Last month we had the chance to have our first networking event after two years. It was a great experience. We were able to meet people from the industry.
I was nervous about how to resume face-to-face events. However, I knew that the Supply Chain and Logistics industry is a niche market and meeting the right people is key. In addition, it would help me understand the industry and navigate your professional life.
If you are struggling with the same, here are some tips to navigate through the “Art of Networking in Japan.”
You may have second thoughts like “Everyone will stare at me,” “Nobody would be interested in talking with me,” or “Why should I join the conversation?”
If this is you, do not be afraid; trust yourself because you have something valuable to provide to others. There is only one golden rule you must remember :
<<Treat others how you want to be treated>>
However, it is important to be strategic and intentional if you want to get good results: have clear objectives, make smart choices (e.g., whom to connect with), use your advantages, and sharpen your capabilities (practice pays off).
Here are some tips that would make it easier to navigate and master the art of networking
Set a target. For example, I will meet 10 people in the next hour, but do not look desperate!
Do your homework. Before the event, see who is going and contact them beforehand directly or on social platforms and arrange to meet during the event.
Set yourself in the mood. Assume you will enjoy it, and that would be a nice meeting. Always hold your head up and smile. Make others feel comfortable around you.
Be assertive. Analyze if it is a good time to approach a person. For example, it is probably not a good time if their head is down or in a conversation with another person.
Start with the phrase may I join? And connect with a positive statement on mutual interests, e.g., "It's wonderful that we're debating this [topic], isn't it?"
Establish talking points you have in common. Try to understand the audience and their interests.
Prepare your self-introduction: Simple, concrete, and confident, you do not need to say your career history or show off.
Be realistic. You are there to build relationships, not to close deals. Take it easy!
Active listening. Be respectful and curious about what they say. Ask follow-up questions. You do not want them to feel like they are talking with the wall.
Dance around! Do not get stuck talking to only one person. Your goal is to talk with as many people as possible. Remember your goal.
Follow up. Text them, or mail them the next day. Share something interesting (an article, a newsletter, or a post), and schedule a meeting.
Now you are ready to rock! Just enjoy it!