Network Like A Girl
Much of my success as a businesswoman and leader within the equestrian industry is due to networking. However, networking is a powerful career and business tool that many women find challenging. Although women are typically perceived as more “social” than men, according to the 2018 Women in the Workplace report by LeanIn.org and McKinsey, women actually network less than men.
And yet, women are better at their communication skills. Social Media is second nature to us and in the world of instant communications, we have a definite advantage. We need to turn advantage into valuable networking ROI.
But for women, networking like a man is simply not enough. For women, the key to success lies in the power of the “Sisterhood “. Having an inner circle of female friends provides businesswomen with a support system, along with gender-specific advice and mentorship.
Women also tend to fall victim to self-imposed barriers — including gendered modesty, the tendency to undersell their value and strengths. Having an elevator pitch is the best way to market yourself and tell others about you in networking settings. Be sure to define your professional identity (not just your title), your expertise, as well as what makes you unique and valuable.
As women, our tendency to hesitate to ask for what we need and reluctance to leverage our connections to get ahead can also be a roadblock to our networking effectiveness. To be successful, women must be intentional about the way we network. It is not enough to simply be sociable if the goal is to have a seat at the table where our ideas can be heard.
Women also struggle with the fear of saying something “stupid” and thinking we need to have all the answers. Honestly, most everyone in the room is feeling this on some level — no one is an expert on every subject. Discussing an unfamiliar topic is an opportunity to learn something new and engage with that person in a more meaningful way by asking questions. It can be just the thing that helps build a connection.