This conference is for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs). It is meant to help you. In particular, it is meant to give you an opportunity to network, both with other IEPs and mainstream Canadians. In virtually all countries, including Canada, networking is an essential part of one’s professional life. What you know is important; whom you know is essential. This remains true in Canada. However, every country has its own unwritten rules when it comes to networking effectively, and Canada is no exception. Networking in Canada follows unwritten rules that are often quite different from the unwritten rules in effect in the countries where you were educated. This opening session will explain these unwritten rules and give you an opportunity to practice them. Here are some of the unwritten rules we will discuss:
· Don’t wait for people to introduce you. In Canada, you are responsible for introducing yourself.
· Use business cards to give out contact information and a key message about yourself, such as your profession and your area of specialization.
· Do something for others, and you will increase the chances that they will do something for you. When you commit to do something, commit to a delivery date, and meet it – this will give your Canadian counterpart a sense of professionalism.
· Network with people according to profession. For example, Canadian engineers network with other engineers. Within each profession, network with people who have the same area of specialization as you do. For example, if you are an accountant specialized in audits, network with other audit accounting specialists.
· Don’t say: “I can do anything”. Focus on what you do best. As far as Canadians are concerned, if you can do everything, you can’t do anything well – you are considered at that point a “jack of all trades, master of none.” You need to decide what your field of expertise is (you may have a couple, but no more) and focus on networking with other experts in the same field.
· Your network is your own; you cannot share it. In particular, you cannot create openings for other people. If you attempt to share your network with others, it will likely backfire. You cannot give people’s name and contact information without first asking for their permission.
· Keep track of whom you meet. Use the back of people’s cards in order to write down key points about the people you meet, so that it is easier for you to remember the circumstances in which you met, what they might have to offer. Be sure to make a note of what you have committed to provide them and by what date you have committed to send it to them. Keep in mind that this conference is meant for you to experiment new approaches and behaviors with other IEPs, in an environment where everyone is supportive. Practice networking throughout the day, so that you can network with mainstream Canadians tomorrow the way they expect you to. To that effect, you have received 10 blank business cards . Some of you may already have their own and will not need them. For those of you who don’t have already have business cards, please write your contact information, your profession, and your area of specialization on these blank cards. Like real business cards, these cards are meant to help you network. Ideally, we would like you to leave this conference having exchanged business cards with at least 10 people.
Source: Dr Lionel Laroche VP President Cross Cultural And Relocation Services CPI Hazell and Associates, at the Conference for Internationally Educated Professionals, “Breaking Barriers Building Bridges”, held on February 20, 2003, Toronto Centennial College Conference Centre