Once upon a time, women’s networking events were little more than marathons in which aggressive women competed to see how many business cards they could unload. Teamed with daggy name badges, plastic chairs and cheap wine, they were neither a desirable – nor inspiring way to spend an evening.
Fast forward to today and the scene has dramatically changed.
The room is now filled with impeccably dressed, sophisticated, intelligent women sipping champagne, nibbling on canapés and chatting about their day (or their shoes), before being addressed by industry leaders who are eager to share their secrets and inspire the room. Oh and did I forget to mention that there are generally goodie bags involved?!
In other words, women’s networking now resembles more of a catch up with close girlfriends, than the socially awkward, PowerPoint driven, ego fuelled events of the past, and women LOVE it!
While the adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still rings true, female entrepreneurs around the globe are now recognising that quality over quantity is more important if you want to grow a sustainable business that will stand the test of time. That means forging and nurturing genuine, meaningful relationships rather than just boasting a contact list filled with random acquaintances you may have met once or twice.
It is a proven fact that women thrive on being a part of a sisterhood and that is exactly what the world of female entrepreneurship has become…. A sisterhood, and business are starting to sit up and take note.
More and more business’s are recognising the need for women to connect, bond and share their journey with other like minded entrepreneurs. So much so that we are seeing a dramatic increase in Masterminds and female based networking businesses such as Business Chicks who tailor programs so members can capitalise on fostering those connections.
Traditional networking was about putting up a wall, pretending you’re someone you’re not whilst wheeling out an elevator pitch. Those days are long gone… Thank god! Instead we are now doing business with people we like, people we know – not companies. We want to know to know the faces behind the companies, what they stand for and what their story is.
We gravitate towards those who are authentic, open and willing to share their faults and mistakes as well as their successes. We are no longer interested in hearing a press release of their life, instead we want to get to know them, the real version of them. Which then opens the door for future collaborations, joint ventures and in some cases partnerships.
As much as I hate to write this…. the truth is…. that in striving to become successful career women, we’ve lost sight of our femininity. and assume an aggressive persona because that’s how we figure we can get ahead. WHY? Is this what we think an empowered, successful women should look like?
NO! Lucky for us, we are now realising that this is not ok.
That it’s fun to pursue greatness while celebrating the things we love at the same time. We don’t always need to be about business and suits to be successful. So why not be ourselves? Why not be the smart, savvy, beautiful business women that we are, who are on a mission to make a difference in this world.
This is just the start of a stylish, female- focussed networking trend that’s only likely to build. The wonderful thing about women is we love sharing ideas, stories and connections. More networking groups will spring up in the future, but overtime we will see that there will be a rationalisation too. The women running those networking groups as a bit of a hobby will eventually fade out, while those who run them as a business, offering real value to their members will flourish.
More and more we will see that entrepreneurs will realise that this is something that they need to invest in. That desire for quality over quantity will kick in even more because we’re so time poor. If you’re going to spend 15 minutes connecting with someone, you really want to make sure that it’s worth it. After all, networking is the fastest and cheapest way to grow a sustainable business and position yourself as a leader within your industry.
So savvy lady bosses get out there and start networking, the new way, because this sisterhood is growing and we want you to be a part of the fun!