Networking Traps and Spider Webs

29 August 2014

I know, we keep beating the table with 'Hong Kong is a Spiderweb' and everyone knows each other some how, networking bla. bla. bla. But what really matters, is how you apply the basics of networking and don't fall into the spider-traps. 
 
Don’t Confuse Networking for Manipulation
Unfortunately, some people associate networking with negative connotations. Some people distort the words, and misunderstand the activity. Networking is about connecting and forming genuine relationships with people. You want to help each other get ahead, ensure you go into it with a positive attitude and make sure that everyone does the intended - Network. 
 
Strategy
Do all your contacts know each other? It’s important to build diverse networks so that you can widen your professional reach as far as possible. It’s also important to place as much importance on forming weak ties as you do on forming strong ties. You never know, weak ties may actually offer greater job opportunities, sometimes you might not want to widen your reach, but instead make the weak ties stronger, and network further.
 
Draw a Map
The easiest way to form your own networking strategy is to literally put it on paper. Draw a map of your current networks and connect lines between yourself and all your contacts – look for the gaps. Find out what relationships you’re lacking in your social sphere and think about the different ways you could develop them.
 
Quality over quantity
It’s better to have 10 strong relationships than 20 empty connections. Instead, of playing the ‘hand out as many business cards as possible’ game, try to focus more on forging strong, long-lasting connections. One genuine connection will offer far more in the long term than numerous empty exchanges, so it’s best to invest your time and energy into these relationships.
 
First impressions
Practice maintain eye contact, smile warmly and (if appropriate) offer a handshake that demonstrates solidarity. Don't stress the small stuff and always be helpful. Adhere to dress codes, make an effort not to talk too fast and try to maintain a confident posture. A combination of these traits will definitely not leave you lonely at a networking event. Be open, be friendly, be down-to-earth and honest, and you will do great! 
 
Happy Networking Hong Kong!