Monthly Archives: June 2016

Networking Can Be Fun For Introverts

Networking, networking and networking – this is the most common advice given to anyone looking to change jobs, to find more clients or to make a career change… When you are an introvert like I am, it seems a formidable challenge when I was first given this advice a few years back. Having recently settled in the UK and looking for business opportunities, networking in an environment as a newcomer seems almost impossible.

I knew that I would be able to network effectively at some point in time in the future. It required me to get out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. That is something that I have had a lot of practice over the years. I focused on my ultimate goal and got on with networking. Today, I network once or twice a week and am able to make relevant connections 75% of the time. I would like to share with you how I got on to achieve those results.

  1. Define Your Ultimate Goal

What is your motivation to network? How important is this to you? Who else will benefit if you are able to network effectively? These are the things that would help you make progress and enjoy networking. Anything that you enjoy doing will undoubtedly bring good results and you would be able to do it over the long term.

  1. Taking Baby Steps

London gives you endless opportunities for meeting new people. Meetup.com is a place where new groups and events are being created. A diverse range of subjects are covered: photography, culture, therapies, business etc. Some of these events are free and it allows you to go and explore. Pace Yourself. Choose to go to an event with no expectations and see what it feels like, how did it go and whether you have had any positive experience. To make it easier, choose one where the size of the audience is not going to be overwhelming. Other networking groups are BNI, Sterling Business Network, London Chamber of Commerce, etc.

  1. Choose events on subjects that you enjoy

I am not a great sportsperson. So, attending a sports event is not my thing. I enjoy going to a writers’ club or going to listen to an inspirational talk. I am going not only to meet people but also to learn something new. So, in case I don’t make any useful connections – it does not matter. I would leave with a few golden nuggets.

  1. Review And Change Strategy

Every few weeks, review and make a list of the things you like and those that you don’t. One of the good things being an introvert, we are self-sufficient as we tend to look inwards rather than outwards. Strategies are about changing our behaviours and attitudes.  Your behaviour is changed when you modify your beliefs. Whatever you don’t like – decide what you would like instead. Then, list options about how to go about.

  1. Trial and Error

There is no deadline about getting the results you are aiming for. Strategies are meant to evolve over time and with priorities changing, your strategies would need to adapt to the current situation. Flexibility is important when people are involved. You can only control your behaviour, your beliefs. Believing that you can control other people’s attitudes is a myth!. Faking your attitude is also a no go.  It does not help when you are trying to reach out to like minded individuals… you end up with the wrong crowd!

  1. You Are Not Alone

Being an introvert, you don’t shout at the top of the roof, who you are… You tend to make your way discretely. Yet, there are many of you who have overcome similar challenges and found their place. Susan Cain delivered an inspirational TED talk a few years ago about the power of introverts. Following her talk, she recently set up a community for Introverts: Quiet Revolution. There are many testimonials of introverts having achieved their goals such as public speaking, successful business owners..

  1. Networking Is About Listening

Networking is neither about collecting business cards nor about the ones who stands out. It is about creating connections that would be playing a role in your career, business or even in your personal life. Some of the people I met at networking events happen to be my friends, mentor and people I aspire to be. For you to make the relevant connections, use one of the main strengths of an introvert – be an empathetic listener. Making small talk and learn to know more about the people you meet comes quite easy when you are genuinely listening and not listening to reply.

  1. Do One To One Meetings

When you feel good about someone, don’t hesitate to ask to meet for a coffee. You will be surprised at how much you may have in common with the person. Trust your guts. Your guts instincts work when you are true to yourself and be accepting of you are.

  1. Take Time Out

Introverts need their own breathing space and time alone. This is how you recharge your batteries. Schedule quiet time for yourself on a regular basis even if it means that you don’t meet anyone for a day or two. Your “me” time actually helps to access your personal creativity and come up with new ideas, new options and renewed enthusiasm. Being is as important as Doing for Introverts.

Today, when I tell the people that I am an introvert – they are surprised. I have learnt to be at ease talking to strangers, doing public talks and training groups of people.  It has taken me a while to learn to use my introverted personality to my advantage when I am networking.  .  Networking is not only for sales people and are not for extroverts only. It can be fun and fulfilling when you learn to harness your personality to create your tribe and grow your network!

Se Loger à Londres: Quelques Conseils

Londres est une des villes les plus recherchées en matière de logement. Y habiter et s’établir pour quelque temps demandent beaucoup de persévérance et une bonne dose d’attitude positive. Trouver le bon logement à un prix raisonnable ressort de beaucoup d’efforts de recherches et une bonne connaissance du marché.

