When you want to get ahead of your career, leadership gurus would advise you to start networking. The same applies if you want to improve your business.
Networking simply means creating interconnected relationships among peers and friends. In a business sense, networking is a way for you to either bring in money or to save money on the different facets of the business. . For example, if you have a network at a group of lawyers and conveyancers, then you will have a resource for good lawyers.
But networking isn’t easy. There are two things that could hinder you from creating a good network. One is the wrong approach to networking and the other is having male-dominated networks. In the following tips, you will see how networking should be understood and how women can take advantage of their natural skills in order to get their careers and companies ahead.
5 Ways on How Women Should Create Networks
1. Create a purpose.
People think that networking is equivalent to having a lot of connections. This misconception has led a lot of women (and men as well) to attend every conference that lands their way. As a result, they only have a bunch of business cards and cellphone numbers without an actual network to help their company.
To avoid ending up like this, know in advance what your company needs. Know the reason why you’re networking and target your search for the people who can help you. Although it’s better to have a network in other industries and mentors, having a focus will help filter the networks that won’t be beneficial.
2. Find a women-centered hobby.
A lot of women in the C-suite can relate when you say that there isn’t a “golf for women”. If you aren’t aware, a lot of business relationships are formed during a game of golf. Men gather around for a few hours and try to hit balls towards a hole. And during this whole game, conversations evolve from introductions to business needs.
But there isn’t golf for women. If anything, women are more inclined to have a catch up over coffee or tea instead of sports. So, if you want to build a network that will help your company, find a hobby that you and your fellow women CEOs will enjoy. It could be a sport, a hobby, a run, anything!
3. Divert the conversation to business.
It is a fact that men are more inclined to talk more about their companies than women. Women have a certain maternal instinct in them that naturally brings any conversation into a conversation about family, friends, and personal problems. These things are good to talk about, but they do not necessarily help your company. So, if you are interested in making a person part of your network, find a way to steer the conversation towards business and career.
To be able to do this, you should break the thought that women are not credible enough to talk about business, strategy, and goals. Once you get the ball rolling, sustain the conversation by asking questions and showing interest in what they do. Some people even go so far as asking them directly about how they can help the other’s business.
4. Use social media.
If men are naturally business-inclined, women are naturally socially-involved. Because of their relationships with other moms, friends, and members of society, it is a lot easier for them to create networks.
But this can be taken a step further by using social media. With social media, you can take advantage of a wider reach. By marketing yourself well, you will be able to connect with leaders from different industries. Social media also plays a huge role in letting other people know about you and your company.
5. Make it a part of your day.
And finally, successful women recommend putting enough time into networking. The idea that networking should be done once a month or during events is wrong since you won’t develop business relationships that way. Instead, allot a certain part of your day for networking.
This might be a lot harder for CEOs and people in the C-suite. But as a business leader, it is also your responsibility to open more opportunities for your company. You can do this by increasing the number of people you know and getting yourself into conversations about joint ventures. It doesn’t even have to be a joint venture. The fact that you have a good relationship with leaders from your industry can help your company in a lot of ways.
Networking is often seen as a task you only do when you are in need. But what people don’t realize is that networks are built over time. In knowing what you want for your company, you are able to channel your attention to people who will be able to help advance your company and career.