5 Common Networking Mistakes in Singapore

Singaporeans and networking mix like marbles and mental asylums; one’s seldom associated with the other. In five years, I’ve never experienced a satisfactory networking event here. At best, everyone’s babbling about themselves, and the entire hall’s an annoying narcissist convention. At worst, it’s like the local housewives’ gossip club, where everyone’s whispering who’s got the dumbest idea next to Pets.com. In a desperate hope to salvage our networking skills, MoneySmart presents five habits Singaporeans need to shed:


Two people at either end of a bench, with the word

“Somehow, I get the feeling we’re not connecting.”


1. Be Blunt Like a Sledgehammer

I still meet people who start with “Hello, got lobang or not?”

Nice. Smooth as sandpaper and sharp as a bowling ball. But this happens with a lot of local yuppies: They’re book smart, focused, and have the social skills of a sullen goat in a petting zoo. Use them as a “what not to do” example; when you’re networking, don’t open the conversation with demands or needs.

Think of the difference between a stranger striking up a conversation, and an insurance salesman cold calling you. You want to come across as the former, not the latter. Your focus should be on establishing rapport and building a relationship. But start a conversation with your needs, and you’re putting the other person on guard. It’s obvious you want something out of them.


Someone writing down his number

“After that, write down how much money you can make me. Oh, and hello, nice to meet you.”


2. Use Only Social Media

With the advent of sites like LinkedIn, there’s a strong temptation to let your profile do the work. And when the responses aren’t coming in, this gets backed up by creative stunts on Twitter, Facebook, a personal Blog, etc.

Don’t get me wrong; social media is a powerful tool for networking. But when you lose the skill and ability to socialize face to face, it becomes a crutch. Your online profile doesn’t convey subtle qualities, like tone, passion, or a sense of dedication. There are a million user accounts out there, all peppered with keywords like “passion” and “belief”. But without face to face contact, they’re just repeated words on similar looking pages. To convey sincerity, you need to get out and arrange meetings.


Guy drinking wine and talking on phone, in front of computer

“Sunlight? Is that something from Memebase?”


Another thing: Time and again, I’ve asked people about themselves, only to get an answer like “It’s complicated, I’ll give you my collectionofidiots.com profile, you look it up there.” I guarantee you I won’t be looking it up. I’d have forgotten your existence in the time it takes to reach the coffee dispenser.


3. Lie About How You Got to Know Them

For reasons I cannot fathom, this is prevalent in Singapore. When we try to network, the worst question we can face is “How did you hear about me?” or “Who referred you to me?”

Suddenly, we’re like North Korean spies locked in a CIA interrogation room. No one wants to admit that they just cold-called, or that they went on Google and contacted everyone on the list one at a time. Despite there being nothing wrong with that.

It’s better to just be honest and say: “No one referred me, but I’m enthusiastic about this and your contact details were right there.” It won’t diminish your chances. But if you lie and say “Oh, Mrs. Toh referred me,” and they actually check with her, you’re exposed as a liar.


Creepy guy in hoodie

“Got your name on LinkedIn. And definitely not from staking you out for weeks, watching you sleep.”


4. No Pre-planned Approach

Before your networking attempt, have a pseudo-script or a plan. You can’t follow it word for word, but you’ll know exactly what you need to talk about. If you keep winging it, you’re going to deliver mixed, inconsistent signals. This is especially true when large numbers of people are involved; everyone’s going to realize that you’ve told each of them a slightly different story.

Conversations are also fast-paced, fluid processes. It’s easy to forget a key point, or to blather something stupid. By having a general plan at the start, you can avoid all that. You need to set down:

  • How best to define yourself
  • Which questions you want to ask
  • How to address problem topics (e.g. I notice you’re a Youtube commenter. Is your IQ well below average? )
  • When and how do you want to get back in touch

Pre-planning also stops you from looking hesitant; your responses will be immediate and concise. For more on that, follow us on Facebook; we have the occasional article on handling interviews.


Woman speaking with a mic

“And the best pair of socks I ever owned was back in 2007, when I…”


5. Talk About Yourself Only

I used to be guilty of this myself. Often, I didn’t notice I was ignoring the other person. At least, not until they took out the restraining order. But once I q-tipped the wax out of my ears, I started getting better responses.