Cette grande ville est divisée en plusieurs zones (zones 1 à 6). Des quartiers au centre de Londres, comme le Piccadilly Circus et Victoria, sont des endroits très recherchés et donc plus chers. Brockley, Crystal Palace, Harrow et autres endroits en (zone 3 à 6) sont moins chers. Vous aurez des appartements beaucoup plus grands mais il vous faudra dépenser plus de temps dans les transports en communs.

Plusieurs solutions s’offrent à vous :

A votre arrivée, il sera plus aisé de réserver dans un premier temps une chambre dans un “Bed & Breakfast” ou dans des auberges de jeunesse. Cela vous donnera ainsi le temps d’explorer certains endroits avant de vous décider ou chercher votre logement.

Une solution peu onéreuse est le “Houseshare” où vous logeriez chez l’habitant. Certaines ONG recherchent des personnes qui pourront loger avec des personnes âgées pour un loyer modeste. Vous aurez la charge d’aider le propriétaire dans les tâches quotidiennes et leur tenir compagnie. Certains propriétaires louent aussi des chambres chez eux. Vous serez donc un “lodger”.  Dans ce cas, il y aurait certaines règles à respecter tel que les heures ou vous auriez accès à la cuisine et si vous avez le droit d’inviter des amis.

Vivre en colocation dans des appartements ou dans des maisons avec d’autres personnes est une autre option à considérer (House of Multiple Occupancy – HMO). Vous aurez probablement votre propre chambre avec votre propre salle de bain et aux autres parties communes telle que la cuisine, la salle à manger et probablement la buanderie.  Il est important de rencontrer vos colocataires pour avoir une idée si vous allez vous y plaire et de connaître les règles de communauté telles que le droit d’inviter vos amis et le nettoyage des parties communes.  Certaines colocations proposent un loyer intégrant les charges (factures d’électricité, d’eau et de gaz communément appelé « bills »). Dans ce cas, vous n’aurez en général pas à payer le “Council Tax”, les impôts locaux.

Si vous louez un appartement ou une maison seu(e), vous aurez à payer les impôts locaux «  Council Tax » et probablement votre loyer exclura les charges. Pour vérifier le montant à payer pour « le Council Tax », vous pourriez appeler le Council (municipalité) concerné. Ils vous poseront quelques questions telles que le code postal et le nombre de personnes habitant dans l’appartement afin de calculer le montant annuel à payer. Vous aurez le choix de payer ce montant en 12 mensualités si vous le souhaiteriez.

Le jargon immobilier est différent de celui en France. Ainsi, un « one-bedroom flat » est une deux pièces (salon et 1 chambre), un « two-bedroom » flat est un trois pièces et ainsi de suite. Un « split level apartment » est un appartement sur deux niveaux avec les chambres à coucher au niveau supérieur.

Quelque soit la solution que vous auriez trouvée, il convient d’avoir en tête quelques connaissances sur le marché immobilier londonien et les règles à respecter.

Vous aurez à prévoir de payer une caution (« deposit ») dont le montant est de 6 semaines de loyer et aussi les frais d’administration si le logement que vous avez choisi est géré par un agent immobilier. Certains documents vous seront demandés par le propriétaire ou l’agent immobilier: contrat de travail, feuilles de salaire, visa.

C’est important de lire votre bail au cas où certains aspects tel que la maintenance ne sont pas inclue. Toute caution doit etre enregistree dans un tenancy deposit scheme qui garantit votre caution. Tout bail doit être une durée minimum de 9 mois. Vous avez le droit de demander un “break clause”, soit une rupture de bail, après six mois. Cela vous donnera plus de flexibilité si vous auriez trouvé un meilleur logement plus tard. Un garant sera nécessaire si vous venez d’arriver à Londres et vous n’avez donc pas de feuilles de salaire pour les 3 dernier mois. Vous pourriez aussi négocier pour payer votre loyer six mois à l’avance dans le cas que vous ne trouvez pas de garant. Certaines agences acceptent cette option.

Le “EPC” (Energy Performance Certificate) de chaque logement est noté. La loi exige qu’un logement à louer doit avoir un EPC minimum de E. L’indicateur EPC vous donnera une idée de la facture de gaz ou d’électricité à prévoir pour le chauffage. A titre de comparaison, un indicateur B indique que vos charges en matière de consommation d’énergie seront moindres comparés à celles d’un indicateur E. Exemple :  un appartement deux pièces avec l’indicateur B aura £50 de charges mensuelles pour le chauffage et l’électricité en hiver. Ceci est considéré comme très économique.

