Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Business Networking

I was browsing through my emails last year and came across this email from a friend of mine, who introduced me to OpenBC. I was new to this concept of networking websites. I didn't know how to go about getting connected to people on this network. Then I dared to start looking at this seriously since I saw a few high profile names being shown on the start page joining the network.
I started posting some job postings which I get from my friends who were looking for people in IT and other industries. This is when I started getting messages from people from various parts of the world. I started replying to them and getting to know something about them and their professions and businesses.
During one of the instances, i got connected to a person working with one of the well known ERP company who had their office in the same building as ours. In the following days during our lunch hours, we suddenly bumped into each other and said hello to each other in person. Its funny how one could meet someone just next door through this channel.

Another instance is when I got in touch with this gentleman, Borislav Moyanov who hails from Sofia, Bulgaria. Borislav had responded to one of the job postings on openBC now Xing(http://www.xing.com/) and we started interacting a little. When we had connected both of us had no clue that we could meet each other in person ever.

Just a month back Borislav mentioned to me that he would be in Singapore on a tourist visit and would be keen to meet with me. I too was eager to see Borislav in person since I had just seen his photo on the web page. Anyway, finally Borislav arrived in singapore on 16th July 2007 and called me in the morning to announce his arrival and looking at a possibility of meeting with him. I was free in the evening and so we decided to meet with him at City Hall.

It was about 6:20 pm when I arrived at city hall passenger service and was waiting for Borislav & trying to search for him amongst the crowd gathered at the MRT after office hours. Another 5 minutes and I saw Borislav and finally we both were meeting in person !!

We spent the next 1.5 hours getting to know each other and our experiences. we found lot of interests were similar and we had a lot of things and experiences to share with going ahead in future. We talked about our companies we worked with and what is it that we could bring together to the table and probably work on some project together soon. We really enjoyed the evening & we just talked about the great experience of getting connected on Internet in this way and then finally meeting in person.

Borislav had an even wonderful experience while he was on this tour. He had plans for getting to Nepal while on his way to Singapore and India. He found someone on Xing who was from Nepal and he offered to get arrangements made for Borislav for traveling from Delhi to Kathmandu. Borislav was apprehensive about this plan but then he thought of taking this chance and to his surprise things really went smooth. When he was in Delhi, a person from travel agency arrived at his hotel in Delhi and handed over the tickets for Kathmandu and back to Delhi for Borislav with bookings for his hotel as well during his 4 day stay in Kathmandu. The person whom Borislav could finally meet when he went to Kathmandu, was very interesting person and owned a few businesses & was very courteous to give a nice tour of Nepal to Borislav.

Indeed, these experiences are just a drop in the ocean for the way things are moving in the business world. According to experts, business networking functions best when individuals offer to help others to find connections, rather than "cold-calling" on prospects themselves. Business networking can take place outside of traditional business environments. For example, public places such as airports, restaurants, and movie line-ups provide opportunities to make new business contacts if an individual has good social skills.

As business is increasingly carried on across the globe, there has become a strong need for business networking to take place on a more virtual level. There are a myriad of social networking tools which have been created to fulfill these needs. Together with software which provides access to on-line meetings and instant messaging, people are able to both access and increase their networks of business professionals without traveling.
Social networking is a good way to find people to add to your own business network. People that can benefit from your knowledge and provide you with theirs.

So go on and start networking there are lot of opportunities around you, it is just about finding the right one. As someone has rightly put it " Small opportunities lead to building greater enterprises". Do leave your comments and if you are interested to join any of the networks, do let me know.

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