5 networking tips for successful expats

28 April 2017 0 Comments Category: Ali Meehan, blog

Moving your business to, or creating a new business in Spain brings you the opportunity to start networking with a whole new group of business owners and contacts.  As in any country, in any business environment, the purpose of networking is to help others!   You may be so new to Spain that you don’t have a network to share … YET.  However, what you can offer is value and support for your new contacts.

Here’s my top 5 tips for getting the most out of networking opportunities.

Establish your network

Most networking groups will let you go along to at least one event before you decide to join.  Spend some time finding out more about the group, the length of time its been running, types of businesses that attend and any rules, or requirements.   Does the group offer you the chance to expand your contacts and learn some new tools as you do so?

Set yourself homework and a goal

To increase your network and before attending the first event, start connecting with the people who are part of the group and going along so you won’t be going in “cold”.

Set yourself some goals – What do you want out of the networking event?  Who do you want to connect with?  What is the one take away you want from the event?

People buy from people – especially people who are super helpful and offer them something in return!  When you attend a networking event, or join an online community, the first thing you should avoid is promoting yourself.   Rather find people who you can collaborate with, support and connect to.   Understand their wants and needs – ask for a favour, give 10 in return.

Enjoy

You aren’t the only one who is shy!  Everyone is daunted when they first walk into a room filled with strangers.  Think of some opening questions to ask, or start with a compliment.  Networking is far more about listening to what people have to say than trying to say the right things.  Listen more, speak less.  You can only build a networking once you know who you are listening to and what they offer.

When talking to people, get their business card and make notes on the card so you remember who they are, what you talked about and any information you might want to use in the future.

As you mix around the room, introduce others to the people you have already been speaking to.

Follow up

Find out your new contacts preferred platform for connecting.  It may not necessarily be an email with a reminder of your chat and follow up.  Some people are happy to accept friend requests on Facebook.  Others want to keep Facebook for their family and close friends only.  In Spain, many people use WhatsApp and are happy to connect that way.

Make a plan and follow up the same day as the event, or in the very least the next day.

Consistency

One networking event doesn’t a business make!  Go and go often and consistently to networking events.  Once you find the networking group you feel comfortable with and want to support, make sure to schedule the time into your diary.

I hope you enjoy growing your networking and don’t forget to have fun!

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