Koreans are naturally shy and most are considered introverts. This is one of the reasons why many Koreans refuse to speak English even though they can. The mentality seems to be that if you are not perfect at something you shouldn’t try. Koreans are mostly perfectionists which can hurt their growth. This is because failing or learning from one’s mistake is the fastest track to success. This is why we decided to do an article on the best networking tips for entrepreneurs in Korea

Having good networking skills is crucial if you want to make it outside of Korea. Networking allows for greater business connections which will, in turn, create more opportunities. However, networking can be difficult for Korean entrepreneurs who are naturally not outgoing, are not fluent in English, and feel uncomfortable in crowded networking events. Thankfully through our experience doing startup events in Korea, we were able to help shy entrepreneurs in Korea expand their network. 

Here are some tips for Korean entrepreneurs to improve their networking skills and grow their network

Networking in Korea

Change your Mindset

When going to the next networking event or meetup, try to change your mindset. Don’t think of what you are going to say to these people, but rather how you can make these people feel more comfortable. Speak to them to see if you have common interests. Don’t talk about business right away, rather look to find a conversation you can add to whether it is sports, movies, or similar life experiences. Therefore go to networking events to find 4-5 people with who you can potential friends.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself

Know that networking is a skill that needs to be learned. Some, of course, have natural networking skills but for most, it is something they will get better at with time. The best way to start is to go with a real extrovert and see what he or she does. Learn from them and try to slowly incorporate those techniques in future meetups. Again don’t put too much pressure on yourself…make this a journey where you know you will get better with time.

Korean Entrepreneurs Need to Practice Public Speaking

Koreans’ top fear is public speaking. To be great at networking you should also be great at public speaking. However, it can be very hard. Therefore do public speaking through manageable bite-sized steps. Start with just one person. Once you feel confident speaking to that one person…move to two. Keep doing this until you lose that fear. For me, it took over 30 times but after a few months I had no issue speaking in front of 30 people…that is about the size of a classroom. The transition from 0 to 1 is harder than the transition from 30 to 300. It gets easier with experience and time. Therefore once you are at a networking event doing small 3-4 people conversations will seem like a walk in the park.

If you are still having trouble speaking in public, try to take 2-3 shots of hard liquor. Those can can’t handle alcohol should take 1-2. This will not get you drunk or even tipsy. What it will do however is relax you and lower your inhibitions. From my experiences, being at a BAC level of .05 is the perfect level for networking. This is probably 5-6 shots of soju if you can’t find any hard liquor around. A warning, if you get red after drinking alcohol, DO NOT USE THIS STRATEGY. 

Set Small Goals for Yourself 

It will be a great idea for you to set some small goals for yourself before you go to a startup event. As I mentioned, the goal of meeting 4-5 people is a great starting point. This way you will focus on trying to meet your goals instead of your insecurities. As long as the goals are achievable and realistic, you will be plenty busy and you won’t have time to be nervous. After the event is over and you have achieved your goals you will feel better about yourself and set higher goals for the next event. 

Let Them Speak More

This is great for Koreans. Those that have problems with speaking in public or are shy in general, can just be great listeners. The key to being a great conversationalist is being able to not talk and let them speak. If you do all the talking, the person may feel you are uninterested in what they have to say and unsure what action to take with the information you have given. 

Here are some go-to questions during networking at meetups in Korea

  • How long have you worked for your company? Do you like it? It is a typical Korean company? 
  • Do you like your job? Why or why not? 
  • What is the working culture of the company? 

Korean Entrepreneurs Need to get on LinkedIn 

LinkedInEntrepreneurs in Korea should all be on LinkedIn. It is great to have gotten their Kakao ID but it is also great to connect on LinkedIn. This is because you will be able to showcase your talent and skills and well get in connection with their contact. Koreans are slowly getting into LinkedIn because of the Blockchain scene in Korea. More and more Korean startups and companies are creating their own company LinkedIn pages as well. In addition, this is a great platform to get a job in Korea with a global company. Once you add the contact, seek out like-minded or specific contacts you would like to know better within their network. Furthermore, be engaged. Comment on posts and keep up to date on the feeds so you can have something to talk about if and when you see them. 

Don’t Take Up Too Much of Someone’s Time

It could be easy to get caught up while you are networking, you don’t realize you are taking up too much of their time. Before you even start networking, make sure you have some kind of agenda and keep the conversation on the right track. No one is happy when someone takes up too much of their time and it came come across as unprofessional. If you feel the conversation is going too long, try to set up a time where you can converse with them in-depth at a later date. 

Korean Entrepreneurs

Remember to Follow Up 

For those looking to build a real connection, it is important to create a reason to keep the networking going. If you see a video or article online that connects with a conversation you had during your meetup, feel free to send it. I would recommend 1 reconnect every 6 months at least. 

The best way to act at a networking event is to think of yourself as the host and it is your job to make them feel good and comfortable. Then try to find one or two subjects you can connect with them on. It is that simple. Business talk can always come later, so don’t think of this as networking but rather making new friends. There are many meetups in Korea for Korean entrepreneurs so it will be easy to grow your experience in a month. Hope to see you are the next event