Top 4 Tips for Boosting Your Networking Success
When relocating to a new city or country, networking is essential to your success—in the Middle East, it is no different. Making the most of your new venture is undoubtedly eased by exploring new relationships and assembling new contacts. In Dubai, you will find a host of online networking opportunities available, however, you’ll be wise to consider the particulars of working in the UAE. Particularly within the business community, face-to-face meetings hold much more weight.
Building a professional network from scratch can be extremely daunting, but the hard work will pay off. While you might not ordinarily be the type of person who loves getting out there and meeting new people, the fact is, you have made the decision to live and work somewhere new—and that’s huge! At the very least, it demonstrates your desire to expand your horizons and embrace the unknown, and that outlook will stand you in great stead to embrace the process of networking.
OUR TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK IN DUBAI
1: EMBRACE THE MULTICULTURAL ATMOSPHERE
Dubai is a city of expats. This means that you will come across many Westerners and will likely not need to change too many behaviours in order to interact with them successfully. However, there are also lots of expats from other Arab countries and many South and Southeast Asians all successfully making their home in Dubai. When interacting in Dubai, therefore, you must be sympathetic to local, and indeed more generally, Muslim customs. These will include:
· using only your right hand for eating, shaking hands or offering a business card
· embracing small talk and never jumping directly into business matters
· remembering to never shake hands with a member of the opposite sex
· dressing modestly
· learning at least a few Arabic words
· focusing on common goals, not differences
2: BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR GOALS
A successful network in Dubai isn’t entirely a numbers game. Building truly effective relationships is about matching yourself with those with which there is mutual benefit. To do this, you must be explicitly clear about your goals. Think of networking as self-marketing. By defining the who, what and why, you will be able to market yourself to the right people, in the right places, for the right reasons in order to achieve the right results.
Don’t forget, the most successful marketing campaigns are born from targeting those who are open to—and could really benefit from—what you are selling. Therefore, position yourself where you can actually offer value to the relationship. In doing so, you will acquire a confidence which will allow you to network with real conviction and success.
3: RESPECT YOURSELF
It is important to be yourself. Trying to be something you’re not is likely to be counterproductive. You could demonstrate a real lack of industry knowledge, come across as disingenuous or put a real dent in your trustworthiness. You could even face burnout by constantly trying to maintain the false persona you’ve adopted or you could simply end up not attracting the right people with whom you can offer and receive value.
By pinpointing exactly what you want and need, and then concentrating on performing at your best, you are more likely to develop relationships which will take you further. Whether you are more introverted or extroverted, working within your own parameters and seeking out the opportunities best suited to your personality will be far more effective. Networking is thriving in Dubai and there is something to suit everyone. There is no right or wrong in terms of what you can authentically offer, just trust in yourself and respect your own character.
4: BE GENUINE
Following on from the notion of respecting yourself, be sure to respect others too. If you commit to something, whether that be a follow-up call, email or meeting, make sure you do it. Having spent time with someone, engaging in conversation and striking up a rapport, it is essential that you follow through with any promises—whether it’s a promise of introduction, a sample of your product or even just an indication you wish to meet again.
In the UAE, word-of-mouth referrals are very powerful, and making as many positive contacts as possible will not only expand your job prospects but also accelerate your growth and personal success. Never underestimate someone’s influence to your future success. From the security guard in your building to the parent at the school gate, there are a host of informal networks which have authority, sway and connections which could prove very useful.
Finally, remember that networking is not directly transactional. The more you build your network, the more opportunities you will create for yourself. Spending time making connections will not be in vain. Patience and perseverance are required, and by following these tips results will surely materialise.
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