Networking in the Netherlands
Plus tips for the best elevator pitch
Networking season starts sooner than you think. Networking events will burst back into life in September. We prepare you with 6 simple but important things to consider as an international when networking in the Netherlands. Besides knowing the business habits, it is also very useful to prepare an elevator pitch. We tell you the best way to do that, because how do you make an elevator pitch that sticks with your future work or client?
6 things consider when networking in the Netherlands
It is obviously smart to take cultural differences into account when doing international business in order to network successfully in different countries. For example, what should you consider when networking (for a new job) in the Netherlands?
#1 Direct communication
The Dutch are known for their direct communication style. Be prepared to be open and honest in your conversations. Avoid too much cumbersomeness and get straight to the point.
#2 Informal approach
In general, the business culture in the Netherlands is quite informal. During networking events, you can expect people to introduce themselves by their first name and without much emphasis on titles or hierarchy.
#3 Honest presentation
Be honest about your own accomplishments and capabilities. The Dutch appreciate authenticity and sincerity. Grand claims and excessive self-promotion may be considered insincere.
#4 Active participation
Show active engagement during conversations and presentations. Ask questions, share your own insights and show that you are interested in what others have to say.
#5 Give space
While networking is important, Dutch people also value their personal space. Keep a respectable distance during conversations and pay attention to nonverbal cues to see if the other person is open to interaction.
#6 A firm handshake
When greeting new contacts, a firm, confident handshake is common. This is considered a sign of respect and confidence.
How to put together an elevator pitch?
If you are looking for a new job or assignment, it is useful if you can present yourself in a quick and enthusiastic way at any time. Such a short introduction of yourself is called an elevator pitch, or in the duration of an elevator ride you tell who you are, what you can do and what you are looking for.
Suppose you meet someone at a party or networking event who can help you further in your career. How nice is it if you can tell your story smoothly and confidently? Good preparation is half the battle. So grab a sheet of paper and write out your own elevator pitch. And make sure you incorporate at least these elements:
- Who you are and what you can do and/or what your current position is
- What your talent is and what solution you offer
- What you want / are looking for in your new job
- A closing question to get the conversation started
Write all of these points down, and don’t worry about the length. Deletions can always be made. Then shorten it to a word count between 50 and 100.
Elevator pitch example
An example of such a pitch might be:
Nice to meet you. I am Susan Brown, I am from England and since 4 years I have been working as an online marketer in the Netherlands. The last 2 years I have focused on socials and now I devise eye-catching social media campaigns for a variety of companies. My next step would be an international position where I can work even more advisory and strategic. I see many companies missing opportunities in social media because there is no clear strategy. How is that actually organized within your organization?
Once your pitch is ready on paper, it’s time to practice and time your pitch. Around a minute is good. If you practice your pitch in front of friends and family, you will become more and more familiar with it. They may have feedback as well. Once you’ve processed that, you can go out into the wide world with your (first) elevator pitch. But, it doesn’t stop there. See how your pitch is received, and adjust where necessary.
3 Tips for an elevator pitch that sticks
#1 Adapt your pitch
Give yourself room to improvise a little, for example with your closing question. It should, of course, suit your contact. Ask yourself what he or she finds most interesting about you and your background. Highlight this. It actually works the same as adapting your resume for each job you are applying for: you highlight the most important points.
#2 Use storytelling
Your elevator pitch is not a boring summary of who you are. Ideally, you tell in a narrative manner with an example or anecdote in your pitch.
#3 Radiate enthusiasm
Ultimately, it is the combination of your tone, posture and enthusiasm that makes your pitch unique. How you say something is at least as important as what you say. Use language that suits you, adopt an active attitude and put a big smile on your face. Enthusiasm is contagious, so use it!
Creating a pitch is all about just getting started. Now that you have all the tips for networking in the Netherlands en for creating an impressive elevator pitch, you are ready to shine at upcoming networking events.
And did you manage to arrange a job interview? Then read our tips for a successful interview here!