Some of the issues I’ve either seen for myself or been asked about are practical, for example:
1. What do we do about business cards – our suit jackets don’t have pockets and we don’t like opening up our handbags? Any advice on this one?
Some women’s networking issues relate to men’s conversations. Here are two typical comments:
2. Men I’m competing with for business talk so much rubbish. They exaggerate and some talk complete bull***t! I can’t compete with that. What should I do?
3. I have no interest in sport. What should I do when sport is all they seem to want to talk about?
Other issues are potentially even more challenging, for example:
4. Is it ok to invite a man to lunch? Might this be misunderstood and how can I avoid any potential misinterpretation?
There are of course particular issues for women working in more male-orientated cultures.
This feels somewhat daunting – daring to write about such a topic, as a man. So I’m putting this blog out to get some thoughts on what advice you would offer, particularly addressing the four questions above.
Are these real issues for woman? What tips can we offer?
Hello! Re the handbag-conundrum! I carry a small shoulder bag which has a tiny pocket at the front which gives me instant access to my business cards with no need to dig around for them. Other times, Ive ditched the handbag and carried one of those zip-folders which has a little pocket for business cards. The added advantage is that it also contains my notebook so I can make notes.
Re the B******t – how true! But I think that people who are there for serious contact-making will see through it. And if they don’t – do you really want them as contacts? I also think it depends on the quality of the networking event – some can be a complete waste of time. I have found that well-organised conference events with organised “speed-networking” works really well.
Re “Sport”. I find listening to Radio 5 Live in the car for a few minutes before any major networking event pays dividends! Even if I dont like footie, it doesnt hurt to be able to appreciate others’ enjoyment – and we all know people love sharing information about themselves!
Re Lunch – try framing it by explaining you and a colleague, boss or whoever would love to chat over lunch. That way, you can be clear your intentions are business!
That all makes sense to me Caroline. What do other women think?
Of course – all this issues work in reverse – with man being challenged by having to market to women!
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