How to network when you hate networking
Let’s face it, most of us hate even the idea of networking. In fact, it’s so unpleasant that this study, co-authored by Harvard professor Francesca Gino, found that people avoid professional networking because it makes them feel physically dirty. We can relate.
Networking is the most important thing womxn should do for their careers — but aren’t.
Networking is the most important thing womxn should do for their careers — but aren’t. Womxn often socialized to believe many of the negative myths about networking, it’s insincere, pushy, or even manipulative, only for political corporate climbers, not “real work”, best left to extroverts and all about gathering as many contacts as possible.
Why we have negative feelings when we hear the word networking.
When we think of networking we think of large, blandly decorated rooms filled with suits, name tags, cheap wine, bad food, uncomfortable shoes and a bag full of crumpled business cards and flyers. Ugh. Or images of “the old-boys network” pop into our head, where men informally use their positions of influence to help other men. While some might think that womxn need to network like men to get ahead, research suggests that that doesn’t work for us and we commonly make these mistakes.
Men are socialized early on to network.
Men are socialized early on to network and blend personal relationships with work ones to get ahead. Womxn are less comfortable doing that. Men tend to create broad networks and strong alliances. They also network with a clear, short-term goal in mind.
Men and women have very different brains and they do network differently. The male brain is more compartmentalized; they get straight to the point; they know the goal. They tend to decide right away, with little to no small talk, whether they will work with you or not.
— Helen Fisher, Ph.D.
Six ways womxn network differently – Forbes
- Womxn focus on building long-term personal connections or friendships.
- They make contacts through people they know.
- They form smaller, deeper networks based on trust.
- They frequently seek advice for both personal and professional needs.
- They tend to think about what they can do for the other person first and hesitate to ask for what they want out of the interaction.
- Womxn also (typically) don’t want to attend events after work because it eats into their life outside of work and they are still more likely to be the primary caregivers at home.
Womxn who try to network like men to get ahead actually do the worst because they are missing one crucial ingredient, a close inner circle of women. 77% of the highest-achieving women in the study had strong ties with an inner circle of two to three other women.
— Kellogg School of Management
It’s important for womxn to form a strong inner circle.
The research also showed that womxn who form a strong inner circle with other womxn (who can share gender-specific career advice) are nearly three times more likely to get a better job than women who don’t have that support system. Womxn-only networks are on the rise and there are many benefits to being part of a female-forward network. Being communal allows womxn to share ideas and skills and leverage the best pieces into the most optimal work.
Let’s take the work out of networking
Take the word “work” out of networking. There is power in relationships that extends beyond a generic introduction. When you create connections based on shared interests and goals, you’ll be more successful at your job, because people want to work with people they know and like. – Forbes
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