4 networking tips for women in business
Networking is a great way to grow your community of business contacts and peers. For women in business, networking brings together like-minded professionals and connects you with potential business partners. To take advantage of all the benefits networking has to offer, follow these four tips for women in business.
1. Join an industry or ‘women in business’ group
The easiest way to connect with other women in business is to join a group or association. The key focus of these groups is to bring entrepreneurial women together for events, meet-ups and publications.
There’s a wide range business groups in Australia, with industry-specific groups, like Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s (MEAA) Women in Media (for those in the creative industry), being a great place to meet people in a particular field. If you want to expand your network beyond your industry, consider established groups like the League of Extraordinary Women, Inspiring Rare Birds, Business Chicks and She Business.
Countless other groups operate on a local or state level, so a little research will reveal what’s near you. It’s important to feel aligned with the philosophy and approach of the group, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from friends and peers.
2. Attend events
From industry conferences to casual after-work gatherings, attending networking events is by far the easiest way to meet other small business owners. It might seem intimidating at first, but remember everyone is there for the same reason: to meet people just like you.
For upcoming events, the Women in Business Luncheon 2018 is in Melbourne on 17 May where you can meet like-minded businesswomen. If you’re in Sydney, register for the Women in Leadership 2018 event on 26 March. You can search for small business events with a focus on education and networking via your preferred state, otherwise seek out your local Chamber of Commerce. The NSW Business Chamber and its affiliates run a range of events, as do government bodies in Queensland, Victoria, WA, SA and the ACT.
3. Get connected
Embrace opportunities as they present themselves at networking events. This can be as simple as exchanging business cards or connecting on LinkedIn. Take every meeting or coffee date offered, as you never know when an opportunity might arise.
While not everyone you meet will be a good fit, some will. Speak to a diverse range of people from different industries. Ask questions, be genuine and explain what you and your business are all about. Being polite, professional and listening as much as you speak may not sound like much, but they are vital for making connections.
Most importantly, remember that meeting new people should be a time to learn and connect, not just to ‘sell’ your business.
4. Join the conversation
At its core, networking is about interacting with others in your community. Engage with your new connections on LinkedIn, share articles of interest with relevant industry groups, email a peer to congratulate them on an award they received – every little bit helps.
Taking part in conversations can strengthen new relationships, keep you top of mind and open the door for exciting business opportunities down the track.
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