Networking is an aspect in our career life that we take for granted sometimes. I personally am a big believer that having a good network can increase your chance of success because I’ve experienced it first hand! A lot of successes I have achieved were made possible because of the help, big or small, from people who are in my network. That is not to say that I didn’t pull my own weight to contribute to my own success, not at all. But knowing the right people, at the right place and at the right time, does make things easier and go more smoothly for me.
Some people think you have to go to specific networking events to meet people. While some events do give you the chance to do that, I prefer to try meeting and getting to know people at various settings. The thing with networking events is one can feel pressurized to meet and talk to as many people as possible in a short period of time. Not everyone is equipped with the skill of striking up a conversation with total strangers (I know I have to really force myself to do it) so this situation can often lead to feeling embarrassed or inadequate, and we end up standing by ourselves in the corner, not sure whom to approach or talk to. And besides, networking is not about collecting as many business cards as possible, and then sort them out later to groups of people you can benefit from, and people you can’t. To me, networking is about building a mutually respectful relationship with anyone – yes, anyone! – even if that person does not work in the same field as you or you can’t find anything in that person that might link to your work. It doesn’t matter. If your aim is to meet people and build relationships with them, sooner or later, that’s going to pay off in ways that you can’t imagine right now. And don’t just think about what that person can do for you, also think about what you can do to help that person out! It should go both ways, and from my experience, helping people out can lead to so many great opportunities for myself too.
One of the activities I was involved in recently, that gave me a great chance to meet so many new people was participating in British Council International Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards last year. I’ve told people that even if you don’t win, just by being a finalist and getting the chance to go through all the process is already an eye-opening experience. But of course, winning the competition gave me a greater chance to meet even more people – both here in Indonesia and internationally!
During one of the most unforgettable trips I’ve ever taken, in London, I met fellow entrepreneurs and professionals from all over the world: UK, Russia, Argentina, India, Lebanon, Estonia, Slovenia and many more. The immediate effect that I got from meeting these people is how my mind was opened by listening to their stories, trying to understand their background, geographical or cultural factors that contribute or hinder their successes and how much in common I have with these people, despite coming from such different places :)
Anyway, if you are keen to expand your network, and you happen to be an entrepreneur who is between 21 – 40 years old, I strongly suggest you to participate in this year’s IYCE Awards. The registration is open till 7th of May 2012, so you still have plenty of time do download the form and complete it. The form that you have to fill out is rather long and there are questions that might force you to really think about your business, how it impacts the industry and where you want to take it to, etc – but I see it as a good thing because you really need to think about these things when you run a business! Even then, from my experience, it would take you less than a day to complete the form if you really put your mind to it.
Please visit British Council website for a complete info or follow them on Twitter: @BCIndonesia and Facebook page: BritishCouncilIndonesia. I’ve also posted the information on the forum. If you have any questions at all about this competition, I would be more than happy to share my experience here or on the forum thread.
if you have been thinking of joining the competition but still have some doubts, please just do it! I promise you, you won’t be sorry!