Tuesday, 19 January 2010

How to Network

Being in this line work, we really have to network a lot. Networking with people we already know is easy-peasy. You just reinforce the connection that you already have with that person or the company that they worked for, and add on to that with industry news or other people that we knew in the cricle. And bam! You get the conversation flowing.

But how to network with people you don't know? It is quite painful, especially when you have to make the first move. What do you say to that person standing next to you, looking as akward as you are? Or if you don't make the first move, just nursing the drink in your hand, hoping someone would speak to you cause you don't know anybody there. It can be quite uncomfortable.

They way I see it when I go to this kind of functions, is to bring your associates or friends. Then you'd feel less embarrased to talk to people. Or you friend can introduce you to her acquaintance, or you can introduce your acquaintance to your friend. There's pros and cons to it. You might end up huddling in your small cosy group and not do much networking.

But if you set a purpose coming to functions to establish contacts and network, that you have set a goal to reach a certain quota or meet a few pertinent people, then you'd use the hours wisely. I see people like this all the time;

1. Always look confident when approching people, there's brazen confidence and there's quiet confidence - it's all in the personality;
2. Never sit in a corner or stuck to a location - mingling around means you have to work the crowd, or the least go to all the corners of the room;
3. Always ask about the other person, don't only talk about yourself - get to know what they are about, and maybe you can connect that with your line of work;
4. Stick to topics relating to work, or the industry or if you have no common ground, talk about current issues, but never talk about politics. Networking time is when everbody is neutral and relaxed, don't mar that with politics;
5. Always bring your business card - important! to establish contact and follow up later on;
6. Never leave the function without thanking the host - must be polite.

The steps may or may not work for you. You just have to find yourself and be comfortable with it.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year...I am still in the zone to wish everyone Happy New Year :)

I know that I had been neglecting to update this blog.

New Year started out with a bang for me. It's as if I never left 2009, that I didn't take the well-deserved 10 days break at the end of the year. But I did took the break, and felt refreshed and ready for work.

My first task was to organise a half day seminar for the industry for 100 pax. I did it within the span of two weeks. Sending out the invitations via email and getting responses overnight. Made arrangements of the speakers and venue through emails and calls. It was easy for me. The response was good and overwhelming too. Last RSVP was 105 pax from 44 organizations. But 92 pax turned up from 41 organizations. The no-show rate wasn't so bad. We'd prepared for 100 pax anyway.

Everybody raved about the seminar. The contents were concise and very informative. This type of seminar they couldn't get anywhere in Malaysia, plus it's FOC. Usually they'd have to attend overseas course/seminar for the meeting industry like ICCA or CMP, somewhere in Europe where'd it cost a bomb. It feels good that we are doing somthing that mattered to the industry.

Our consultant suggested to have this seminar every two months, just to educate the industry. Somebody suggested to do it on the road, maybe move to another venue, apart from Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Hey, if you guys wanna pick up the cost of venue & F&B, by all means. It'd be fun to change venue and see how other venue works.

Next on the agenda is Ministerial briefing in February. That is briefing to all the relevant departments in the ministries. A daunting task because you can't just email to them. Must send letters of invitation, all government style. Plus you have to be patient and follow up with calls. Once sending invitation, must give them at least a week to respond. Cause there's chain of command. You send it to the KSU, it will go down to the DG, DDG then Directors, then the staff. It will take longer than response by private sector. Plus we gotta do it at PICC because that's where all the government departments are.

Plus, I got a gozillion things to to do. Appointment of contractor for office renovation, hiring of temporary staff, still doing servicing & bidding, plus undertaker for everyone else who's got a gripe with the boss comes to me and expecting me to do miracles.

Thta's why I love weekends and look forward to it. Dang, it's only Tuesday.