The problem with talking about yourself is twofold. First, it demonstrates that you are, quite probably, a self-indulgent ass. Second, it means you could be wasting time. You could be discussing your achievements as a web content editor for hours, before realizing the other guys is looking for donkey trainers for his indoor circus.

Networking is a two way process. If you’re trying to get a job, it’s important to know what a prospective employer wants. And if it’s a business proposal, maybe you should pay attention to a prospective investor’s goals.


People drawn on fingers of one hand

“I keep feeling I have a very limited audience…”


Image Credits:
Danny Choo, jerine, Phil and Pam, Fayez Closed AccountShashiBellamkonda, dylancantwell, nightthree

What are some problems you encounter when networking? Comment and let us know!

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.

More From MoneySmart

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philips Gold finally shines

    Philips Gold made 11 service aces on its way to beating Mane ‘N Tail, 25-19, 27-25, 25-16, for its first victory in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Coinference Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.Former College of St. Benilde standout Rossan Fajardo had six aces as part of her 10-point output as the Lady Slammers finally barged into the win column after losing their first two matches.Ex-National University star Myla Pablo led Philips Gold with 14 points highlighted by 12 kills, …

  • Turkish Airlines starts direct Manila-Istanbul flights 3 times a week

    Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flag carrier, launched on March 30 its thrice weekly direct, non-stop flights between Istanbul and Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and plans to operate a daily service between the two cities, eventually, announced Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmustur. Last November 2014, the Philippines and Turkey signed an expanded air services agreement granting Turkish carriers three frequencies per week to Manila and Clark. In accordance with …

  • Azkals bow to Bahrain

    The Philippine Azkals fell short in their bid to salvage a draw and fell 2-1 to Bahrain Monday night in an international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama. Faouzi Mubarak struck the opening goal for the home side in the 29th minute before Abdulla Yaser doubled the lead two minutes later with a booming shot from 25 yards out. Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott gave the Azkals a ray of hope when he scored from just outside the box in the 61st. National team Coach Thomas …

  • Alcalas dominate rivals

    In a brilliant show of power and speed, Mark Alcala downed fierce rival and Philippine team member Ross Leonard Pedroza, 21-16, 23-21, to win the men’s singles open title. Alcala lost her No. 1 ranking after focusing on her studies at the University of the Philippines, but she’s willing to sacrifice once again in order to represent the country in future international tournaments. …

  • Girl, grandma hurt in land mine blast

    A 12-year-old girl, who was on her way to her graduation, was wounded together with her grandmother after they were hit by a landmine blast planted near their family’s residence at Sitio Totoy, Barangay San Jose, Monkayo town, Compostela Valley (ComVal) province. Lt. Vergel U. Lacambra, chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID), reported that Marcelyn Domicillo and her 58-year-old grandmother Rosallia Andaya were taken to a hospital in …

  • Army paddlers outlast Navy

    Army began where it left off the previous year, turning back arch rival Navy to rule the men’s 300-meter standard race in the opening leg of the 2015 Cobra Energy Drink-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta held over the weekend at the Manila Bay.Overall champions the past season, the Army paddlers made their move in the last 100 meters to emerge clear winners in one minute and 7.67 seconds of the event sponsored by the country’s leading energy drink, Cobra, and organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat …

  • Awareness: April Fool’s Day

    On April 1, be wary of people who may borrow money or play practical jokes on you. It’s April Fool’s Day! While believed to be of Western origin, April Fool’s Day is observed in many countries of the world, including the Philippines. April Fool’s Day is that day of the year when people take the opportunity to fool around a bit by playing practical jokes on the gullible. …

  • All-out peace, says PNoy

    President Aquino reiterates that the best option for the government is all-out peace, not all-out war. *** Likewise, the Philippine National Police (PNP) calls for a peaceful and orderly observance of the Holy Week nationwide, as hundreds of thousands of people go on an exodus to major tourist spots and the provinces. A blessed Holy Week! *** The President dismisses calls for an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the Masasapano tragedy and instead will …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options