Did you know that one crucial difference between how women and men manage their careers is how they form professional networks?
Men's networks are widely dispersed while women tend to form their professional networks in the same ways they form their personal ones -- based on trust and first-degree knowledge. Women tend to stay in their comfort zones with old friends, former colleagues, and “safe” networks where many of us know one another. This insular approach can actually stop women from reaching beyond the people they already know, reducing the effectiveness of their networks by excluding people who could become a positive influence on their professional lives.
But savvy women executives are learning from their male counterparts and replicating the nuances of male networking that have proven successful, taking time to meet and engage new people!
So let’s learn some of the networking rules of engagement that will yield better results and help us gain more meaningful and tangential connections.
Yes, the old model of networking for short-term gain -- to help you find that next job -- can yield immediate financial returns, but the new rules will pay off in the long run. Instead of leveraging people for your own gain, start to learn from them and make more meaningful gains from these connections.
What more women are realizing is that formal networking is critical to their success. While these types of formal networks are taking hold in several fields, including medicine and science, women executives are often too busy to take advantage of them. Oftentimes women are so focused on succeeding in their current jobs and getting their jobs done well, they may not think about attending an event or make these a priority.
So say “yes” to salons and other organized networking events that will introduce interesting people to one another. Use your network to learn new things. Share interesting knowledge, and you will make deeper connections rather than just adding people to your network.
I know digital networking groups are important, but don’t assume you are networking just because you are on LinkedIn.
A great networker is someone who helps people connect with others! Invest in building a deeper network by developing a reputation as a person who has something to offer others.
“It’s not just about who I know, it’s about what I know.”
And that is why I founded Aspire Ascend, so women executives have the space not only to support each other but also the ability to expand their networks and enhance their professional and personal lives.
Take a look at the photos from our most recent networking event, Wine, Women, and Knowledge, held November 16, 2017!