Business networking for General Manager is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting method you can use to grow your business. But if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your business.
Business networking is a lot more than giving out business cards. It is about building trust. For General Manager the networking is a lot more than meeting people. It is about connecting with the right people.
Business networking is a lot more than collecting phone numbers. It is about staying in touch, about listening, addressing needs and looking for opportunities all at the same time.
It is how as a General Manager we approach relevant business networking sessions that makes it work for us. Networking is about being authentic and genuine, building relationships and trust, and helping others. Although increased sales is the end goal, don’t participate in business networking to sell.
Build relationships and sales will follow naturally. People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. Put your energy, intention and attention on business networking.
A company's finance director or CFO has always played a key role in the growth of the business in China. Aside from the usual finance related tasks, a demanding role is played dealing with regulators, media and overseas board of directors. This more visible and public role puts more pressure on CFOs to build executive presence. Many companies have found their growth constrained when their finance director is unable to take this role. Shielding finance directors from conferences and media sessions prevents companies from maximizing the potential of their CFO.
What is Executive Presence?
Executive presence is something that is not taught in business schools, but every successful leader has it. Top executives command people's attention when they walk into a room. When there is a crisis situation, the team turns to them for an opinion. Executives with presence are placed in high profile, high stakes roles to drive the company's reputation and business forward. Executive presence can be created by looking at it from three perspectives: executive credibility, positive image projection and executive connections.
Every company has a culture that includes norms on how to dress. The key to success is to first fit in to get ahead. For an executive working in finance, dress like a finance executive: well fitting suits in blues, grays and blacks will fit in. Conservative colored shirts - blues and whites work in every situation while some executives can carry more colorful shades like pink or lilac strips. Ties allow more room for self-expression with a mix of the above colors used on various patterns like stripes, checkerboard, dots and paisley. In finance, clients expect a safe and traditional approach to business and that is reflected in the dress-sense.
Creative executives in advertising or online marketing have a greater scope to be individualistic. Out of the box thinking can be manifested in clothing colors, and hair styles. In this type of industry, where creativity Is valued, this type of presentation is acceptable. However, even in these industries as you move up the organization, executives tend to converge to a dress-code.
Look around at industry and company norms, and dress a little smarter than is expected. As Jeffrey Fox says in his book, How to become CEO, "look sharp and be sharp". Invest in quality clothing, polish your shoes and groom your hair and fingernails. Successful executive presence starts with an executive look. The first step is to look like a confident executive. Stand out by paying close attention to the small details of personal grooming.
Positive image projection
In today's world of ever-present media, sounding good is an essential part of becoming an executive with presence. Many up-and-coming executives from technical disciplines, such as finance or IT, find this daunting. This can be due to the nature of what has made them successful. A strong focus on accuracy in numbers or minute details in coding are not the best preparation for being an outgoing charismatic executive. As executives move up the ladder into key roles, like finance director, CFO and regional roles, there is an expectation that they can handle public occasions.
A CFO needs to mix with potential clients at networking functions, present a case to regulators and handle media questions. Sounding confident, presenting concisely and managing questions are all stock-in-trade for a successful executive. This can be a big jump for many managers. So many take crash-courses in working with media or work with coaches to bolster their skills and confidence in personal expression.
Start with low-risk environments and if necessary bring in a mentor or HR partner to guide the finance executive into roles and situations where they need to stand up and present a clear message. This support is essential to create self-confidence in the executive. Small wins should be recognized and regular feedback given to the executive. Also, specific suggestions to improve their projection should be an important part of this feedback.
While executive presence can seem like an intangible quality, it is essential for a leader to influence and motivate their team. One of the greatest assets that President Bill Clinton had as a leader was his ability to make every person he spoke with feel like they were special and that he really cared about them and what was on their mind. In a world of emails, text messages and tweets, it's important to remember the power of personal connection.
Executive presence can be divided into competencies and one key competency is "connecting". Executives need to project warmth to their stakeholders and especially stay accessible to their direct reports. This can be challenging for executives from technical disciplines where the focus tends to be on task rather than people. Some executives benefit from support in self-awareness using assessment centers and 360 degree feedback from their directs, peers and managers. This shows their relative strengths and behaviors that may need further development.
For example, a finance executive who needs to develop more client relationships found that their natural preference was to focus on procedures and standards. In fact, this behavior helped them become a fantastic finance manager. The executive realized that they would never be a charismatic, super-outgoing, and life-of-the-party executive, so she decided to hold small presentations for key potential clients to introduce new and changing regulations. Her ability to simply and clearly explain these changes was greatly appreciated and lead to further business opportunities. All executives should build from their strengths to create their own unique executive presence.
While life in the executive suite focuses on business strategy and numbers, building executive presence in key roles, like CFO, is essential to maintain the reputation, credibility and success of the firm. In key and complex markets, like China, this becomes a necessity rather than a nice-to-have.
Identify which networking events you should attend. Pick groups that’ll help you achieve your goals. Find venues that make sense for your business. When you register for an event, schedule it like a meeting.
Determine how often you should be networking. How many times in a week, month, or quarter? Visit as many groups as possible.
Attend events with a plan and always try to learn something new. Prepare yourself for the event. Develop open-ended questions to ignite a conversation. Bring business cards but don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Give cards to those who ask you for it. Try to sit with strangers. Don’t forget to mingle.
Keep track of people you meet. Keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection. Establish a mutual beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients/ customers. Meet with the group members individually so you get to know them better and try to build quality connections. Consider other group members as resources. focus on the group; listen and think about how you can help them. Focus on giving. Build trust within the group.
