Women do network less
First of all, think of the last 3 networking events you went to and estimate the percentage of women present in the room. 20%, maybe 30%?
This is more or less the average of female leaders representation in those events. Therefore, it is an understatement to say how it is underutilized among women.
Since we women took legitimately place at the business table, we need to invest time also in events where business connections occur.
Why is it so important to network?
You can gain very important benefits by focusing on growing your network:
- Identify role models: we all know how important it us to identify ourselves and look up for models
- Find mentors and sponsors: they will help you to get your pitch ready, to put you in contact with interesting people and share their advice
- Create genuine and mutually beneficial connections
- Expand business and career opportunities: find new customers, discover people to work with or your next job…
A few numbers if you are not already convinced:
- 85% of the jobs are filled through networking (cf. Joint study Adler Group and LinkedIn – hyperlink: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-reveals-85-all-jobs-filled-via-networking-lou-adler/?trk=prof-post)
- 84% of people prefer in-person meetings (cf. Forbes Study – hyperlink:https://i.forbesimg.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Business_Meetings_FaceToFace.pdf) because they build stronger business relationships.
Networking is key. How to get it done right?
Firstable, stop making excuses. If you want to see the benefits enhance your business and career, here are a few tips to get started and enjoy networking enter with confidence:
- Network strategically and deliberately – List the events you would love to attend, target your potential customers or members of the companies you want to work for
- Build a network of diverse and influential contacts: list the experts and influencers you want to get in touch with and attend the events where they will show up
- Make it a priority: schedule time and save the dates in your agenda
- Share the events with your network, adding value to your circle of contacts
- Look for a wingwoman or wingman to go with you so you can feel comfortable to get out of your comfort zone. They can also introduce you to some people in their network
- Prepare your introduction speech
- Create genuine connections: mingle with as many new people as possible, listen to what people have to say, discover common interests, and identify synergies
- Engage and take action: follow up the next day with the persons you met at the event and dedicate time to your network to maintain and increase impactful connections and build trustful relationships.
Since a few years now, we also see flourish networking events or activities exclusively for women. Those are especially important because we can discover the benefits of a strong network surrounded by other women, facing the same challenges and fears. Joining these groups will help you to put into practice the previous tips knowing that you are evolving in a safe environment and that the other women will have your back.
Anyway, if you are still reluctant? Read the following principles:
- Show up and expose yourself and your business are characteristics of brave leaders
- Ask your wingwoman/wingman to take you accountable for showing up at those events and for giving you feedback about your pitch
- Listen, and ask questions, each interaction is a learning opportunity: you may discover a new feature or technique to help you in your business
- Let go of your imposter syndrome: all of the participants feel it to some extent – we are all here for the same objective.
As we have discovered above, there are plenty of advantages to grow your network and attend networking events and the majority of the people still value face-to-face encounter.
It is just a matter of priority and focus. Make the first step and gain all the benefits of a great network!
Start right now. Research events you are interested in and register! And enter with confidence in the room, knowing that you belong here, as much as all the other participants.
Follow us on our social media accounts and stay in touch. We will release soon more tips and tricks to help you grow your network.
Also, stay tuned, we are organizing our second networking event for women leaders in Lisbon on September 19th. We will discuss the following topic: How women leaders can build the next generation of brave leaders.
The occasion also to mingle and learn more about what each of us is doing. Let’s find some synergies and grow our network! Save the date already and join this group of amazing women! More information to come soon!
Enjoy your summer!
Cathia Ziebel @ AKALI Academy