It’s unfortunate that women continue to lag in business success alongside men. Inc. says this is a fact, despite the L.A. Times saying that women-owned business jumped 59% since 1997. But the real secret behind getting those success numbers to rise is in the magic of networking. Women have many advantages in networking with people that matter, and there shouldn’t any intimidation in not being even more successful at it than men.
You might want to consider a few strategic elements that can help make you the center of attention with influential industry people at parties or business gatherings.
Choose Wisely on the Places Where You Network
Try to choose places where some of the most influential business people related to your business might be. Even businessmen will be impressed if you possess a charming personality and show expert know-how about your industry. However, if you’d rather stick with locations where only fellow businesswomen hang out, you can find sources to help you find those networking places. The National Association of Women Business Owners is an essential site for finding places to network with fellow women in business.
Don’t Make Networking All About You
Avoid going into a gathering and talking all about yourself as self promotion. It’s best to just introduce yourself and then listen to what others have to say. Chances are, if you listen enough or just ask questions to those influential people, they’ll start opening up to asking you questions. Be sure to trade business cards so you can stay in contact later. Try to get as many business cards as you can and meet with every influential person who’s free to talk.
Keeping Things Brief About Who You Are
When you finally do get those influential people asking about who you are, be sure to keep your spiel as brief as you can. Try encapsulating everything you do into a couple of sentences that can convey everything a person needs to know. Influential people will be impressed that you were succinct and able to expertly explain your industry without going on for 10 minutes. Within that pitch, prove that you’re unique and have ideas that are different from the competition.
Following Up on Your Contacts
One of the worst mistakes a person who networks can make is not keeping in contact with the people they met. Exchanging business cards is done for a reason, and you calling them back to arrange for another meeting is a vital part of maintaining ties. Especially when those people have connections to things and people that could benefit you, nurture those relationships first.
As a way of giving back to other people in your industry, consider initially helping your contacts in some way rather than expecting something from them in return. Even an influential person in business could benefit from one of your business insights that gives a stronger incentive in helping you in return.
You’ll soon find that symbiosis is just as important to networking as impressing people with what you’re doing.