Networking is a big part of professional growth, whether advancing your career or growing a business. But it can be both challenging and time consuming for women who lack the time – and perhaps the comfort level – to put themselves out there.
However, women can rely on natural skills to increase their network – namely an innate ability to multitask, manage time, discover common bonds, and develop and nurture relationships. Consider these tips to help you reach a broader network in less time than it takes to play 18 holes of golf.
Seven Networking Tips
- Develop different networks based on your relationships, such as operational (day-to-day peers), developmental (mentors/advisors) and strategic (growth/business development) networks.
- Instead of making time to network, multitask. Because everyone you meet is a potential work contact, network wherever you are throughout the week – such as soccer practice or at Pilates.
- Career bond. Men ask each other what they do, while women are more apt to ask each other how many children they have. The next time you’re at a school function or waiting in a long line, try to engage in more career-based conversations.
- Develop an “elevator pitch.” This is basically a description of what you do and the value you offer that can be delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator. This will come in handy when you’re networking on the fly and are asked, “So what do you do?”
- Turn your personal network into a professional network. Deliver your elevator pitch with people you see regularly but who may not know what you do: Doctors, attorney, insurance agent, banker, hair stylist, tennis instructor, etc. All of these people have their own networks, potentially expanding yours.
- If you have staff, make sure they know the elevator pitch as well, and ask them to use it with their personal and professional networks to extend yours exponentially.
- Leverage social media networks with periodic posts about your projects and success stories, as well as links to articles related to your job.