Alternative Networking

networking

Why do most of us love to meet new people… but hate going to networking events? I spent some time pondering on that. My thoughts resulted in a new personal network-strategy. One that is a bit of an experiment… so please let me know what you think:).

I’m not a shy person and I love to have a good discussion about any given topic, but I still feel aversion when I’m entering the networking-arena. Probably the main reason why I don’t like networking is because I feel ranked all the time (often the first questions people ask are; what is your name, and what do you do, right?). I created a set of 3 new business cards that help me fight ‘ranking’ and ‘being ranked’ in networking-situations.

  • The cards are a bit mysterious to keep the conversation open:). Yes, I’m a graphic designer and I’m proud to be one, but I also like to discuss politics, have a big interest in education, and do a bit of journalism on the side. Instead of talking about favorite fonts for the 10.000th time, I would love to discuss other interesting topics.
  • At the same time I want to listen. Not to people who are full of themselves and only have boring success stories, but I would love to come alongside people and hear about their passions, struggles. Connect or inspire them. The cards have quotes that hopefully communicate that I’m a ‘safe’ person to open up to. But also show my own vulnerability in that area. And… the set can inspire others to be truly good networkers too: great people to talk to and ask advice from, for me:).
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Networking with Creatives

Last night I went to a network event for Dutch creatives in Hong Kong. I found it fascinating and instructive to see how different creative people present themselves in a setting like this.  It made me realize that looking for a real connection is harder then you think… even when you’re all it the same (creative) corner (at least I’m always struggling with that myself).

I kind of debriefed the whole thing with Willem (my partner) afterwards and we came to the conclusion that the quote above could be a key to a fun and helpful networking experience. I’m looking forward to the next event to practice some more;-)!