(As published in Expat Women and written for Dubai but would apply to any country)
Dubai is the hub of business and networking. Here are some ways to network, but also introduced from an emotional intelligence point of view how to handle networking.
Great ways to Network
There are many ways to network in Dubai and here are some laid out below. Even if your business is just an idea at the moment, it is great to network in Dubai to get a feel for how your business might be received.
Education - If you are a parent, school is a brilliant place to meet people who may be interested in your line of business.
However even if you are not, schools are a great place to provide talks to or pitch ideas to as the schools in Dubai are generally innovative and enjoy new initiative.
Meet up - It is a website that is worldwide and is pretty well known. You can search for things that are of interest to you and then attend and get notifications. Most of them are free or ask for a small attendance fee and it gets you out meeting new people. I’ve done speed networking, business breakfasts, women networking. All were interesting in different ways.
I would suggest though that you need to really involve yourself in the group, offer to speak or assist. Also make sure you keep attending. One off attendance to these events does not always build the community that you may hope to build
BNI - Stands for Business Networking International. This is an interesting, formal, driven and costly networking group. It is international and you can find all the details online and find a group near you, I do believe that it can be very successful for the right person doing this and is probably the best way to build your business quickly if you are able to put the funds and the time supporting the other businesses. However if you are just venturing out to test the market, the other options might be more suitable
Activities - Join activities or clubs that you enjoy or are related to your business. There is so much going on in Dubai, there is the sailing, power boats, kiting, fitness, the list is endless. Be part of those worlds in the things you enjoy and you will find like minded people and grow networks of beneficial contacts.
Hints and tips on how to keep a healthy mind in networking
Say yes to opportunities as although you may think the event isn’t for you, something great might come from it. You’ll also get to know your way around Dubai a little more which is a great asset.
Many people network hard and fast. Be ok with people not wanting to become friends but clearly wanting only your networking possibilities.
Not all groups will work for you, don’t be disheartened by that. It only helps shape your understanding of who you do want to be networking with
Try to go a number of times to build up the trust in the groups you are attending. Networking takes time to build so keep going at it. It is easy to give up when nothing comes of anything for a few weeks.
Talk to friends about your dreams or business, it is so often that they can point you towards networking events too.
Most importantly, hold onto your dream, idea, business. You have the power to make it work.