There used to be only a few events targeted to women networking. They were primarily focused on women in business – almost like secret women’s business for business women. Fair enough – many women were moving into executive roles in workforces dominated by men.
Senior positions were hard to crack and women had a need to meet, connect, to create beneficial contacts for their own personal and career betterment.
Are these events actually serving the networking needs of women?
The larger, older and more established groups offer a high calibre experienced speaker that you may not otherwise have access to. But then again this is an important lesson for women to stop taking the back seat. If you don’t ask you can’t get. You would be amazed the people you can speak with and seek counsel from if you just ask.
So in some ways these inspirational and motivational events can be a disservice because they fail to teach us to recognize and rely on our own inner resourcefulness.
Beware of Women Only
There are women’s networking events that do not allow men to attend – which is ok it’s about women’s networking opportunities.
My real issue is with women who will not allow even the most competent, established, credentialed and inspiring man to speak. Why? What are they afraid of? Are men totally incapable of being connected, interested or encouraging and beneficial to women?
I don’t think so. If anything it creates yet another sense of limitation. Is a group that will pass over the most inspirational speaker serving your interests or offering you a well rounded experience? These are questions you should be asking yourself.
Thinly Veiled Spiritualism
There are now more than ever events targeted at the more spiritual, personal connection side.
This may seem like an enlightened step, however I ask you to question the credentials of the leader? Is this group about you or the shameless self promotion and following of the leader? What concrete benefits are you gaining?
I am sorry to question this but the most successful spiritual and empowerment based network events for women that I have encountered seem more to foster dependence which seems almost cultish.
Networking – It’s All About You!
Networking is a fundamental tool of life. It can help you create lifelong friendships and career connections. Or it can leave you prey to the unscrupulous who take women susceptible to “obligation” and “reciprocity” bleed them dry, and spit them out.
Harsh but let’s talk about avoiding that!
You Can Have Successful Effective Networking
Choose your events wisely. If there is a high membership fee and an ongoing fee for events question the value and return on investment you receive.
If you are in business and doing it for business evaluate your investment as you would any other business decision.
Learn to network! Develop an elevator pitch. Try it, practice it, get help if you need it. Imagine we got into a lift together on the 6th floor and I asked you “what do you do?”. You have till we hit the ground to get it out and leave me interested enough to ask you a question such as “how much”, “where”, “can I have your card” etc.
Many women are unprepared for the elevator pitch. Get it right, be humorous, interesting and deliver it confidently in a voice that can be heard and you will win attention.
Know your point of difference. Create a point of attention (you know in a room of dark suits wear something bright & beautiful). Be the person people want to be around.
Be interested – note not interesting but interested. You can stand out from the crowd. So before you go, know what outcome you want to achieve. What you need to do to achieve it.
Go forth and conquer, leaving a band of raving fans in your wake.
Summing Up Women’s Networking Events
They aren’t all bad. They can be great, positive experiences. BUT that is up to you. Don’t fall victim to the needy and desperate. You are in business you have a value and a worth. You do not work for people out of obligation but because you are good at what you do.
Don’t add people to your list without asking them, or having them sign up. Alternatively if someone asks for your card and you don’t know why – say “you aren’t going to put me on a mailing list are you?” Uninvitied and unsubscribed email newsletters are spam.
Find an event that works for you. Find an event with people of the calibre of you, who you can help and who can help you. You can be picky and choosy because while you’re there it is time away from your business and life – the networking event needs to serve you.
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