How to network: 4 women share their strategies

We spoke to four women across industries, in high profile senior roles about their experiences networking, the opportunities for women and the outcomes.

‘Women are empathy led, focussed on long term relationships’

Janine Lum, Property Consultant at Hodges Real Estate and hosts monthly networking event European Women in Business

The women I represent and interact with are often high profile, busy and selective about their time and what makes a ‘worthwhile’ networking opportunity. They also look for events where there are easy opportunities to break the ice as they often attend on their own.

In my experience, women typically look for people they can form long lasting, meaningful relationships with. In real estate, women look to me to empathise with them and represent their best interests, particularly during trying times such as when they are either moving on from property due to a death in the family or divorce.  

I started the European Women in Business events because so many of my colleagues were tired of meeting the same people at events, particularly those who worked in male dominated industries. Therefore I decided to answer this need by bringing these women to events that were stylish, elegant, but most importantly, informative.

Women in real estate more often than not come to clients with the attitude of ‘how can I help you’, ‘what’s the next step for you after this sale’. This demonstrates that women have high levels of EQ and recognise the benefit of continuing the relationship past the sale.

‘Opportunities to mentors are essential for promotional access’

Sheridan Devereux, Account Director, HBT Agency

Networking events such as Business Chicks and League of Extraordinary Women are great as they support inclusion and promotion of women expanding their networks.

Women need more opportunities to progress their careers and networking is a great tool to assist with that. There’s a focus on entrepreneurial led events, there’s an opportunity for more industry learning events such as digital learning, up skilling, agency management, client service. 

Specifically, in the advertising industry, tangible tips on how to progress from junior and medium roles to reaching senior roles are hugely overlooked. It would be great to see more opportunities, particularly in my industry, providing access to mentors and sponsors who assist with the development of securing these roles.

‘Men and women network differently and want different things’

Michelle Cox, COO, Bastion Group

Emotional Intelligence is the difference between a good and a great leader - and women have this in spades. Having the ability to read other people’s body language is one of the most competitive advantages anyone can have.

Essentially, men and women network differently.  

Women are more often motivated by networks that benefit the wider community, family and friends. These skills and motivations should be perceived by men and women alike as a strength and competitive advantage, not a weakness. 

The businesses that are flourishing are those who understand this. They understand what makes women different, and use this to their advantage to encourage and grow their community.

More connected and networked individuals are more likely to be promoted and put forward as recommendations. You are more likely to be put forward for new roles or promotions when your network supports you to do so. At Bastion Group, I implore all my female team members to take every opportunity to widen their network – you never know who they might meet or what they might learn. 

‘Women use their networks to generate referrals’

Anna O’Dea, recruiter and Director, Agency Iceberg

Women and colleagues in my industry tend to attending industry related events, local meet-ups (PRINKS, B&T Awards, French cooking classes for example), asking for referrals within their network and utilising social media to meet new people/business connections.

Having come from a PR background, networking comes quite naturally to me. Approaching a group of strangers at a local digital or cooking class meet-up and introducing myself is something I do instinctively, which led me to a career in recruitment.

In general, men are quite happy to walk into a bar on their own, watch a game of football and talk to complete strangers. Amongst the men I spoke to about networking in my immediate circle, many said having a common interest to bond over (football, surfing, exercise, boxing, cars) made networking and socialising comes much more easily.

They also said social media was a big factor; particularly when looking to date/socialise.  Some said they preferred to be ‘behind a screen’ and prevent rejection when networking than walk up to someone in person and introduce themselves.

For access to a number of networking events and special offers you can join the Women’s Agenda Network, here.   

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