I have been to countless women’s networking events over the past weeks, all following on from the very first one really. This was the place where someone recommended 5 other places to network. I have now been hit by ‘death by networking’: I have actually so many follow-up meetings, follow-up actions and new ideas that I am done networking for the next four weeks!
All this networking has indeed brought some new visitors to Mum & Career, but mostly it has helped me re-word and re-think what Mum&Career is all about and who it is for. Quite an astonishing number of people I have met, promised to write articles for the site or share their story. It seemed a bit awkward – asking for volunteers – but I now know that many entrepreneurial women are looking for ways to build their name and love to share with other women too.
The thing that most intrigued me in all this networking is how helpful women are, sharing what they know, and not really asking much in return. It’s great to find it’s okay you don’t know something, as people seem just happy to help. Many kindly offer an hour of their time for a follow-up meeting or to help, even if it isn’t obvious what the result might be. Also there is a lot of focus on drawing you in, so I didnt’ have any ‘oh, my god, which person could I walk up to now’ moments. Fellow-networkers seemed interested and would ask me what it is I do and need, and ask follow-up questions. Therefor it seemed natural to talk about myself, even if my ‘1 minute’ start hadn’t gone very flashing. Women really do network differently than men, and I was astonished to find it works so much better for me.
And, I almost forgot to mention it. It was liberating to find that mentioning you have a child and enjoy wrapping your working hours around his needs is respected and even admired. It feels like a relief to bring all of me to the table: ‘Sorry cannot do at three, that’s the school run’.
If you want to know where I went, just visit the networking page, as I went to most of them. All are good but they have a slightly different flavour. I could tell you what that is, but I believe the best way is to try a few and see which ones work for you and your business.