Antwerp Business Community: Belgium

Learn to love networking with Antwerp Business Community

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Networking: what comes to mind when you think of it? You most likely have memories of small talks with strangers—you remember how bored you were, repeating the same memorised lines about yourself over and over again during the evening. [Contributed by Antwerp Business Community]

Or, perhaps, you still get a bit nervous thinking of that extremely boring person to whom you had to talk during the last networking dinner with potential clients—how embarrassed you felt for all the awkward moments of silence and, at the same time, how rude it would be to leave him to find a more interesting conversation partner. You might also think of the countless business cards you received from random people at the business conference some months ago, which you have not yet organised. 

Unfortunately, this is often all too true: we all face these problems, which makes networking one of the least pleasant activities. Indeed, according to research, most people hate networking. Undoubtedly, they do see the benefit of it, and even though they hate it, they are forced to do it to boost professional development. But networking does not have to be like this.

Antwerp Business Community

Making networking in Belgium fruitful and fun

Antwerp Business Community, a non-for-profit community organising networking events in Antwerp, Belgium, has come up with a way to make networking events much more enjoyable.

First, there are no more memorised self-introductions. The proposed focus shifts towards personal, real-life connections. Every session starts with a self-styled icebreaker session aimed at removing the tension and building an atmosphere of trust and openness.

Regardless of years of experience and social status, Antwerp Business Community guests enter the room as equals—they are all like-minded people interested in life-long learning and knowledge exchange. They realise that the learning process is never over, and if they keep their minds open, they can learn a lot from every new person they meet. Therefore, the main focus of icebreaker sessions is to step away from your professional background, instead focusing on your personality. You can be the real you: you can share your craziest ideas, dreams and thoughts. To facilitate the atmosphere of openness, the session is organised in a game format, which allows guests to relax, feel comfortable and simply have fun.

Second, there is no more small talk. Antwerp Business Community thinks big and wants its guests to do so, too. Why should we waste our precious time talking about the weather or traffic when we can share our knowledge with each other right away? The persity of professional experiences and backgrounds together in the same room is the key to solving problems and finding the right answers. That is why each event has a certain topic; the topics are very broad, ranging from gender equality, digital transformation of different industries and innovation to negotiation skills and personal productivity. No mandatory previous experience is required—the interest and desire to learn is more than enough. Prior to the event, Antwerp Business Community team shares some food for thought, including useful materials on the topic. During the event, participants are introduced to group brainstorming sessions, which help them not only to exchange ideas and share the experience, but also to work together and see each other in action—it is much better to work with a person once to see how he performs in action than hear about how good he is 10 times over, after all.

Antwerp Business Community believes that true connections are made during real interactions. To foster immersion into the topic and to provide best practices, Antwerp Business Community invites topic experts who participate in the session, sharing their insights and using their expertise to enhance the results of group brainstorming session. 

Participants can get to know each other more during coffee breaks between sessions as well as in a relaxed atmosphere during after-event drinks. 

Everything can be as good as we want it to be, and this certainly applies to networking. For Antwerp Business Community, networking is not about small talk; it is about finding new like-minded friends, learning from them and becoming more knowledgeable together. Don’t focus on just exchanging business cards—exchange ideas instead! If interested, check out the upcoming Antwerp Business Community events and prepare to fall in love with networking in Belgium. 



Contributed by Antwerp Business Community

Antwerp Business Community


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