are we just building a stack of business cards?
Here are some of the top points which highly effective networkers in Hong Kong follow to create opportunities through networking:
1. Find out your best place and time to network
There are so many events which happen in Hong Kong every day that attending all of those could be someone's full time job. Successful networkers know that it is not possible to be everywhere.
When you identify your best times and places to network, you can focus your energies and resources and save yourself from getting overwhelmed.
However avoid the trap of being in the same group all the time. Try and recognize few good diverse networks and maximize your interactions with them.
2. You can't use the same elevator pitch everywhere
It is a small world in Hong Kong and if you have been an active networker, then chance is that you will run into familiar faces on more than one occasion. If this happens, your 'elevator pitch' needs to be different than your rehearsed 20second introductory statement.
When you meet people you know already, tell them about a recent accomplishment, a success story of your client, an upcoming conference that you are attending or simply ask them for updates. The idea is to keep it fresh and interesting.
3. Three goals from a networking event
Most successful networkers have three goals from a networking event.
By adopting these goals, you can promote your brand without appearing to be an aggressive self-promoter.
4. Stay organized and Stay in Touch
The great conversation you had at an event will translate into something meaningful only if you follow up and stay in touch with the people you meet while networking. You can send a useful resource, make an introduction, or invite them for a coffee conversation.
Find out interesting and unconventional ways to keep the network alive and fresh. Maintain an organized record of your meetings and follow ups. Remember it is not just the quantity, but it is the quality of your relationships that matter most.
If we want, we can really take out the work part from networking and still make it work for us. It is all about identifying our preferences, having clear goals and making structured and persistent efforts.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Nidhi Kush Shah is the Founder and Director of Alchemy Consulting. She is a passionate and experienced speaker, writer and facilitator specializing in Communication Skills, Personal Branding, and Interpersonal Skills courses.