As the 2nd annual worldwide celebration of International Networking Week (www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com) wound to a close earlier this month, I found myself being reminded of how important it is to pay attention to some basic networking practices when networking internationally.
First of all, you need to make sure you are building a personal network of trust no matter what geographic location you are in. If you want to build relationships that generate referrals, you have to take the time to gain trust and credibility within your network.
Here are a few basic networking lessons you should keep in mind when building relationships with foreign—and local—businesses:
- Whether you like it or not, you do become part of a network, so make sure you leave a good impression.
- Maintain and cultivate your network—even if only by sending holiday cards every year. Encourage people to visit and stay with you whenever they’re in your area.
- When seeking to use your network for information or advice, try to empower individuals in you network to feel that by helping you they’re helping someone else.
- Be prepared to quickly build rapport and reinforce the positive expectations people have been given by their contacts.
- Be cross-culturally aware. There is a great website that helps people be aware of cultural differences that I highly recomend. It’d called www.ExecutivePlanet.com and I use it before traveling to almost any country around the world.
The value of having your personal network of trust applies wherever you operate. It’s particularly valuable in areas such as the Far East, where the culture of the community requires you to take time to build a trusting and mutually respectful relationship first.