Fortunately, with the company I am working for, Centre O, they hold monthly networking events for locals and expats to meet and mingle and to try and find possible business partners in the process. These photos are from a coffee meetup we had recently which I was the photographer for. Through my company and these networking events, I have learned a great deal. Some might sound cliche but through this experience, these things held true.
Age is only a number: Through this event and others like it, I’ve met entrepreneurs from ages 17 to 60 and no one cares what your age is as long as you have an idea and work hard to implement your ideas, anything is possible.
Plan ahead: Perfect and practice your pitch in order to best convey who you are and what you do. Even better, have a website, portfolio, or other social media accounts showing your work. Also, have business cards ready to give out so they have something to remember you by. Typically, in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, there are proper ways to give and receive business cards. See the section in “Hong Kong Advice” on proper etiquette for this.
It’s not bragging if it’s true. Be humble about it: When talking about yourself and your accomplishments, it’s okay to let people know what you’ve done or what you are currently doing, but always be genuine and humble. However, in doing so, be sure to be an even better listener and to not monopolize the conversation. Also, always be truthful with what you have done and don’t exaggerate your work to make yourself look good.
Following up is key: Even if it’s just a text message, a message on Facebook or email, I found it goes a long way to say it was a pleasure meeting you or if you really connected to confirm a future meeting date. It shows initiative and that you valued the conversation.
Don’t underestimate the power of coffee: This kind of goes hand in hand with following up. Although this event was at a coffee house, asking someone to share a cup of coffee with you for thirty minutes is all it can take to make a lasting impression and connection.
The networking event itself is what I learned from the most. I learned first-hand how the power of networking relates to the job I want to do in the future, because a big part of it will revolve around developing connections that hopefully turn into clients and friends in the future. This event gave me powerful insight on how to meet, manage, and mold these connections into possible future business outcomes.