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
Loading...

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.

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • 8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study
    8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study

    Eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian nations, according to a research. The study, published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities. The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in …

  • Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship
    Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

    TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options