While originally from Australia, I’ve spent the last 3 years in Germany and before that I was in Japan. And I can tell you, the Australian German Japanese networking environments couldn't be more different.
And I must say Japan is my first love. But that’s a story for another day
The Australians are very loud and short term, what can you do for me right now, kind of people. The Japanese are cautious when entering new relationships and only tend to trust you after you've sung a drunken round of Karaoke with them. And when it comes to the Germans, if you haven't been in business since 1865, you’re considered a new business.
Focus on the other person
Networking can be challenging. Add another language or culture to the mix and you’ve got. I remember when I was first in Japan, networking and meeting new people. I remember talking to my boss one day and saying, look, I think my formal Japanese just isn’t there yet. What am I going to say. What if I say the wrong thing. What if I look stupid. To which my boss replied, Brittany your network has nothing to do with you. It’s about the other person. If you’re in a situation and all you’re thinking about is YOU and what YOU'RE doing you're not respecting the time you’re sharing together. Your undivided attention is your highest form generosity.
Focus on building a long term relationship
When you’re building your brand abroad, you walk a strange line between having all the time in world and wishing that everything would happen faster. When I was a student in Japan I contacted the Australian trade commission in Osaka for an internship. Of course, they said no. We don’t do internships. I went home very disappointed to my host mother. She said Brittany what is the most important thing in Japan. Me - BLANK. “A relationship! What don’t you have with the Australian Trade Commission?!
Yes. You’re just looking for an internship. What value if that for them?
I wrote them the next day, to thank them for their time and that if I should ever be of assistance to them, allthey need to do is let me know. 7 weeks later I get a call. Brittany, are you still interested in doing some work. We may have a task for you.
I didn’t put an expiry date on my offer I went in long term and kept the channel for communication open.
If you’re building your brand abroad then you’re in business for the long term. And that’s how you need to approach your relationships.
Follow up with a same day thank you
What I do when I get home from an event is write every single person I spoke to that evening. All I do is write a text, if you’re interested in what I write you can e-mail me, and i’ll send you a sample. This email is simply an acknowledgment and thank you of your new friend.
The Zen principle of attraction
When you’re building your brand abroad you need to be very purposeful with your time and how you spend it. If you’re looking for funding, going to a start up event is a bad idea. Everyone there wants money. If you want a job going to a job fair is a place where 100s of unemployed people gather. Make sure you're networking spaces that inspire you.