Myth: Women Are Natural Networkers

Posted on Posted in Leadership Skills
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2 Minute Read | Women’s Leadership Myths

Welcome to Myth #7 of our 16 blog-series highlighting women’s leadership myths.

Myth # 7:  Women are natural networkers.

We hear this a lot: if you set women up with a network, networking will happen. Because women are social beings, right? They form book clubs and go to one another’s trunk shows. They buy raffle tickets and attend charity events. All of this camaraderie and friendship nurturing must make women good networkers.

However, the reality is that often women join networking groups and plateau. They attend meetings. They make friends. They offer assistance to other members of the group without ever asking for any help in return. Putting women together in the same room or online group does not guarantee any networking will happen at all.

The Reframe: Women are fantastic networkers . . . with a little guidance

Networking is about conscious, quid-pro-quo collaboration. It is not friendship, it is business. It’s listening, follow-up, sharing of goals, and mutual assistance to attain those goals. Once women learn the give and take of leveraging a network, once they master the ask, they can be unstoppable.

Try This:

Train the women in your organization how to network. Throw colleagues together to collaborate. Send them outside of your organization for conferences and industry best practices. Have them report back on their findings. Who did you meet? What is your follow-up? Define expectations and track results. Expect a measurable return on your networking investment.

Thoughts/Comments? Post your ideas here.


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