Networking in Luxembourg is a powerful tool — it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The talent pool is tiny and if you show your face at enough events, you’ll eventually bump into the perfect contact for your career. Even if it’s the person sitting beside you at a dinner party.
But what if the idea of walking into a room full of strangers and gabbing about yourself keeps you up at night? Does the mere idea of discussing the weather with a person you’ve just met make you cringe? Don’t let your fear of small talk get in the way of your professional life — you just need a few pointers to survive your next networking event.
1. Know Your Strengths
So your mouth goes dry at social events, but you still manage to break out in a cold sweat everywhere else? Even though being shy feels like a drawback, there are qualities that make you the perfect networker.
You’re more likely to be a good listener. Being shy means you’re unlikely to run away with the conversation and you won’t monologue everyone into a coma. The key to effective networking isn’t just asking questions, it’s actually listening to the answers. People will remember that you took a real interest in them.
As a fellow shy person, you empathise with other introverts. Enter any business event and you’ll spot a few loners hovering around, trying to be noticed. Take pity and approach that newbie or fellow introvert. You’ll make a grateful contact for life.
2. Network Online
If it’s meeting people face to face that makes your stomach a-flutter, online networking is an ideal way to get your feet wet. Out of main social networks, LinkedIn is the most popular with professionals, but Facebook is worth a try too. Follow these tips to becoming a social networking guru.
Personalise your LinkedIn Profile
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online C.V. Not only can you highlight your work experience, but also your education, skills and recommendations from colleagues and clients. You can even upload a portfolio of any videos, training presentations or articles that you were involved in.
Make sure to:
- Include a professional and friendly headshot.
- Be specific about your abilities, strengths and experience in your headline.
- Show your personality and what makes you unique. Luxembourgish companies are often very multicultural, so make sure to mention the languages you speak or the cultures you’ve worked with.
Join Facebook Groups
There are a ton of Luxembourgish Facebook groups that are tailored to your industry or situation. So whether you’re interested in Fintech or you’re a mompreneur, there’s a Facebook group for you. Search Luxembourg + your keyword and get joined up.
Being on social media but just lurking is like keeping yourself to yourself at a networking event. So get clicking — the more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. Like or share posts that you’re interested in and comment on posts with encouraging words or helpful advice. You’ll be seen as an expert in your field in no time and people will remember you to others.
3. Find Networking Events in Lux
So you’re a LinkedIn wizard and you’re the Facebook whisperer. But at some point, you’ll need to take the plunge and attend a real-life networking event — eek! — in person. People are more likely to remember you if you meet them face-to-face, and it’s often easier to get your point across in person.
But wait — before you stock up on business cards, you’ll need a suitable event first. The good news is, you’re spoiled for choice. There are too many networking groups in Luxembourg to list here, but a good start is searching your industry or job type by location on these event sites:
So whether you’re a start-up, a work-seeker or a freelancer, you can find your tribe easily online.
4. Get Prepared
Networking is an anxious activity for most people, but if you’re an introvert you’ll already have sweaty palms thinking about an event where you know exactly zero people. It’s enough to make you want to stay in bed. But don’t despair; you can dial down the fear by doing your homework first.
5. List Your Goals
Ask yourself: What’s your goal for this event? How many business cards do you want in your pocket by the end of the night? What do you want people to take away about you? Having a goal in mind can soothe those jangling nerves and give you something concrete to concentrate on.
6. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
Can you introduce yourself in 10 words or less? If not, work on a compact summary about yourself and repeat until you have it word perfect. Then you can blurt it out even if your mind goes blank.
7. Have a Checklist
Nerves do have a habit of clouding the mind. So do yourself a favour and have a checklist of what you need to bring, like business cards, pens, mints, the address of the event, tickets and anything else that will come in handy.
8. Connect in Advance
If the thought of walking into a room of complete strangers is overwhelming, why not find an attendee in advance? Check the social media pages of the meet up. Ask if anyone is willing to meet with you beforehand because you’re new and don’t know the ropes yet. And if it’s an all-day event, you’ll have someone to sit with at lunch and swap war stories.
9. Get the Conversation Going
You made it to the event in one piece. You’re clutching a glass of wine in one hand and your business cards in the other. But you’re rooted to the spot. Here are some dos and don’ts to get chatting:
- Don’t forget that everyone is here for the same reason, to connect with people. The normal social norms don’t apply — you won’t be rebuffed if you just walk up to someone and introduce yourself!
- Don’t worry if you don’t have a clever introduction line. Just smile and introduce yourself. Or use the classic and ask, have you been to one of these networking events before?
- Do spot lone wolves in the crowd and introduce yourself. You won’t be the only newbie or introvert there, and they’ll be thrilled they’re no longer the wallflower.
- Do mingle to get the most out of the event. If you stick like glue to one person all night, you won’t meet your goals. Go save another loner from a difficult event!
- Do keep the conversation going by asking open-ended questions and small talk go tos like the weather, why they moved to Luxembourg, last night’s match and so on.
- Do maintain eye contact. Introverts sometimes worry about what to say next, making them lose focus and look distracted. Listen carefully to the person you’re speaking with, look them in the eye, and ask questions.
10. Always Be Closing
Now that you’ve made a connection, don’t let them forget about you. Have your business card ready and jot down a few notes about your conversation on the back before handing it over. Your acquaintance will be able to match the face with the card the next day. Take some time over the next few days to go through the business cards you collected and get in contact.
Advice from Networking Gurus In Luxembourg
You can’t be summed up by one aspect of your life — we all wear many hats. Don’t be intimidated if your dream job doesn’t fit into a specific title on a business card. Instead, try to build a connection through a shared story or experience. When networking, keep an open mind and be curious. You might leave with a different set of connections than you expected, but one could be the first step towards the perfect position. Carlotta Benedetti, HubDot
Luxembourg has so many expats also seeking connection, so it’s easy to start up a conversation by asking where someone is from, or how long they’ve been here. Or, when you’re at the table for refreshments, say “I’m new here, what’s good?”. At The NETWORK events, members and guests have different badges, so you can ask other guests why they‘re attending. They’re happy to strike up a conversation. Amy Amann, the NETWORK
Most people who come to Luxembourg have to build their network from scratch, having left precious connections back home. Remember that everyone you speak to here is an opportunity and people will be happy to help you find your feet. Be patient — it’s a long game and sometimes a connection made a year ago will pay off today. Del Lloyd, AWCL Members Career Support Group