While competence and skills were not an issue, I still had to face an ordeal while hunting for a job in Singapore. He shares the lessons he has picked up along the way to help other Indians hoping to relocate to Singapore in search of a better career and higher salary. Problems I faced as an Indian looking for job in Singapore by Kamal Kumar When I quit my job in India and moved to Singapore (SG) for my job search. The reason was a bit personal. My wife had relocated to Singapore 2 years ago.
Before leaving my job, I completed my basic search about the job market and industries in SG. I also spent a 1-month vacation in SG during June’15. During that period, I was selected by 2 employers in SG but offered a salary that was lower than my expectation. So, I declined the offer. But that gave me the confidence that I can get job in SG without any problems. I went back to India, resigned after a 2-month notice period and shifted to SG as a full-time job seeker. I came here with expectations of getting an opportunity that was better than my Indian job. I was in manager position in the manufacturing industry in India. During the first 2-3 months, I was getting jobs of lower salary compared to my Indian job. I kept declining those offers. After 3-4 months, the interview calls drops and the tough time began. One thing that kept me calm and balanced was that I was actively involved in the local community services and participating in the events organised by ‘InterNations‘.
These activities not only helped me in utilising my time productively, but also in creating a local community network. The gap in my career was increasing day by day. That’s when I started looking for jobs back in India through my contacts. I’ve got good offers from India. I am now looking ahead to move back in India and get my career back on track. During these tough times, I learnt many lessons that I would like to share with other Indians who are looking for jobs in Singapore. How to get a job in Singapore from India What makes Singapore a good country for Indians to work and live in? Singapore is developed country with one of the most successful economies in the world. SG is an attractive destination for Indians to work, as one can fulfill the dream of earning a salary in dollars while staying close to India.
There is good competition between highly-skilled natives and expats. If you are looking for job in SG, here are some topics and questions that may cross your mind. How to get a work permit for Singapore? Which is better – search for a job in Singapore while working in India? Or go to Singapore and then search for a job? Are my skills or experience in demand in SG? Will I get the job in SG? What’s my backup plan if I don’t?
Getting a work permit in SG The primary question that may come to your mind is – do I need work permit as a foreigner in Singapore? Unlike in USA or Canada, in Singapore, firstly you need to secure a job, and then a Work Pass will be issued by employer. For foreign professionals searching for manager and executive level jobs, candidates need to earn at least $3,300 a month and have acceptable qualifications. For high-earning existing Employment pass holders or overseas foreign professionals, the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.
You may be thinking. “Can I search for a job if I am living in SG on a dependent pass?” Yes, you can apply for Singapore jobs even if you are there as a dependent. After securing a job, the employer can issue a letter of consent with Ministry of Manpower or the employer may apply for an employment pass. Search for Singapore jobs from India or after going to SG? Can I search for job in SG while working in India? Yes, you can. However, employers prefer face-to-face interviews and they also prefer foreigners staying in SG. It would be little bit difficult to find a job in SG while staying in India, unless you already have strong network in SG that works for you and prospective employer agree to complete the selection process online.
How to find jobs in Singapore? To start with your job search, there are lots of online job portals that provide lot of information such as JobsCentral.com.sg, sg.JobStreet.com, JobsCentral.com.sg. Another important source is the main English language newspaper in Singapore, The Straits Times, publishes a “Classified Jobs” and “Executive Appointments” supplement every Saturday that lists a wide range of job opportunities. The online version of these job listings can be found in the ST701 portal. Some companies hire recruitment agencies to help them find candidates. Some reputed recruitment agencies include GMP, Adecco, Kelly Services, Hudson, Michael Page, Robert Walters and Recruit Express.
While searching online for jobs in SG, you will notice many job postings stating that Singaporeans/PR should apply. There are fewer job openings for foreigners. The reason is that Employers in Singapore are granted some quota from Ministry of Manpower, in which they can hire foreigners. In simple terms, if there are 10 job openings in the market, it may be possible that only 2 are open for foreigners and the rest for Singaporeans/PR holders. Another important point is that in India, you can find thousands of job consultants who promise you jobs and extract a good amount of money from you for resume services and job search. There is no such thing as a paid consultant to find jobs in Singapore. You can hire consultants for resume services, career counselling and coaching services in SG to advise you on the right path. But the job consultants work for the company not for the candidates. They look for the right people for the job, not jobs for the people.You can contact recruitment consultants to discuss about the job opportunity.
Are my skills & experience in demand in the Singapore job market? Before jumping into the job search, it is very important to take a closer look of the job market and prepare for the sector that offers best employment opportunity. Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Work Force Development Agency publish a labour market guide, listing jobs which they expect to be in demand in the upcoming year. It includes information on expected labour shortages in different industries, average wages, and the relevant skills and qualifications for these jobs. It is advisable to consult the skills in demand list on Ministry of manpower website.
Will I get a job in Singapore? What’s my backup plan? One of the main reasons of not getting the first job in SG is being inflexible and not willing to compromise with a low salary jobs that you are offered. So, it is advisable to accept the first job even if it is lesser than your expectation. It is important to first get your foot in the door. You should try to remain flexible and keep the options open. However, you should also keep cost of living in SG in mind before accepting any offer. It is advisable to keep in touch with your previous employers and other contacts in India. It might be possible that after 6 to 7 month of job search in SG, you have to come back to India to have your career on track. So be flexible, act smart, be ready to learn new things, expand your professional network and take right decision on right time. Good luck for all professionals, looking for job in Singapore.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible General Manager you must show up regularly and on time, show others how you deal with business meetings and associates. Give quality referrals and leads. If someone gives you a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Take a referral seriously.
Don’t spam on social networks. Use the platforms designed for General Manager to build relationships and expand your network.
Limit self-promotion. Don’t sell. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can. Share relevant information with others as people love to learn new things. Participate in discussions. Let others know you’re real. Be approachable. Treat your online connections just as valuable as your offline connections.