If you’ve been in the Middle East for a while, you know what this eyebrow twitching word means.
While the term ‘Wasta’ is coined and used in Arabic and Arab countries, the concept is used all over the world: Using your ‘social network’ or ‘pull’ to get things done.
The right connections in the UAE can help you speed past red tape and tiresome bureaucratic processes, get a foot in the door at the right firms for a job, enable business development and even get you discounts.
We believe wasta goes far beyond rubbing shoulders with the rich and influential, it’s about the right people for the right job.
Before you embark on this power-building journey, examine your current position. What are your strengths in connection? What can you do for others?
1. Talk to your current powerful connections and stay in touch with their needs
Think of the people in your social circle [not just locals and UK expats, but people at senior management levels, and friends who have large social networks] and evaluate their resourcefulness. Check back in with these people and stay current on their life affairs – You don’t have to be everybody’s best friend, but they need to remember you.
2. Dole out favors like it’s no one’s business
Typically, when someone asks for a favor, you think about what you can get out of it. Yet, acts of kindness in a business setting are never forgotten. The more someone feels grateful to you, the farther out of their way they’ll go to make something happen for you when the time comes.
3. Engage in small talk on elevators
In the UAE, whether it’s in a University or work setting, nationalities find a way to carve out their own cliques. It is among the three main barriers to socializing in the UAE.
Expand your circle by capitalizing on every encounter with someone from a different nationality, whether it’s the window cleaner who’ll wipe your car down for 10 bucks or the rich Arab gentlemen on the penthouse who can help you get financing for your next business endeavor.
4. Save names and numbers with keywords
A neat trick you’ll learn along the way is to match people in your network to other people. Being an enabler for others puts you in a position of great net worth.
5. Don’t forget the little, human things
A private birthday wish and a congratulatory Patchi basket on a special occasion are all gestures that count. They ensure that jobs are done on time with the right people.
Treat everyone as you’d treat a client. In a world of freelancing and transient markets, they might be where your next job comes from.
Always be available when people call – or call them back. Time invested in these relationships may have huge returns in the future, personal or professional.
Reach out to the fringes when you’re planning a night out: Next time, instead of asking your close friends, look for someone you haven’t gotten in touch with for a while and catch up.
Here are a few events you may want to check out [it’s where rich & influential people hang out]:
1. Capital Club. DIFC
2. Wanderer’s Club, Sharjah
3. Dubai Jazz Festival (whenever it comes around every February)
4. The Races at Meydan
5. VIP areas at different clubs (needless to say)
6. Laundromat’s in Business Bay/DIFC