Every Woman’s Guide to Building a Strong Network
Women tend to make their way in the business world differently than men and that’s a good thing. But, one of the things they could do better is build a strong business network. Men tend to do this and it helps them get jobs, move up the corporate ladder, find a mentor, or get funding for their start-up.
Funny thing is, women are naturally better at building networks and they do it all the time around their families. Women can be great at networking in the business world too but it takes a little planning.
Decide the purpose of your networking. What results do you want? Think through the following:
What is my purpose for networking?
- What results do I want?
- Which events should I attend?
- Who should I meet at these events?
- What should I do after the event to stay connected and build the relationship?
Networking requires a strategy You need to schedule time to network and time to follow-up. Your strategy needs to be evaluated on a regular basis. If you are not getting the results you need, make a change – but don’t stop networking.
Make the most of your networking time with these tips:
- Decide where to network. Professional organizations are a great place to start but don’t overlook service organizations like Rotary or social organizations like PTA. Where are the people you want to meet?
- Balance your time. There are many things you do for your job and personal life and making connections is important so make time to do it. If you attend the right networking events and have a plan, it will be worthwhile. Make the most of each event by preparing ahead of time. Make sure to do some research on the event and prepare to ask questions that will engage others in conversation, so you can learn how they can be a resource to you. Also, be prepared to answer questions about what you do and think about how you can be a resource to others.
- Meet people you don’t know. The biggest mistake people make at networking events is “hanging out” with people they already know. These events are designed so you can meet new people. So NETWORK! While you network, be sure to collect business cards and make notes directly on those business cards so you don’t forget the important details about your new connections.
- What to do after the event. Immediately enter the business cards you collected into your database. Be sure to add any notes made on the cards during the event. Always add the name of the event and the date so you can remember where you met. Send a “nice to meet you” note or arrange to have lunch or coffee and get to know them better.
- Stay connected. Find opportunities to stay connected and build relationships. Social media makes it easy to stay connected in a natural way without coming off to aggressive or eager. You should connect within 48 hours after the event. Use LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to send a note. Be genuinely interested, add value, interact and be a resource.
Follow your strategy to make all the time, money and effort you spend networking, build a strong leverageable network you can use anytime. Then when you need a resource, an introduction or information you have a network that can provide it.
If I can be a resource to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
For more tips on networking download my free eBook, Connecting Your Way To New Business.