3 ways women can network effectively
“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find out
by someone who has already been there.” Robert Kiyosaki
Whether it is getting a job fresh out of business school or getting a recommendation for the next promotion, the role of networking to achieve success cannot be stressed enough.
The work world is full of examples, and both legendary and commonplace, of people getting opportunities because ‘someone right’ thought they would be good for the role. Networking can open doors for you that might otherwise seem inaccessible.
Studies show that it is precisely this skill that women need to work on, more than men. There are many reasons for this, including the nature of informal networking, the additional work at home that falls upon women and the likely hesitancy to talk about oneself.
Whether you are a freelancer, a professional in a corporation or an entrepreneur seeking to grow her startup, networking is key to success. Here are a few ways you can network effectively:
1. Take ownership
The one person most interested in your career is always going to be you. A good place to start networking is in a familiar setting, your own workplace. It is not good enough to just do your job but it is necessary to be an advocate for yourself as well. To forward your case, you need to be well connected with your peers, your manager and your superiors.
Set regular time with your manager to discuss your work, challenges in executing it and the future you see for yourself and the company. A healthy relationship here can help far beyond when you are working in the company.
Connecting with your peers informally will help build a healthy work relationship. Your colleagues today are ones you may meet in the future in a different capacity, and when you do, it’s wise to meet a friend than an acquaintance, or worse - a cold shoulder.
2. Reach out
Social media has pushed the boundaries of networking, and it is possible to connect to someone who you may have never met. Keep a close eye out for those in your field, the ones whose work you admire and wish to emulate. Reach out via the professional networks and never hesitate to ask for help. A genuine request, respectfully made is more likely to be answered than not.
Something that Shaan Khanna, serial entrepreneur and founder of Networking Now India explains in our #FinanceFriday video, along with other ways to conquer the power of networking. Read up and do your homework - so your interactions can be meaningful.
3. Find your professional sisterhood
Women are not only in need of networking; they are also in need of different networks.
A Harvard Business Review report explains that women who succeeded in procuring executive leadership positions after their MBA had an inner circle of close female contacts. The report says,
“...because women seeking positions of executive leadership often face cultural and political hurdles that men typically do not, they benefit from an inner circle of close female contacts that can share private information about things like an organization’s attitudes toward female leaders, which helps strengthen women’s job search, interviewing, and negotiation strategies.”
Today women have the option of such networks, different locations or ones that are online. The Basis community has vibrant discussions about various aspects of networking and career advice, including tips to build your business.