Les moyens de transports, les commerces avoisinants sont des critères à ne pas négliger lorsque vous choisissez les endroits où vous aimeriez habiter. Sur Rightmove, Zoopla, Spareroom, vous aurez une idée du montant du loyer pour les différentes zones londoniennes. Un appartement de deux pieces se loue à £1,000 dans la zone 5 et le même appartement se louera à £2,000 dans la zone 3.

Certains endroits tel que Surbiton, Milton Keynes sont desservis par des trains directs à destination de Londres sans s’arrêter aux gares intermédiaires. Les loyers y sont moins chers et vous aurez l’occasion de découvrir “Greater London” – des endroits à la périphérie de Londres.

Le mieux est votre réseau à Londres. Si vous avez des amis ou des collègues à Londres, alors profitez-en, demandez-leur conseils. Si vous y plaisez dans votre logement, entretenez une bonne relation de confiance avec votre propriétaire qui pourra se montrer plus coopératif pour la maintenance et autres petits soucis que vous auriez avec l’appartement.

Finding Your Home in Mauritius

Renting a property is usually the most preferred option when you first land into a foreign country. You would want to experience living on the island and ensure that you have made the right choice of career and destination. The island is relatively small so that you can travel from one end to the other end in a single day. In terms of location, there is, therefore, a wide variety of choices. With heavy traffic at peak hours in the morning and late afternoon, you would prefer to live closer to work. Some companies are now based outside Port Louis, the capital city. There is a number of business hubs located in Grand Bay (north), Tamarin (west) and Moka (center).  If you are able to set up your office in those business hubs, life on the island would be more enjoyable!.

Most expats would live in the coastal regions.  Not only would they have direct access to the sea, they would also be able to enjoy the night life that prevails in those areas. Mauritius has the wonderful advantage that most of its coastline is good for swimming and snorkelling. Only the south part is not great for swimming but a great place for surfing. The centre of the island such as Quatre Bornes, Moka also attract a number of expats as these places are cooler and less humid compared to the rest of the island.

Schools with international baccalaureate curriculum or with the French curriculum are available. They are all private schools and are found in the North or in the centre of the island. There are school buses available in case you don’t have time to do the school runs. They are run mainly by individuals who would then charge a monthly fee.

Foreign ownership of properties in Mauritius is also allowed in some specific locations designated as Real Estate Scheme (RES) or Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). There are certain requirements for foreigners to buy properties and the Board of Investment of Mauritius latest guideline can be found here.

As is the case in the UK, a deposit is required when you move in. It is usually one month to three months rental. There is no guaranteed deposit scheme.  So, the refund of the deposit when you leave would rely mainly on the goodwill of the landlord. In terms of maintenance issues, it is advisable that these are spelt out in the rental agreement at the start. Building great rapport with your landlord ensures that your tenancy takes place smoothly.

A number of landlords prefer to manage their own buy to lets. They will advertise online or through their local network (word of mouth). There are several online portals. L’express property is the most well-known. Templates for the lease agreement are available on the website as well as other useful tips such as having pets with you when you rent a property. Most well established estate agents have their own websites: Park Lane Properties, Pam Golding, Seeff Properties etc.

Local estate agents do not require to undergo any professional training.  A number of them are SME’s with teams of 1-3 people or are self employed. They tend to specialise by region. Estate agent fees are not regulated and tend to vary depending on the location. It is recommended that you ask to meet the landlord so as to ensure that you are both on the same wavelength before you make your final choice. Also, asking for an ID on your first meeting with the estate agent is important. Mauritian IDs are now biometric and are standardised. So, this would help you to know whether you are dealing with the right person.

I have been surprised to note that there are a number of Mauritian properties advertised on Zoopla and Rightmove.  Most of them would be considered as high end as you would have your own swimming pool and provides access to a restaurant and spa facilities. They are mainly located on the coastal areas with sea view fronts for some of them. One bed property is not as popular as it is in the UK. Most locals live in an extended family: parents, children and grand children in two units, side by side or a large house converted into two maisonettes with the grandparents living in the ground floor maisonette. A number of young single professionals are now starting to leave their parents’ home to live on their own. As this trend continues on in the future, one bed property would become more readily available.