Building a professional network in Lisbon

How to develop a professional network
Updated 2023-11-12 08:35

Lisbon attracts hundreds of expats every year, be it for studying or working in one of the sunniest capitals in Europe. As a solo expat, it might be challenging to start mingling with other professionals — especially for those digital nomads and freelance expats out there. But worry not: we have a couple of tips for you.

Freelancers in Lisbon: get in touch with each other

Registering at MeetUp can be a great way of finding different events in your professional area. Digital nomads, for instance, have a specific group on this website and get together to do some coworking or even hiking during the weekends. LinkedIn groups for specific areas can also be a good idea for exchanging know-how and starting professional collaborations.

Go to professional events in Lisbon (and bring business cards)

Lisbon is a European capital, which means that it is on the route of major events and professional conferences around the world. Check for those in your professional area -- software developers, digital nomads and tech entrepreneurs might find interesting connections by attending the WebSummit, for example, while fashionistas and other professionals of the area might enjoy Moda Lisboa (Lisboa's Fashion Week) to do some networking. And don't forget to bring business cards!

Do your research and be early

If attending an event or conference, don't forget to do your research. Is there anyone specific you would like to meet? Where will they be, and at what time? Don't miss any opportunities to connect.

Shy expats out there will be glad to know this small networking tip: arrive at events early. Organizers and participants tend to be more approachable at the start of the event, so it will be easier to make connections. Go easy! Be interested and ask questions, as this is the best way to keep a conversation going.

Be professional and polite

Portuguese natives are known for being quite traditional. Keep things professional in the workplace by respecting people's personal distance and avoid touching unless you are already close to them! Casual lunches with coworkers are frequent, but dinners must be reserved for very professional situations like the closing of a deal, for example. If inviting a professional of the opposite sex for dinner, make sure to invite their partner as well – it's very important to reinforce how traditional the Portuguese culture is, so it will be easier to avoid any faux pas.

Following up with professional contacts in Lisbon

When dealing with a new professional acquaintance, avoid calling or texting straight away: an email is usually more acceptable. Always indicate your name, where you met your recipient, and what you talked about, as this will make it easier for people to remember you. If no reply arrives, then it is acceptable to follow up with a call. The magic words always go a long way, whatever the country: obrigado (thank you), por favor (please), and com licença (excuse me).

Portuguese natives are curious and enjoy meeting people, especially in a work environment. As Lisbon's popularity rises in the expat community, lots of new opportunities for networking can arrive very soon.

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