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6 Tips to Networking in Panama

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Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 06:28
Networking PanamaWe get emails all the time, ambulance like seventy or a hundred every day, from newcomers to Panama or those who are about to make the jump, asking what, if it's the most important aspect of Panama personal/business relocation, is the best way to network oneself in the Republic. Some are looking to integrate their kids, some are looking to promote a new business, others are just lonely and looking for friends. Adjusting to a new country and culture is a challenge in itself, but the added responsibility of meeting people in Panama can be daunting. Here are our top 6 ways to network in Panama. Whatever your reason, networking in Panama can be broken down to a science. The most popular type of networking will be in the expatriate community, although finding one's way into Panama's elite is also a discipline in itself. Panama is a tiny isthmus and gossip or word of mouth travels farther than in most countries. For this reason, it can be domino-effect-like to meet new contacts. It can also be a dangerous multiplication if you're not cool.

1. Get organized: For some this means making business cards and learning the districts. For others, it may mean researching a particular industry/market or catching up on specific news. The first step, not unlike networking anywhere, is to get yourself prepared. Starting a business that people like/need is another, albeit more complex, approach. Then you'll have networkers coming to you!

2. Attend events: Expat parties, sporting events, art exhibits, project openings; wherever your interests lie, go to the place where your desired people hang out and chat them up. Spas such as Alta Vita Spa are great places to make top-notch connections, as are most music and art events. Become a member at a golf club, take salsa lessons, sign up for a Spanish class: chances are there are people just like you looking to mingle.

3. Go out on the town: Nightlife in Panama is great and there's no better place to meet new people than restaurants, bars, and clubs where inhibitions are lowered and people will accept your friendship more easily than they probably should (you know who you are). There are a number of defined expat circles that run around the nightlife circuit so find your way into one of them and let it open doors into the next. The owners of Panama's nighttime establishments are also good catalysts, so tip well and kiss up.

4. Work blogs, forums, and social networks: Become a frequent commenter on a site or a forum or join a particular social network group. This is kinda cheating but making cyber Panama acquaintances is better than making none at all (you know who you are again). You can then have that awkward first meeting and begin from square one getting to know your comrade in-person.
5. Network to give, not to get: People in Panama can smell a needy person from a mile away. Why? Because this country's full of them. Networking with a contributive or generous mindset can spark a lot of new contacts. Volunteer somewhere or help out a business for a month. Oh, and one other thing...don't be weird! There are so many goofballs running around Panama that, if you're too outlandish (and trust me, I walk a very fine line), people will just suggest you meet up next time in Chorillo.

6. Set goals: Try to score five new contacts a week (or more if it's feasible). Then give yourself a little reward if you accomplish your goal, like an extra-nice TV dinner to eat alone. If there's no incentive, you'll be sitting at home by yourself and sulking because you moved to a new country and are having trouble making contacts. Hell, give me $100 and I'll give you back $5 each time you make a new contact.

Networking in Panama can be easy or difficult. If you're outgoing and persistent, there are a number of cliques that, once joined, give way into other cliques, which will keep you in-the-know for a while. If you're shy and unmotivated, there's a good chance you'll remain contact-less seeing as though the language and cultural barrier may prove to be too great.

Comments (3)Add Comment
more specifics?
written by La Mer , May 27, 2009
All sensible advice, although very general. Would have liked to see more specifics (updated info in a nutshell about best places to meet, publications or blogs or any other sources where expats advertise their outings, business etc.) I know I can find bits and pieces of info about such things in your past articles; also on other sites like EyeonPanama and Sam's Panama Investor's Blog, but I tend to expect from your site not only new and often edgy angles, but also fairly complete, well researched information.

A line in #5 made me laugh...the advise about "not being weird". Although I don't remember feeling weird around others in the real world, on this blog I have had my share...
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BusinessWeek reporter wants to interview you about story regarding retirement in Panama
written by Michelle Conlin , June 02, 2009
Hi there,
I'm trying to track you down. I'm a reporter at BusinessWeek and I would love to interview you about an upcoming story about retirement in Panama. Is there an email where i can reach you? Or phone? Thanks so much.
Michelle Conlin
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written by La Mer , June 03, 2009
I've just seen your message. Since your message follows mine, I wonder if you were actually addressing me, bloggers in general, or Matt.

In case you were addressing moi, know that I am far from retirement and in any case I am not considering Panama for retirement. I see Panama as an adventure or as a tropical work-place, but not as retirement place. I invested in real estate in Panama City (long story). I currently earn cash from rent and I visit from time to time. Sometimes, my mind wonders up and down those green rolling hills, but for the most part stops right there, on the previous line.

I for one can only imagine people retiring either in a highly civilized foreign place or in a wild native land, but not in a wild foreign place... and Panama is pretty wild for an old gringo...
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 06:30