Last week I had my first networking experience.Intern China Qingdao Office Manager Jack Fairhead asked me to go with him to a conference and now I want to pass my newly gained knowledge on to you and explain some things about networking and what to pay attention to.

A good reputation is one of the keys to success for a company’s business but also for yourself as a private person. Being known by customers but also by other companies can be decisive in many ways. There are many means to gain renown and networking is one of them.

For Chinese entrepreneurs, relationships are really important and constitute a basis for business relations. It is always better if you already know meet your partner before doing business. In fact, it often really works like this in China. When foreign companies come to China for a business trip or want to sign a contract, they are being invited out for a big dinner where it is a lot of socializing before even one word about business is lost.

So for our networking meeting, we went to the place where the meeting was organised. Lots of entrepreneurs where there, attending the conference. Networking seems to be very easy but there are a few do’s and don’ts you have to respect, otherwise you will make a bad impression on other people and the companies they are representing.

In the West exchanging business cards is a common act that doesn’t have any special meaning. In China you always have to take the card with two hands and read it carefully in front of your contact. It is a sign of respect! – because Chinese people considers name cards like a part of themselves and will only give it to you when they trust you.

It is also very important not to interrupt talks between people or just go to every single person in the room and introduce yourself. Be patient and polite and people will easily come to you and have a talk. Speaking English for this kind of event is okay. But it would be much more efficient with some basic knowledge of Chinese language, even though it’s only a few words, but the impression you give is a completely different one.

I finally managed to talk with several people, and I received many name cards! I really enjoyed it and I look forward to go to the next networking meeting. 🙂

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