Networking traditionally means establishing a base of contacts for the professional industry. However, nowadays, networks expand into the field of friends and general acquaintances.
Growing your network can be as easy as keeping in touch with your friends as you grow old, establishing relationships with classmates when you’re studying, and talking to everyone you work with.
Traveling abroad is an excellent chance to build relationships and hone your cross-cultural communications that might benefit your future career or academic advancement.
Most businesses will eventually get to a point where they’ve got to expand into the global marketplace.
Traveling abroad and networking with different sources and contacts is the first step to achieve this goal.
Just like anything in life, there is a hard way and easy way, the wrong way and right way, and expensive way and cheap way.
Meet Other Travelers
First of all, you should not confine your networking efforts to only the locals. You will never know who you will meet as you travel through various cities abroad.
Other international travelers might be looking for the same type of connections you are. It can be very valuable in your efforts to establish an international professional network.
You should get to know your fellow travelers. You’ll never know that one of them may turn out to be the person who will help you with your professional career.
You can start a conversation by simply asking where to find sourcing manufacturers in China.
It does not matter where you’re traveling to. It is important to be polite. Keep in mind that courtesy can mean various things in various countries.
Keep in mind that if you are traveling for fun, you still have to represent yourself professionally. Thus, you should conduct yourself accordingly.
You shouldn’t be scared to apologize as well. Saying “I’m sorry” is a simple way to defuse any conflict if you step on someone’s toes by crossing the line.
Before you travel, make sure you search for major faux pas in the country you’re planning to travel to. Then, avoid this faux pas as much as possible.
If you’re in doubt, always err on the side of politeness and pleasantry.
Ask for Contact Details
You can exchange phone information and email. If you’ve got them, try to give them your business card as well. Always be prepared to exchange contact details in the medium that other people prefer.
Have a Goal
Networking is not all about having fun and making friends. You need to have a goal, whether you’re searching for a mentor in your field or seeking contacts for career advancement.
However, this does not mean you should ignore people who do not fit your goal. For instance, if you found some Las Vegas trade show booth builders, try to network with them. You’ll never know if you’re going to attend a trade show in Las Vegas in the future.
Know the questions that you’ve got to ask. Also, try to allow the conversation to naturally flow toward your goals.
When you want to grow your network, one of the biggest things you need to have is confidence. People will easily notice if you come off as awkward.
Because of this, try to avoid overly rehearsed conversation. Also, try to avoid being too pushy or forceful. You can easily turn off the person you’re trying to network with if you start aimless conversations.
Thus, your conversations with whoever you’re trying to network with should have a goal from start to finish. You should not focus on selling yourself. However, you need to determine commonalities between you and the other individual.
Attend Any Networking Event
You should try to research any event that may be happening in that country. While you’re traveling, make sure you attend at least one event.
Make sure you bring your business cards and be ready to tell every potential network your story. However, you still have to avoid being obnoxious.
Further introductions can often come up out of brief conversations. There are a lot of websites out there that help you find any networking events happening in the place you’re visiting.
Be Always Polite and Dress Professionally
Even if you are catching a late or early flight for a business trip, you should avoid wearing extremely casual leggings or ripped jeans.
Of course, you don’t have to wear a skirt, jacket, or dress. However, you still have to look polished. In addition to that, avoid creating scenes with any staff at an airline, hotel, or any place by being rude or loud.
Aside from being a bad practice, doing these things will make you memorable for the wrong reasons.
Furthermore, avoid getting drunk during a networking event.
Cross the Language Barrier
Nowadays, most people know that English is the dominant language around the world. This is particularly true in the scientific fields and technology.
However, if you find yourself in foreign countries, your native language does not always cut it. If you do not expand your language, you will have a hard time networking abroad.
You need to take your time to learn the “goodbyes”, “hellos”, and other important words while you are in another country. For instance, you might want to buy a hand sanitizer, try to use the local language to appeal to the store owner.
Doing so will help you be more socially accepted by the locals. It also opens up the opportunity to hold a conversation with a future client.
You might sound funny at first. However, it is a show of respect.
Networking can either go horribly or run smoothly. It all depends on what you do. The best thing you can do is to network with the right people and keep on engaging with them.
When you’re traveling abroad, keep these tips in mind to help you grow your network.