Let’s face it. Most of us don’t like networking. Ok, forget that. Maybe you like networking, so I’ll just speak for myself. I hate networking. I suck at it. I’m good at speaking to people who I already know. I feel extremely uncomfortable and shy around people I don’t know, though I don’t consider myself a shy person.
And yet, having said that, I do know, on a cognitive level, that networking is important. I recently attended an excellent workshop given Helen Gottstein and I learned just how important and effective networking can be. In fact, I walked out of that workshop with a power-house of a woman who I had just met and who was helping me think creatively and strategically about my business.
It got me thinking.
Here are my reflections on the three reasons it’s vital to network with women:
- Women are better at engaging others
At the event I attended recently, this point was proven to me beyond doubt. Two women, in two different conversations, were kind and patient with their time, constantly asking me more questions to help me more clearly define my thoughts, ideas and strategy.
It’s clear to me that many of the same skills that make women better managers, make them better networkers. Women are better than men at engaging their employees. Effectively that means that they’re better at helping their employees access the resources needed to get their job done right.
When networking with these women, it translates into caring about the person they’re speaking with and helping them develop their ideas.
- Women build deeper and long-term
Women are excellent at building relationships and holding onto them long term. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, women have smaller networks, but their relationships within those networks are deeper, translating into more meaningful and loyal relationships.
In other words, women can and should focus on being their authentic selves. Relationships with women are built on far more than just a quick path to a promotion. And these relationships surely have the capacity to reap more benefits.
- Women want to inspire and share their experiences
There’s an increasing amount of conferences just for women, both in Israel and around the world. I don’t know when the trend started, but it seems like it’s just getting stronger as more women are finding great spaces to inspire and share their experiences. In fact, coming up in January is a Women and Business conference that will take place in Tel-Aviv. Last year I was inspired by so many women at the conference. Of course I’ll be attending this year. But this time I’ll be sure to leave my shy-self at home and network with women who want to inspire me and teach me.
Do you make it a point to network with other women? Or do you only network with people who you feel will further your career?